Monday, September 29, 2008

Cracking the code of impermanence

Funny thing, after the laptop computer broke, then the fan broke on a particularly hot day, and finally my french press coffee carafe (again) today. Like I wasn't properly getting some message, not taking the hint. Sheryl has a lovely photo of my laptop disassembled all over the table in her blog. It's like doing surgery on your old buddy (again) only this time he doesn't survive.

So the broken laptop got my attention about some things I was ignoring, changes I needed to make, and habits of wasting time that I had gotten into. It broke my routine. It forced changes. Good ones, I think. The fan broke for no particular reason, other than to get my attention. It didn't. So the carafe broke too--- funny; that carafe only breaks when my attention needs getting. I had taken to buying spares but this was the spare, so, oh well.

Sheryl took me to Longs to get a replacement, and we settled on a plastic melitta drip cone that won't break, and a bunch of paper filters. This after a slight argument because she already has a funky old plastic cone. But I liked the technological improvements on the new cone. I mean it's down to this: my thousand dollar espresso machine has been down for the count for months. The french press has followed suit. I want a freakin' new plastic coney thing that sports a window so I can avoid overflowing my coffee cup, and a little splash guard/handle, and nice deep ridges on the sides to prevent the filter from sealing off and getting bogged, and hopefully the right sized little hole in the bottom so it won't brew terribly weak coffee either. She gave the coffee geek a break and we spent five bucks. And it's black so it matches my jacket. Then she reminded me how much I'm like her ex-husband (in a good way).

Do I actually care that much? No. It's just coffee. A hot drink in the morning. I even drink tea sometimes. What's really important? Did I own the espresso machine or did it own me?

I've had some interesting experiences with technology. Often I'm very intuitive about it-- which was handy when I spent 9 years as an Audio Visual Tech. Sometimes I'm way too connected. Like the time when I stopped a clock, my watch, and my friend's watch all at once because I wanted to spend more time with her. It was an accident. Or the time I said outloud to myself "I watch too much TV" and my new TV broke within about 60 seconds. The picture tube fried-- it was fatal. Or the other time when me and a room full of college students were watching TV, and me and another guy said at exactly the same time "Lets change the channel" and the channel changed, twice. Would have been a nice trick if anybody had a remote control, or if that old TV was even capable of using a remote. It wasn't.

Why bring up all this: I guess it's just to say, pay attention to your connection with your own environment. What are you telling it, and what is it telling you back? Are you listening? It's important. We don't live in a vaccuum, we're all connected. We're all plugged in, all wired together.

And I guess, just one last thing--- the big circuit has an infinite power source, and can operate on any and all frequencies, including the frequency we call physical matter. So there's little need to fret when something breaks, goes away, or even dies. It's a picture on a screen. Enjoy it while it's here. Revel in that painful immediacy and recognize the beauty of knowing that it's just ripples on a lake so huge you can't even imagine it's depth or breadth. Those shores stretch to forever, and the bottom is so deep it goes to absolute zero.

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