To Be Stuck chapter 3

I figure I can change the subject and see what happens. I ask, “What do you think of soccer?”

She shrugs. “What do you think of soda?”

“How does soccer relate to soda?”

“Not much. If you’re going to kick around subjects like soccer, I’ll interject with soda.”

“What’s the purpose of that?”

“I want to be sweet.”

I imagine she will be difficult for her own sake. I may want to drink coffee and she will choose to serve me tea. That is, if she thinks we are in England. I would not mind visiting another country but first I will have to get free from her before I visit a place as close as the corner store, even though there are no stores close by, but the sentiment is the same. I am here on a house-sitting mission and her hand is hand-sitting my hand, as if she is in the house of my hand. Then again, my hand is in hers so I am the one hand-sitting her hand. I do not plan to stay in Pennsylvania more than I need to do so. When my brother-in-law’s friend comes back, I am gone. I am already gone, in mind. I am not here with Constance. I am elsewhere.

Suddenly, there is a knock on my sister’s and brother-in-law’s door. Sara says, “Wow. They’re early. I didn’t expect that.” She opens the front door.

Two women walk in. One is wearing a black dress. She looks fine but not as noticeable as I would have assumed if the woman was a politician. The other woman dresses oddly in a way that is almost surreal. She is wearing a brown ribbed wool muumuu and yellow jeans and red ankle boots. Under the muumuu, a blue-and-white checkered scarf is visible. She looks like she would be a secretary for the sanitation department. However, the woman in the black dress says, “Hello, Sarah. This is Julia, my sister.”

Sarah said, “Hi, Christine and nice to meet you, Julia.” She gives me a look as if to say, “You now know what I mean.”

I do not know what Sarah means.

Christine says, “I told Julia the weather today was going to be somewhere in the eighties. She insisted on wearing this combination.”

Julia looks at the floor. “It’s fine.”

Sara says, “You can always take off the muumuu later.”

“Maybe.”

“Or, you can just take off the scarf so you’re more comfortable.”

“No.”

Sarah shrugs. “Okay.” She gives me that look again.”

I ask, “Would you like to roam around in the city?”

Julia asks, “Why?”

“Because it’ll be fun to go in the city with someone.”

“But you can go to the city with anyone. It does not have to be me, per se.”

“Are you saying you’d rather not go?”

“No. But I’m no one special. I’m a bit strange. That’s what everyone tells me.”

I want to be polite. “Well, I like your outfit. I think you look great. You have style.”

She shook her head. “I just can’t change. People judge me on it.”

“If you’re not going to change, it could be because you don’t need to change. You’re on a higher level.”

She looks at me with surprised eyes. She smiles. “You really want to spend time with me?”

“I think it would be fun. We could go on campus at Columbia University or we could go to Absolute Bagels and get something to eat or we could go to a book store or to the park. Whatever you’d want to do.”

Christine says, “Sarah, I’d like your opinion on something. I’m doing a lecture on consciousness. There’s some talks already professor have done on how consciousness is just particles forming together to make an assemblage of conscious awareness. I want to focus on something a little different. I want to make my talk about how consciousness shifts when a person who is not famous meets a celebrity. Is fame merely an overabundance of particles interacting? Only some particles can make the person. Other particles recognize the celebrity. How does all of that work?”

Sarah says, “I think it depends on one’s interpretation. There is a possibility that interpretation itself is a bunch of particles. It is hard to determine.”

“Well, if that’s true, then definitely it’s a complicated issue and difficulty itself could be another set of particles that work in conjunction with clarity so everything gets mixed up.”

“Are you sure you’re not giving the speech now?”

Constance interrupts my train of thought. She asks, “Are you still here?”

I sigh. “Apparently so.”

“You’ll like it here in Pennsylvania. I’ll explain to the landlord that you’ll be moving in. He wants to paint my house blue. I rather like the color blue but I’m fine with it as it is. I don’t mind beige. Want will you want me to fix you tomorrow? I can fix eggs or would you like cereal for breakfast?”

I cannot help but put my mind in replay. My brother-in-law loves soccer so, to respect what he likes, I will go over what I was thinking about a minute earlier, though I will change the setting and conversation.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. Sara says, “Wow. They’re late. I expected that.” She does not open the front door.

Two women walk in. One was dressed in a yellow dress. She looks strange.. The other woman dresses exactly the same but somehow looks like the outfit is more appropriate on her. The strange woman says, “Hello, Sarah. This is another version of me. She calls herself Monica.”

Sarah says, “Hi, Kathy and nice to meet you, Monica.” She gives me a look as if to say, “You do not know what I mean.”

I know what Sarah means.

