Friday, Oct. 10, 2003, 12:35 AM

The unobserved life is not worth living



Mayhaps that I think and act a little…differently…than my fellow peoples. A few days past while visiting my family at their newly constructed house one of the female members killed a fly with a fly swatter. She was surprised because she actually had been off by a bit and swiped about an inch away from the wall but still managed to swat the fly out of the air. Upon exclaiming her surprise I noted that it was in fact not very odd at all since flies begin the process of flying by leaping up and away from whatever surface it is upon which they are resting. So, if your fly is on the wall and sees that you are attempting insecticide upon his little buzzing being he will leap away from said wall and begin the flapping of his buzzing little wings. Likewise, he will jump vertically from a horizontal surface, like your kitchen table, in an attempt to flee. In light of this knowledge it seemed only natural that this particular fly was whacked out of the air by the passing swatter. Apparently this is not common knowledge.

This evening I was driving home from work and listening to the radio program This American Life and the story was talking about the behavior of schizophrenics. The diagnosis of one of the schizophrenic persons was based upon certain symptoms including the time that he got down on all fours on his lawn and proceeded chewing grass because he was thinking about cows and wondered what it was like to be one. Now, this behavior did not strike me as odd. Quite the contrary, this seemed like a perfectly reasonable attempt at empathizing with cowness. I thought that it would be necessary to have four stomachs with the ability to regurgitate and chew cud and pass gas and be milked to reach complete cowness.

This story in turn reminded me of a date I once had. I was in highschool and on a date with one of the "popular" girls in school. I did not run in the same crowd and this was supposed to be a promotion in status or an act of kindness on her part to be seen with me in public. So we are out on this date and happen to swing by one of the local malls before the end of the evening. While strolling down the truly American capitalist marketplace frequented by teens and elderly walking citizens we passed a This End Up furniture store with a lamp in the window display. The lamp had a Holstein patterned printed lampshade. She pointed this out to me and my response was a loud emphatic moo. She looked at me aghast and said, "Oh my god. Please tell me you didn't just do that?" and I responded, "What? You mean this? Mooooooooooo!" Apparently I had made what must have been a social faux pas for those of the In Crowd and she quickly asked me to take her home. When we pulled up to her house she turned to me and said that she would probably be busy the rest of the week and that I shouldn't bother to call her. That was fine with me since I had decided that a girl who couldn't stomach an occasional moo or spontaneous tree climbing wasn't worth a phone call.

I got a digital camera a few weeks past. The first thing that I did was to take really close up pictures of some of the most mundane items in my apartment and truck. This too is apparently aberrant behavior for the rest of society. I think that we take most things for granted and that if allowed the opportunity to remove ourselves from those items around us and provide them with the type of objective scrutiny with which we analyze and observe that which is new, then even the most mundane objects become interesting. I have included a few of those photos at the end of this post.

Perhaps we should stop and take a snapshot of our own lives. And then we should look at in a new light. An objective light. The same light that we cast on the people in television and in the magazines and newspapers. Maybe our lives would not seem quite so mundane.


This is my shoe


This is my faithful teacup at work. What a great friend


This is my frying pan and spatula after omelet making


This is my kitty with the luminous eyes


My cat's foot on the bathroom carpet


This is what I use to clean my bathroom


This is my neighbor's kitten


These are the rocks from my head


The gentle glow of the nightlight on my broom and dustpan


What, doesn't everyone have a gong?


I am typing these words on this right now


Look at the ripples when I drive over a bump


Grandma collects little figurines of birds


This is the carved stone rhino that guards my bookcase of favorite books