|RANT FROM OCTOBER 2009
"Reality Is Consistent"
I woke up the other morning thinking, "I'm sure glad we live in a consistent and dependable reality!" We spend what feels like too much time looking for misplaced or "lost" items. Tools, my other glasses, my journal, the appointment calendar, the car keys -- NOW where are they? But my tools are where I left them. I forgot that I had leaned the hoe against the wall to do something else, and never went back for it. My glasses are in the pocket of the other pants. The appointment book is in the studio, right where I left it.|
No gremlins, no goblin, moved anything. Of course a spouse, or a pet, or an offspring, or a burglar could move something, but in a consistent reality it is where I, or someone, left it. Inanimate objects do not just get up and go. I find that I am very glad that that is so. Much of the "lost" business is caused, I think, by going through too much of life "on automatic," not paying enough attention to what is happening as it happens.
A consistent reality is comprehensible, or at least partly, maybe mostly, comprehensible. Logic works. The other day the car wouldn't start. I called my brother-in-law, Horacio, a professional mechanic. We jumped it and it seemed O.K. What caused that? Not sure. Next morning it wouldn't start. Probably needs a new battery. Horacio brought one, but before he took the old one out he said, "Let me try this." Experience and logic were in play. He spent quite a while cleaning the posts of the old battery, and it has worked fine ever since.
In a consistent reality I can have a dependable map in my head of where things are. My sense of direction works very well. Not everyone has such a map. Some people get lost easily -- not the keys, but the very self itself -- their map isn't much good, or they don't have one. The pace of demolition and reconstruction can befuddle anyone -- like North 4th Street here in Albuquerque -- but for the most part the inner map is very helpful.
Reality is more consistent than we are. Our perceptions and memory can deceive us. We don't always see whatever it is correctly. We are very clever at twisting memory to suit us. But Reality goes right on being what it really is, no matter what we say or think.
"Make believe" is for children. Fantasy exercises the imagination, but Reality perseveres. I can still hear my friend, Jay Evans, reminding us with reference to environmental questions, "Nature bats last." That's that consistent reality on view again.
Strange thoughts ensue, the morning after writing all that. My friend and neighbor, Ambrosio, spent a month in intensive care in the hospital with complications from pneumonia. He was expected to undergo one more simple procedure on Tuesday and be released. He died Sunday night.
I was feeling heavily weighed down, by mortality itself, after visiting the widow, Vivian. I'm thinking about mortality. An early thought: "Not everyone makes it." Ambrosio didn't make it. He didn't get to that scheduled surgery. Didn't get to come home from the hospital. Didn't get to visit with me any more.
Then Reality chimes in, more earnestly. "Nobody makes it, finally." In the abstract, it makes sense, looks reasonable. Then Reality speaks again, even more earnestly. "You won't make it."
Then one wants to say, while stalling, "Define 'Make it.'" Go on living. Not die. "Go to heaven" sounds like children's talk. Let's be serious. Let's be realistic. Let's be truthful. "No one makes it. Not you, not me, not anyone." Each one gets his turn, some early, some late, some with dignity, some without, some with company, some without, some willing and ready, some stalling and resisting and resentful. It's like the rest of life -- How you deal with it is in your hands. What "it" is isn't.
Nevertheless, I'm glad we're in a consistent, almost comprehensible, Reality. Excuses and loopholes and pardons and reprieves -- no, thanks.