Stuck in traffic yet again my mind wanders, unimpinged by the need to pay careful attention to the car on front also frozen in place. I am back in school listening carefully as the teacher explains the problem: “You are at point B and I am at point A. The points are 100 miles apart and we each leave for the other point at exactly the same time, 10:00 A.M., you driving at a constant 40 mile per hour, I at a constant 30 miles per hour. At exactly what time will we be able to wave to one another?” The car in front begins to move, ending my revery, so I cannot tell the teacher that we’ll never wave to each other because I am far too young to drive.
The key, he knows is to eliminate the impossible. Once you do that what remains, no matter how improbable must be the truth. Holmes, as it comes out might have been right. Oliver Wendell was, but how can you know when you’ve eliminated all impossibilities? Doyle (Roddy perhaps) would note that improbabilities can look a great deal like impossibilities, but may nevertheless prove to be the truth. We could enlist Watson’s superb mind, but we know just how possessive Gates can be, and it could swing shut on us at any moment.
He knew he should not have brought the gun. He hated guns, they served no purpose in his world of words. He wanted to look at it, to stare at it, really. He thought that if he did so he might be better able to write about the senselessness of the world in which he lived, a world he so very much wanted to change. He had the gun. He knew what he had to do. He shot a hole in the forehead of the picture of Anton Chekhov that hung on the wall over his desk.
In the elemental scheme of things we humans are, at best, middling. We are minute in the scale of the universe, our time not even a glimmer, and as we age, time contracts, but only in the shortening forward direction. But pity the poor hydrogen-7 isotope whose life is likely over in 30 yactoseconds, absorbing the laughter of helium-5 living on average, 33 times longer, and both jealously, if ever so quickly regarding our seemingly infinite span. But lest we get complacent, there is always zirconium-96 for whom our life is but the blink of an eye, barely worth noting, a second at most in a span that could reach twenty quintillion years, so we are nothing special, save in our own eyes.
It is far past time that I went on a pilgrimage. I’m not at all sure just what sort of a pilgrim I’d likely be. As a now Buddhist child of the late 60’s, the Plymouth Colony model clearly isn’t workable. And in my own late 60’s, now with a fused spine and creaky knees and shoulders, foreign travel looks less and less of an option. I’ve long since given up acid and mescaline, and I never got the hang of astral projection, so perhaps I need to think smaller and just wander over to my local wine shop for a couple of bottles of a decent Rioja and Galicia and dreams of the Camino de Santiago.
Today was downright exhausting, and my hour long walk along the river left me dripping and drooping. It wasn’t different than most days, same time, same place, and the usual 756 miles, according to my old friend Orion, who was watching from his usual perch, unseen, as he prefers it by day. When I was done, I started to complain about how I felt, when Orion interjected, “Just be thankful you’re not in Florida today, its hotter by far, and your usual walk would have covered a full 930 miles today, and there you’d have reason perhaps to complain just a bit.” Heading home to shower, I called out to Orion, “You know you are one heavenly pain in the ass.” “Yeah,” he replied, “that’s what Artemis said.”
The box said all natural. That alone was nothing unusual, but it was on tomatoes. How, he wondered, could tomatoes but unnatural, or worse still partially natural, partially not. Had they cloned the tomato? Would cloning make it unnatural, and if so, how could you tell it from the original which was natural? And these weren’t organic. He began to wonder how tomatoes could be inorganic. Wouldn’t they cease to be tomatoes? It was all too confusing and he was hungry but all he had was tomatoes and those he could no longer trust.