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One assumes that all outdated versions are discarded, but imagine if some sort of universe software glitch caused previous versions of you to accidentally pop up in other time and space.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.


Anonymous said...

Yes, you're touching on the true nature of Time and Space there. The past exists: Science has proved this in both theory and practice (by practice I'm refering to the sending of laser beams measurably back in time, albeit fractions of a second), and when we look at the night sky we are seeing the past as present (sorry about the itallics, but I read a lot of Lovecraft). But obviously, the past can not move (sorry, did it again), it is static. So Zeno's right, and so is Shiva.

David T. Macknet said...

It's better that you don't really know where your prior versions are. I mean, after all, having lived in a town where I could've sworn one existed was pretty bad.

A few years ago (and a few towns ago) all the checkers at the grocer thought to ask me how quitting smoking was going ... when I'd been quit for years. They looked at me like I was crazy, 'cause they swore they'd just either sold me smokes or nicorette gum just the other day. I eventually quit going to that particular store, it was so bizarre. It was another version, I swear it.

Afe said...

It's true that the cells in your body are constantly duplicating themselves. Therefore you're literally not the same person you were circa 1991, and neither is Danielle.

They could well be the same dungarees, though.

Lucky said...

Just speculating on your L.A. Woman download....

Did seeing Danielle get your Mojo Rising? Or was her nickname for you Mr. Mojo Rising?

I hate it when I think I see someone I knew WAY back when, because several times I've been on my way over to say "wow, hi!" and I realize it's NOT THEM.

Luckily, only once have I had to say "Sorry, I mistook you for someone else."

Onto other versions of me running around - almost every time Lady Luck and I go out to eat at a new restaurant, someone says "Hi! Back already?"

When we tell them we've never been, they ask if we know we have a couple duplicates running around.

It's weird.

Anonymous said...

When we tell them we've never been, they ask if we know we have a couple duplicates running around.

Hey, it could be worse, like your duplicates being on the FBI's most wanted list or something like that ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dani Hallmark.. I know she loved Jim Morrison, but didn't she also believe that Van Morrison was somehow a reincarnated version of Jim Morrison? Even if the dates don't actually match up in the least, I believe. Either way she couldn't drive on the highway without listening to one or the other in her little grey Dodge Omni if she didn't have a tape of one of them on or she said she would flip out. Oh, those truly were the salad days.

Interrobang said...

Chris -- I just found your very ancient entry about streetcars in Minneapolis. What, if anything, else do you know about James Towley and Fred Albin Ossanna? (I'm particularly interested in the reptile on the left in that photograph, although information on Ossana's fraud conviction would help.)

I am, shall we say, interested in the subject of streetcars and why they disappeared.

If you could leave me a comment or e-mail me at interroblog at g mail dot com, I'd appreciate it very much.