|Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin'
||[Sep. 18th, 2014|12:13 pm]
When Ferrett and I were first married, I had a digital alarm clock with a bold, green display. One night I awoke around 2am and discovered that the display had turned to red. I wondered what had happened to the LCD, and in the morning I pointed it out to Ferrett.|
"What do you mean?" he asked. "That clock has always been red."
Well, he was clearly wrong, so I called my daughters in to get them to verify that the clock had changed. They looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. No, they said. You've had that clock for years and it has always been red.
But this was no mere momentary forgetfulness. For at least two weeks, every time I entered the bedroom or rolled over in the night, I was actively, viscerally startled by the sight of that red display. If I rolled over, half asleep, and saw it, I was jarred to full wakefulness by how disturbing it was.
This is when I began to ponder whether the multiverse truly exists and whether our consciousness could "slip" from one layer of reality to another. Multiverse theory says that every possible outcome of a situation actually does happen, creating new universes that encompass all outcomes. So there are multiverses where I am president, and others where I didn't survive childhood. And if that is the case, then there must be multiverses where my consciousness can slip from one layer of possibility to the next.
I thought of this today as I was counting the steps in the old Arcade building downtown. During the four years that I worked downtown, I would eat lunch in that building at least once a week. And I remember distinctly the pattern of the broad staircase into the lower level: 7 steps, landing, 7 steps, landing, 7 steps, landing, 8 steps. I remember thinking that it was odd that they hadn't managed to build the steps so that they were all the same, wondering if it was intentional in some way. I am a compulsive step-counter, so I noted it almost every time.
Last week, I cut through the building on my way back from court. I was checking my email as I climbed the stairs, so it was only when I'd gotten to the top that I noted that the pattern didn't seem right. Convinced that I'd miscounted, I continued to my car. But it was niggling at me.
So today I went into the building again, paid attention, and counted. 7 steps, landing, 7 steps, landing, 7 steps, landing, 7 steps. The odd step is no longer there.
This fact leaves me with three possibilities: 1. They'd rebuilt the staircase, which they clearly haven't done; 2. I am misremembering, despite the strength of my memories; 3. I've slipped a little to the left in the multiverse.
I acknowledge that number 2 is definitely the most likely, though I am absolutely certain that my memories are accurate--then again, I would be. But it's number 3 that has me melancholy today.
Because if number 3 is right, then there are layers and layers of multiverses where Rebecca is still alive. Where Rebecca never had cancer at all. Where an alternate Rebecca is driving an alternate me crazy over some silly stubbornness and the alternate me has no reason to count her blessings. And while that should be heartwarming, to consider the possibility of alive and safe Rebeccas, instead it is making me jealous and resentful. I want that to be *my* reality. I want to live in that safe world. But it's too many layers away for me to reach.