And I don’t want the world to see me
Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
— Iris, Goo goo dolls
I am lying down staring at the popcorn ceiling, about to slide into a comfortable sleep.
* N takes the stage in front of his illustrious peers: a bunch of know-it-all high-schoolers. N is the shy kind. Not given to bombastic pronouncements. This is a subject he has chosen from all possible ones. “There is”, he says, “something that can be learned from anyone, regardless of their place. Take my driver, for instance…”. I enthusiastically applaud his talk. It seems like a good thing to do.
* C has achieved a romantic understanding of an essentially classical concept: the distribution of loads on a structure. I am busy making my handwriting look good on my notebook.
* J illustrates the quantum states of the electron, employing analogies and anecdotes. It sounds really cool. I consider what I may say that’ll sound cooler when I am in his seat the next year.
* I am climbing up the stairs in a familiar building of the hallowed institute. I wonder if I chose to push myself to study (I am terrified of what it’d be like to stop), or if the ball was set rolling earlier on my choices regarding studying (I am terrified of not having a say in the matter). These seem to be the only two options.
* “A poet once said ‘The whole universe is in a glass of wine.’ We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass closely enough we see the entire universe.” Feynmann is saying, with an avuncular grin at the camera.
* K is talking about his spirituality. He tells me to go to an open field, or the top of a mountain, where there isn’t anyone in sight. “Then” he says,”when all else is quiet, listen to the residual, primordial sound that has always existed – everywhere, all the time, – as white noise…”. He is very earnest, and I had no idea he had this side to him.
* Manni and Lola are lying in bed.
Manni: Willst du weg … von mir?
Lola: Ich weiß nicht. Ich muß mich grad entscheiden … glaub ich.
* The Buddha sits in the lotus position under the bodhi tree. He extends his right palm and makes contact with the ground, calling upon the earth to witness his moment of enlightenment. Worldly concerns cease to make sense in his momentary circuit of contact with the infinite.
* On the makeshift blackboard is a curve representing the diminution of marginal desirability of every additional piece of candy to a child. A is tutoring me. Sanskrit. “Ekam sat viprah bahudah vadanti (There is one Truth, but sages say it in different ways)” he quotes. He has a taste for the rhetorical.
I can visualize the phrase, and it is monochromatically grey. It disassembles without warning into an alphabet soup and restrings into a fresh pattern of a myriad colours, as I descend into slumber, into what feels like a pit not unlike the one the od’d Renton sinks into in “Trainspotting”.