Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Universe Takes Me For A Ride

“Hey Jon!
“Hello, Universe.”
“Getting on the old elevator, huh?
“Oh, no reason. You’re always so suspicious.”
“Can you blame me?”
“Of course I can; you’re captain of your own destiny. Isn’t that what people always say?”
“Yes, but people say a lot of stupid shit.”
“That’s not very nice. Anyway, you make your own fate, so if you’re suspicious of anything, you’re being suspicious of yourself.”
“Mmm, very philosophical of you.”
“But I’m not the captain of my own destiny, and I don’t make my own fate. There are a lot of things that I have no control over, and I often have to make choices with little or no information. It’s like ordering food at a Chinese restaurant that only has the numbers on the menu without a description of what dish the numbers correspond to.”
“Uh huh…”
“So if I order a number five, and it turns out to be like coconut shrimp or something, technically it was my choice, but it wasn’t an informed choice.”
“Exactly! You made the choice!”
“But I had to make the choice without knowing what the consequences would be.”
“Well, you could have not made a choice, or chosen to go somewhere else.”
“But it – screw it. I’m not going to argue with you about this. But I will say that even being captain puts me pretty low in the chain of command of my destiny. Who’s the admiral, or the commander-in-chief? And to take it in the other direction, who are my lieutenants, ensigns, yeomen, and so on? Who’s the chief petty officer of my destiny?”
“Umm, well…hey, don’t you need to get back to your desk?”
“Yeah, but you’ve made me suspicious about taking the elevator.”
“No, you’ve made you suspicious, remember?”
“Fine, but you have to admit that being suspicious isn’t unreasonable, given the circumstances.”
“I admit nothing. Come on, let’s go! Just tap your badge against the badge reader and push six.”
“I know how to use the elevator.”
“Are you sure about that? What about all the times you start to use your badge instead of just hitting the call button when you’re outside the elevator?”
“So sometimes my brain misfires and I do things in the wrong order. Other people do it, too. That doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use the elevator.”
“Fine, prove it.”
“Fine. There, I hit the badge reader and pressed six.”
“*Snicker* You sure did!”
“What was that snicker about?”
“Nothing. Here we go!”
“I’m keeping my eye on you.”
“You do that. Whoops, looks like we’re stopping on four.”
“So? Lots of people need to use the elevator.”
“Mmm hmm…”

(Several people crowd onto the elevator)

“So was this your big scheme? Crowding the elevator? Nice try, but I can deal with it for two floors.”
“I’m sure you can. But did you notice what button that guy pushed?”
“Wait, did he push the button for one? Why are we going down?”
“Ha! You were so busy keeping your eye on me that you didn’t notice that the badge reader didn’t turn green, so it didn’t accept your input when you hit six. It only went up because it was called up to the fourth floor, and now you have to go all the way back down again. You need to work on your suspiciousness.”
“I should have known. You’re always several steps ahead of me. Now that I’m on the first floor – again – the badge reader still isn’t registering, so I’m stuck. Could you at least have someone else get on the elevator so I can piggy-back on his or her badge?”
“Aye aye, captain!”

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