we are all a movie

Tom went on his first date with Andrea in a park that had a duck pond behind a very tall fence constructed from thick iron bars. The fence was such that it allowed a minimal view of the actual animals within. In some ways the view that took place as you walked along the pond's edge was like an old pre-cinema projector: a magic lantern or perhaps more accurately a zoetrope. Slits in the fence lined up like dominos separated by the voids created by fencing. This modern incarnation of the zoetrope gave the impression of robotic animals behind the fence: ducks of colors unknown, flicking about with disjointed wings and broken legs as 3” iron bars, painted a green that has never occurred in nature, stole their middle states of animation. The flicker of ducks made Tom think about how his intentions never found their reflection in the environment around him.

Earlier in the day he had watched Zlatan Ibrahimovic play his first game with the LA Galaxy. Tom was a big MLS fan; the only one among his friends to have such a passion. For this game, waiting for his favorite player to take the field, he had listened to the pundits dissect the career of Ibrahimovic as if all that was left was for him to take the field as some token to greatness; he had been put carefully back in his original packaging and now this castrated version of him was being seen on the field. And amongst talk of Ibrahimovic having passed his prime, he launched into his first game, striking a volleyed ball at midfield, scoring a miraculous goal, on par with anything he had achieved in his Premier League days.

Tom felt he shared something with Ibrahimovic in this moment; some sort of talent, or hidden spark, that people had told him he didn’t have and he was waiting to create some performance where it became obviously, fully known. Unlike Ibrahimovic, no one had ever seen the talent in the first place. It languished in his mind and stayed hidden just beneath the nerve endings of his extremities. 

So when walking at this caged duck pond with a woman who, in affect, seemed unclear if she wanted to be there, he tried to jostle his limbs into a representation of something that approached what he thought his greatness was; the presence and continuity that he felt he had with the world around him. Playful, smart, and carefree. As they approached a flock of pigeons he threw a leg out towards them, to spook them, with a little cackle of a kindergarten boy running towards a puddle that he plans to leap into with wonder and the energy of a pure moment. 

With the swing of Tom’s leg, the pigeons swooped to the air in that chaotic order that they always tend to do, eyes wide and necks outstretched like biathlon skiers trying to be the first across the finish line. Near the front, a single pigeon, however, flicked his head with careless concentration, whipping his head tetherball-like around his, in retrospect, thin, below average neck. With this drunken swing of its head, the pigeons flight path was altered from that of a retreating trajectory to one that intercepted perfectly with the swing of Tom’s cueball foot, stuffed down to the bottom of his tube sock leg. With geometric precision they each became legs of a physics problem triangle, meeting precisely at one of its corners, the pigeon connecting with all laces. The impact sent the pigeon directly into the duck pond fence, dropping it limp to the ground. 

It’s unclear if the shoe or the fence was the cause of death, but the ducks all sat behind their old theatre fence, thinking to themselves, “this must be intermission”.

what it's like to be disappointed in someone and yourself at the same time.

It was a windy day and she shouted at me from the street, two stories down below, that she needed a cigarette. I would throw them down in futility as they were continually caught in gusts of wind and carried off into trees; cigarette bird nests building up like snow drifts on remote Canadian highways. She kept on making the signal to throw down more: two hands raised towards the sky before quickly flicking her hands down towards her shoulders. 

“Throw more, Throw more.”

The pack was soon empty and I looked back into the hotel room, towards the end table, to see if another pack lay next to the bed. My eyes, however, were caught by the low quality carpet that the end table’s legs were plunged into. Each little, worn, tired loop of carpet seemed to be trying to lift the table up; I could hear each loop whispering about destiny and divinity as they believed themselves to be the foundation of all things; commands shouted among the loop groups at each of the four legs.

I saw a second pack atop the table, and gingerly walked over to pick it up, crushing as few of the carpet loops as possible.

Pre Patent number: 9355431

A system for transferring any (flat) 5x5, two-dimensional array of information into a binary 5x5, two-dimensional array of information.

a pin is a utopia

I met most of my friends on the head of a pin. We had wandered aimlessly across a two dimensional surface of pockmark metal: manufacturing defects that undermined the sheen of a perfect cylinder. Heads down and shuffled feet continued until a moment when we suddenly found ourselves at the tip of a device meant for securing fabric or otherwise entertaining children as they pushed into the body of a plush tomato stuffed with batting. The loneliness of this single moment lead us to an opposite pole where a utopia meant a moment spread out in time; a circle that encompassed a place that belonged away from solitude.

What was it about the purchase of thread that made my heart race? I thought of the wrapping of material on spool like scandalous dance moves on a floor flooded with strobe lights and sweat and a singular woman looking at me across a space too full with lust. I needed at that moment something spun taught with a dye of a hue like meteors bursting above random cities in Russia. 

(All that laid on my apartment floor were the makings for dress shirts that had no specific design for collar -- peaked or otherwise -- but owned a formality for a future moment that felt too certain.)

The Ping.

John Playfair said on witnessing geological formations that had clearly taken millions of years to come to their current state, "The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time." I stumbled on an article mentioning him talking about this (it's actually a good article) and it struck a chord with me about something I've been thinking about a lot recently: The Ping. The Ping is so named, not by me but a friend of mine (just recently, actually, when I had the pleasure of being put awash in her ideas and brilliance), as I was telling her about my hope that, in my lifetime, I will witness communication from aliens. 

And I'm not under the impression that we'll be sitting here on Earth and suddenly be in some Snapchat exchange with folks from another star system (maybe our own sister: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/our-sun-has-a-sister/361962/), but I think there will be a moment that a structure of information will wash over earth, a wave finally coming along as an overly calm break, and we will see it's inherent structure and realize that there is a message within it. Nothing fancy. Just a Ping. And it will be hundreds of years before anything really comes of it.

But the abyss that will open with The Ping will be altering of our experience. It will expand our dimensionality of how we see the world; something 2D, now is 3D. Or maybe it's a little like western movie sets that all become real buildings. And as I spoke about this desire for The Ping I realized the emotional quality that existed in how I was speaking to my friend (and that her face looked far less emotionally engaged), and that my Ping, is maybe not all people's Ping. And I thought suddenly about how when some alien pokes us with an electromagnetic wave, not everyone will look skyward as one large group and all have a new sense of their humanity. I think I will. But probably a lot of people will use it as a way to deepen previous convictions; to show they were right about X, Y, and Z. 

Most the time we are presented with new information our first response is to fold it into what we already know; to slightly augment, but mostly bolster what are the foundations of our truth. But The Ping is something that I think, for a moment, would pull me into a moment of reflection on the entirety of my truth. Like an accountant auditing a business, but instead of auditing finances, this would be an audit of truth. It doesn't mean everything is necessarily wrong, but there may be a lot of basics that have shifted in a subtle, but important, way.  

The Ping is romantic -- I'm romantic -- and there are small Pings, too. It's any moment that speaks to a fluidity in things that we have almost allowed to completely harden; time, space, and belief. It speaks to essences, infinities, and scales where language fails. But I think it's good to be looking bright eyed and bushy tailed to the heavens every once in awhile to see if The Ping has made its entrance. It's an outlook on the world that I feel is better than the alternatives (like irony and cynicism).