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QUINTESSENCE

Static

photo courtesy of NASA
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
- Charles Dickens, "A Tale of Two Cities," 1859

I am taken by the idea of our human nature, organic and eccentric, as "constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other." No wonder we find it hard to communicate meaningfully in our most basic, let alone intimate relationships. The mystery of what another person is feeling or thinking, or even why he/she acts a certain way, has made fragile human connection as staticky and easily unglued as a space walk over the blue earth.

Why is there not more overlap common to our nature? Why the mystery? Beyond such universal human inclinations as greed, sloth, lust, and one-day sales, shouldn't we all possess certain coding in our emotional-psychological core that would cover 75% of most necessary human interaction? I'm not asking for the moon here, just a template for the day to day: how to divide the sandbox toys; roommates and pizza boxes; a guide to the 9 a.m. product delivery beat-the-staff meeting; for sex, for love, for any combination of the two; holidays with in-laws; even navigating Costco with half the basket your spouse thinks you should have. (Such purchasing thoughts of course, arising on impulse and as full of mystery as the collapse of black holes.) What I trying to say is, shouldn't a race that lives nose-to-armpit have adapted the functional efficiency of a telepathic ant colony by now? What gives? Why is it so hard to understand the flag signals we shoot one another?

I am personally working on the use of shorter sentences. Analogies that speak to either popular sitcoms or greeting cards. Lip reading. Vegetable or mineral. There is bound to be a way to decipher the confusion and determine the meaning. To communicate with, say, the purity of birds. One note, times two. Unfortunately, I think this project make take considerable time. This morning when I asked my friend if he wanted tea on the way to the airport, the question was heard as "Do I want one more thing to juggle in my hand while trying to lock my bag, find my ID in this duct-taped, exploding wallet while fishing my ticket from the briefcase swinging south off my shoulder whacking my knee?" (accompanied by the wild, walleyed look of someone overwhelmed by baggage).

Umm, hold the tea. I'm working on an analogy here.
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