Kathy says, “I told Julia the weather today was going to be somewhere in the eighties. She insisted on wearing this combination.”

Monica looks at the floor. “It’s fine.”

Sara said, “You can always take off the dress later.”

“Maybe.”

“Or, you can just smile so you’re more comfortable.”

“No.”

Sarah shrugged. “Okay.” She gives me that look again.”

I say, “I’m Andrew. This afternoon will be fine.”

Monica asked, “Why?”

“Because it’ll be fun to go in the city with someone.”

“But you can go to the city with Kathy. It does not have to be me, per se.”

“Are you saying you’d rather not go?”

“No. But I’m no one special. Kathy’s a bit strange. That’s what everyone tells me.”

“Well, I like your outfit. I think you look great. You have style.”

She shakes her head. “I just can’t change. People judge me on it.”

“If you’re not going to change, it could be because you don’t need to change. You’re on a higher level.”

She looks at me with surprised eyes. She smiled. “You really want to spend time with me?”

“I think it would be fun. We could go on campus at Columbia University or we could go to Absolute Bagels and get something to eat or we could go to a book store or to the park. Whatever you’d want to do.”

Kathy says, “Sarah, I’d like your opinion on something. I’m doing a lecture on boxes. There’s some talks already professor have done on how boxes are just particles forming together to make an assemblage of cardboard awareness. I want to focus on something a little different. I want to make my talk about how boxes shift when a person who is not famous meets a newspaper. Is fame merely an overabundance of particles interacting? Only some particles can make the newspaper. Other particles recognize the box. How does all of that work?”

Sarah says, “I think it depends on one’s interpretation. There is a possibility that interpretation itself is a bunch of boxes. It is hard to determine.”

“Well, if that’s true, then definitely it’s a complicated issue and paper itself could be another set of boxes that work in conjunction with cardboard so everything gets mixed up.”

“Are you sure you’re not giving the speech now?”

Constance frowns. For me to notice, she must have jolted me back so I am concentrating on her again. She says, “This is like the pineapple diet.”

I ask, “What is like the pineapple diet?”

“Our constant motion. It detoxes the system. Also, when you use the shower, make sure to sure the thing that goes in the drain. It catches all the hair quite well.”

“What is your favorite type of music?”

“I like jazz. I am not really a fan of scat singing. I don’t believe the human voice needs to sound like a trumpet. But I am impressed with singers who can do a really fine vocal range.”

“I like jazz, too. Who are your favorite artists?”

She shakes her head. “I don’t know why people need to use the word artist when everything is life is art. When you’re walking down the street, you’re creating art because you’re continuing the preservation of life action.”

“Would that be true even if someone did the same thing over again?”

“Yes but that would be like a false version of mass production. It would be like putting out a book but the serial number on each copy is different. It would be the same but not exact. That’s why people cannot duplicate the exact thing they did the day before. Yesterday was already created. Duplication becomes not complete duplication. It becomes remanufacturing of creation. That is the same as creation but it seems different because people don’t realize that any difference, however small, does count as a difference.”

“What about television sets? If one person is watching the soccer game on his television set and someone else is watching the same game on another set, isn’t that exact duplication?”

“It would be like two bottles of soda. The ingredients are the same from one bottle to another but it wouldn’t be the exact same exactness. I assume you know what I mean.”

“I know that I brought up soccer and you brought up soda again.”

“Yes. We brought up the same subjects again but we treated them differently. That is going over familiar territory. It is not quite remanufacturing creation but it is close to doing so.”

“I understand. But have you ever figured out why one television set can produce the same program as another television set? It’s the same show, so in that way it is the exact duplication of the show, but it is being shown on another television in another house so it is not the very exact duplication of exact duplication.”

“It is because the signal can be shared. The source of the program is the same source. It is one big signal. It goes to more than one television set. It is like one big piece of food that gets split up so everyone can eat it.”

“But, then, how can you explain one person might get a bigger slice of food and another person gets a smaller slice? It was not divided equally.”

She nods. “One television might not be as big as the other television. One television is bigger than the other. The signal is the same. The quality of food is the same.  But the size is different.”

“How did we get to talking like this, anyway?”

“You brought up the subject.”

“I brought it up because I don’t know how else to pass the time.”

She laughs. “You’ve been able to pass the time before, many times. Just keep passing the time like you usually do.”

“How can I? You’re preventing me from doing what I ordinarily do.”

“What do you ordinarily do?”

“I go about my day and do things.”

“What happens when you encounter difficulties?”

“I deal with them.”

“Yes. That’s what you’re doing now. You’re doing what you’re ordinarily doing.”

“I guess so.”

“I know so.”

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