Log in

No account? Create an account
Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin' - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

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.

[User Picture]From: ba1126
2014-09-18 05:08 pm (UTC)
Hugs. I've been there. Everyone insists on a different reality from the one I KNOW. Hubby chalks it up to 'old age' and 'forgetfulness'. Drives me CRAZY. My continuing condolences and prayers for your loss.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: veedub
2014-09-18 06:04 pm (UTC)


read "the wedding present", from the introduction to neil gaiman's "smoke and mirrors". or watch the movie "sliding doors" with gwyneth paltrow. and ponder which world you would rather be in...
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: naath
2014-09-22 01:00 pm (UTC)

Re: alt.universe

And "My real children" by Jo Walton.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tdanaher
2014-09-18 07:39 pm (UTC)
If that reality had Rebecca but no Ferrett, would you want it?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-09-18 08:48 pm (UTC)
It's a blessing that I don't have to make such choices. Thanks for the perspective.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dragonsflame71
2014-09-18 09:24 pm (UTC)
That is the real thinker. If another universe had what you think you want right now, what is the catch? What is missing from that 'verse you have now? Brilliant observation!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-09-18 09:33 pm (UTC)
But of course I want it all.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: ratfan
2014-09-19 01:08 am (UTC)
Have you read a book called Finity by John Barnes? It has the theme you describe - in a way - and it is really good. What would be ideal is if you could keep slipping sideways until you got the universe you wanted.

Reality is only an option!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: reynai
2014-09-19 01:38 am (UTC)
Reminds me of something really odd that happened just last year. I park in a residential side-street to go to work across a nearby intersection, and I distinctly remember that one day, where I had to park elsewhere, there were firetrucks aplenty in front of the house that I usually parked in front of. Later on that week, the house there had clearly burned down, and the next door house had visible fire damage, melted siding, etc.

Cue next week: There's a house there, obviously in need of repairs, but still distinctly -there- in a place where there had been no house. Also: There are trees on the verge that would make it nigh on impossible to 'drive' a house up onto there, not to mention a traffic island...

So did I slip sideways into a dimension where some other disaster befell the house, and not a fire burning it down?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-09-29 01:09 pm (UTC)
Okay, that is weird. And yeah, it's a good question.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: irishgalinabq
2014-09-19 01:39 am (UTC)
This book is a good read exploring this same idea.
Life after Life by Kate Atkinson.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: cinema_babe
2014-09-19 02:33 am (UTC)
Jim and I realized that while he and I never met never met, we frequented some of the same places and even acquaintances of the a couple of the same people around the same time.

Weird, huh?

After he died I had a lot of those same thoughts about alternate universes where we when we met at different times that this timeline. I wrote a (barely coherent) short story where the timelines kept crossing.

So I sort of get it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tithenai
2014-09-19 10:34 am (UTC)
If you haven't yet, you might enjoy reading My Real Children by Jo Walton.

All the hugs to you.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2014-09-19 01:03 pm (UTC)
i wish, too. fallcon's shade sometimes reaches out for me, and in reality, that universe is slipped from me.

i feel your pain, i am so damn sorry for your loss, and yet, i agree, what would you miss from *this* time if she lived? we want it all, and i believe that someday it will happen. *gentle hugs offered*
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bbwoof
2014-09-20 02:03 am (UTC)
Please forgive the off-topic reply, but...

Happy Anniversary, Gini! May you and Ferrett continue to be a shining example of How To Do It Right for all the rest of us, and may you have the Brightest of Blessings.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: celticdragonfly
2014-09-22 03:48 pm (UTC)
Ow. Yes. This. The alternate world where Rebecca never got sick. The alternate world where I asked Alanna to come along to drop off my friend at her house, and she chattered at us through the whole long drive. And I never knew how lucky I was, and never knew to be grateful for what we missed. And nobody knew just how much of a monster that guy had become. Would somebody else's kid have found out? Is it horrible that I wish I could make it have happened that way?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-09-22 06:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, you would understand better than most. Such a little change....
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)