Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why I downloaded the Doors' 'L.A. Woman' this afternoon

(Eric Johnson, your challenge is to explain this blog entry's title)

My favourite lesser-known Greek philosopher is Zeno, who believed that nothing ever moved. I remember this much about him because in my teenage years I was prescribed an antidepressant called "zenophylline," the main side-effect being that I had little desire to do anything more than stare at the wall. I suspect that the link to his name was inadvertent, but you never know. One of my best friends is doing a bio-chemical-related PhD and he has the sort of dry sense of humour that I'm sure could result in his naming things after obscure philosophers. In a perfect world, Paul will one day invent something really amazing and ridiculously necessary and he'll work into its name an in-joke between himself and Eric and me.

I can't now remember how Zeno explained our perception of movement, but I think it was similar to the Hindu concept of Shiva. Shiva is a god who creates and destroys our world at such a rapid rate that it appears things are moving. Life, then is basically a filmstrip -- a rapid series of static frames. Our soul/memory/consciousness is the intangible story that runs through each frame.

If Zeno and the Hindus are right, it means one never really ages. We are simply one age and then another age, like different versions of software. So, it being nine days after my birthday, I am presently version 31.009 in age. As Shiva creates and destroys the world in what my soul knows as "today" I remain version 31.009. Tomorrow, I will be version 31.010; Saturday I will be version 31.011; and on and on.

One assumes that all outdated versions are discarded, but imagine if some sort of universe software glitch caused previous versions of you to accidentally pop up in other time and space. If this were to happen, it would explain why I saw Danielle Hallmark circa 1991 walking across campus today.

There she was, my first proper girlfriend*, striding in front of me down Park Lane, looking exactly as she had 16 years ago -- complete with blue-jean dungarees (FTYPAAH: "overalls"). Indeed, it was her clothing that first drew my attention.

"How quintessentially 'Dexys Midnight Runners,'" I thought. "Who wears those anymore? Outside of Fargo, the last time I saw someone sporting dungarees was... Oh, Sweet Baby Jesus, it's her."

I followed her for a good quarter mile, trying to kick my notoriously worthless memory into producing a usable image of her to compare with the girl in front of me, but 16 years is 15.360 versions more than I am realistically capable of recovering. Unable to work up the courage (or "adequately loose grasp on reality," take your pick) to shout, "Hey, Dani," at her, I decided to head off and have a cup of tea -- probably never to see 1991 Danielle Hallmark again.

I wonder if there are any versions of me out there right now. And if so, what are they doing? Probably getting arrested for stalking people who have a passing resemblance to people I once knew.

*Hmm, I think Tami Hill would take issue with that statement.