The Unbearable Surrealness of Reality

Apologies to pinklightsabre, who I just recommended in my last post, for this post; it was, no doubt, was inspired by his. And, William, I swear this is the last time I’ll mention your name in a public setting (until you run for Dark Lord of Everything once and for all).

I will try to do the hipster thing and say, “I was commenting on how surreal real life is long before YOU were, Mr. Pink.” It could true, at least in terms of how often I think it in my head and speak it out loud to my wife.

Man, but isn’t life fucking weird.

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This morning, as I exited the chilly, near-black atmosphere of the real world and entered the clean, orderly, fluorescent-lit hallways of my school… my head swam. Maybe it was the half-caffeinated coffee we made for ourselves this morning failing to bring me back to reality, or the fairly large and nearly full moon, or the shock of moving away from the comfortable womb of my heated car, complete with NPR and hot coffee, into the cold and sterile world of tiled hallways and stark-white lights and school pictures and high-school-related PSAs and the vaguely smoky smell that ancient boilers make in the morning… or maybe it’s just that this existence thing is a totally fucked endeavor. I mean, not that it isn’t worthwhile, but sometimes we wax philosophical…

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Pretty much what we saw from our suburban back yard.

Last night, Wifey and I enjoyed some decaf and breathed in the electric fall air, chilly and invigorating and that kind-of-scary reminder that winter is about to hit. Man, I really need to winterize. Anyway, we started talking about existence. She brought up the theory that our existence is really one big simulation. People smarter than I have noted that there are these mathematical relationships that exist in nature… you know, the picture of the spiral shell and all of the relationships between the semi-concentric circles (the golden ratio, I finally researched)… the whole E = mc2 and other constants that rule our existence… and it got pretty trippy. Our world is ruled by math, which could be by coincidence… it just is what it is… or could be that we are the product of someone else’s simulation, electronic representations of what real people actually look like and act like and all that… could be the product of intelligent design by some higher power, benevolent or otherwise.

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This little guy decided your fate long, long ago.

Watching my wife’s breath vaguely obscure her big eyes while she absolutely went off about how our existence and even the world we live in could be an illusion… it was surreal. Maybe more real than a lot of the things I’d say were real, if that makes any sense.

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A chilling result of google searching “visible breath”

Having a kid has altered my concept of time passage drastically. As I got older (post-college, I think), I really started to notice how goddamn quickly everything had begun moving and how sometimes I couldn’t even remember what happened from one day to the next (not just a product of substance abuse). It’s humbling. It’s harrowing. It’s surreal. Now that we have Garrett, time has found a way to move more quickly. It must be the cruelest realization that a parent can have: I will never get this day with my child back; it’s gone; it’ll never be here again and my child is another day older. The realization that Garrett will be two years old in the blink of an eye… like I said, it’s humbling and sobering and it does a bit to shake me out of my periodic reveries.

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Let this never end, please. Please.

And even typing that phrase, “periodic reveries,” I wonder how periodic they are. Sometimes, I get the feeling that the reveries are constant and the real realities are what occur periodically. I wonder if life is a dream. If we are all someone else’s gigantic dream. If we are the dust under a giant’s fingernail, a computer simulation, a giant drama being enacted at the will of gods or angels or demons or computers or Killer Klowns from Outter Space (TM) or some benevolent alien or some malevolent concept or some apathetic tinkerer.

The mind boggles.

Busy, busy.

At the end of our discussion, as we went inside to further warm our hands on hot coffee mugs, we walked away with what was, perhaps, the truest revelation of the evening: THAT stuff doesn’t matter.

We still have to live our lives, right? Even if it is a joke, a scam, a simulation, a computer program, a dream? I could quit my life right now, move to Venice Beach, live out of garbage cans and the kindness of others, couldn’t I?

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Ambition?

Perspective. It’s all your perspective. Is life a joke to you and pointless? Then it is. Is life a gift from God or god or gods? Then it is. Is life a beautiful opportunity to see what you’re made or, or to enjoy your five senses, or to have as much fun, or to do as much work, or to raise perfect kids, or to raise perfect assholes, or to enter hot dog eating contests, or to have as much sex, or to abstain from sensate pleasures, or to jump out from behind bushes to scare people? Then it is.

Never has the phrase, “It is what it is,” had so much beautifully smart-ass-tical meaning in all of my life. That’s my word, by the way: smartasstical… with or without hyphens.

I, now, will leave you with what is probably my favorite quotation, sentiment, and reflection on myself, of all time:

“Wherever you go, there you are.”

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Truth, it is.
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6 thoughts on “The Unbearable Surrealness of Reality”

  1. Ha, thanks for the name drop there man, thanks. The Fibonacci sequence, isn’t it? The sequence of numbers that maps back to that spiral in the shell, and everything. That stuff is nut-bending. But it showed up in my project management curriculum too, for reasons I can’t remember. Good sense imagery with the hot coffee and the moon and the you-and-Wifey philosophizing. Keep it up man, enjoy that package of Garrett too. Bill

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    1. Garret knew I was overly sentimental about him yesterday, because he made certain to be a total monster for the approximately two hours we spent time with him last night… Thanks for visiting. Parental advice is always welcome.

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  2. Favorite post yet! We should all remember that if we choose to “go there,” that’s where we’ll be. And as a frantic drunk once told me, “Don’t go there, girlfriend!”

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  3. Pretty deep stuff for a Monday morning . I should have saved this post for a nice evening with a wine glass in hand. 😀

    I had a tiny existential crisis last week, and I was feeling depressed and anxious. In my head, I kept asking “What is the frickin point?!? What is the point of work and school and a mortgage and watching TV and blogging and just what is the whole damn point of life?!?” (I think in frantic, run-on sentences). I jokingly told my 17-year-old daughter that I couldn’t find the point of life when she asked what was wrong with me.

    She said, “There isn’t really a point. You just make your own point.” Ah, and from the mouth of babes. It fixed me right up. There is no point, and that is okay.

    Cheers! I’ll be back for more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dara,

      First, thanks so much for your contribution! Believe when I say that I’d go out and kill if it got me more comments and likes… er… yeah. I guess I can’t take it back.

      Anyway, what your daughter said is akin to what my college professor told me when I was a lousy, drunken, depressed college student. When I told her that there is no point, she agreed. She said,”Yep, if you believe it’s all bullshit, then it is.” And left it at that. Later, I asked her what life meant to here and she went off about how she gets up with the sunrise (just to see it) every day and that life is a gift and all the same ol’ blah blah blah that held almost no significance to me then, but has taken on all of that significance since. A big part of it, at least for me and my personality type, was finding my wife. I never cared about anyone more than her until our son came along (we’ll call it a tie…). I’m sure it’s different for everybody.

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