Art and the philosophy of life

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The chat…a very short story.

Machine, Print, Keys, Font, Typewriter

“It was a dark and stormy night,” he muttered, picking at the keys.

“When?” she asked.

“When what?”

“When was it dark and stormy?  A few weeks ago?”

“It doesn’t matter when. It’s  fiction.”

“I thought you said your writing was going to be honest,” she said.

“It’s FICTION. I can make it up.”

“If you say so.”

“What does that mean?”

“Nothing.  You said it’s fiction, right?  I was just wondering if you had a certain dark and stormy night in mind, that’s all.”

“No. I do not have a specific dark and stormy night in mind.  The story isn’t going to take place around here, anyway,” he said, starting to type.

“Where’s it going to take place?”

“I haven’t named the the area yet,” he sighed.

“I’m good with making up names for things, so if you ned help, just ask.”

“Thank you.  I will.”

“I just wanted you to know that I’m available.”

“Very generous of you, but I’m good.”

“Let me know when you decide what you’re calling the place.  I’m very interested.”

“I will.”

“Will it be on earth or in space?”

“A different reality.”

“That sounds exciting,” she said.

“Mmmm.”

“Do you want something to eat?  A bottle of water?  Coffee?”

“How am I supposed to get anything done when you keep talking to me!” he said.  “How am I supposed to I CONCENTRATE?  WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?”

She stood up and smiled.  “To let you know EXACTLY  what you and the kids do to me EVERY SINGLE DAY AND NIGHT OF MY LIFE, that’s why.

 

 

Earth…The Chat

Corona, Spray, Earth, Sanitizer

“What are you? she asked, staring at the glowing blue ball.

“I’m the messenger.  I mean you’re not listening to the Earth, so She thought She’d send a miniature of Herself to tell you what’s going on.”

“I see.”

“Do you?  I look small but I’m a complete replica, a whole Earth, not just a broken off chunk.”

“Fair enough,” she said, nodding.  “How can I help you?”

“Well, that’s the thing.  Nothing’s going to change until you help yourselves.”

“We’re trying.”

“No.  That’s just it.  You aren’t doing what is necessary to stop the virus.  I mean, the Earth’s okay with your species going extinct.  That’s not really a problem for Her.  It’s happened before…and animals, and all other forms of life are being driven into extinction by your kind, every single day.  But She wants you to know that you don’t have long to play around with this one.”

“I’m doing the best i can.  I work around the clock and…”

“Not the point.”

“It’s not?”

“No.”

“Then what IS the point?” she asked.

“You have to work together to overcome what’s happening.”

“So you’re saying we don’t have a chance and we’re all going to die.”

“Pretty much.”

“Then I’m going to retire and enjoy whatever time I have left.”

“Definitely an option.”

“You know people won’t ever work together, don’t you?”

“I do,” said the Earth.  “This is just your last chance to wakey wakey.”

“You mean to wake up?”

“Yes.  It’s your last chance to wake up.”

“Hahahahahahaha,” she laughed.  “Do you KNOW what we’re like?”

“I do, that’s why I’m here.”

“Then you must know it’s hopeless.”

“I know that it seems that way to you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means, that things don’t have to stay the way they are.”

“I’m sorry,” she sighed.  “You must be thinking of a different species.  Things are never going to change.  Look at American.  She’s on her knees, being destroyed by an insane idiot egomaniacal tyrant that some people are going to VOT FOR AGAIN.”

“I know, believe me.”

“Then why are you wasting your time talking to me?” she asked.

“You’re the only one who found me.”

“Good point,” she said.

“You did this to yourselves.”

“And?” she said.

“I’m just saying,” said the Earth’s representative.

“I know that.  We do EVERYTHING to ourselves, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

“And,” snickered the Earth.

“People are sick and dying.”

“That’s not going to stop until you all work together to stop it.”

“How?”

“You have to stop being stupid, for one thing,” said the tiny globe.

“That’s a terrible thing to say and it won’t win you any friends, that’s for sure.  It will just make people hate you.”

“Wow, I’m terrified,” sighed the Earth.  “Like I care.  I don’t even know why I’m here, trying to save a species I don’t even like.”

“Then go away.”

“You ever meet Mother Nature?”

“No, I just see her work all around me.”

“Good answer.  Too bad you won’t be here to see it for long.”

“Right.”

“You all have to stay inside for awhile.  You have to let the virus die.  Then you have to come out slowly and wear masks and do what you need to do and then go back inside.  I know you’re going to ask about jobs and school and all the rest, but it’s either do that, or keep burying people.  I mean the choice is yours.  Over two hundred thousand Americans are already dead.  That’s a lot of people.  First thing you’ll have to do, of course, is get rid of your governments.  Governments are the reason for war, climate destruction, poverty and …”

“…everything else?”

“Yes, and almost everything else.  I would say everything, but a lot of you are crazy, so I have to take that into consideration.  If you got rid of weapons no one would be able to go into a building and kill a hundred people at once.  But you just keep making more guns, and you let anyone have them, so…that’s just another thing you do to yourselves.”

“You’re making me tired,” she said.

“Well, boo hoo,” snarked the Earth.  “How do you think all of you are making ME feel?  You’re like a bad rash I can’t get rid of.   Although, if you keep doing what you’re doing, maybe that will change.  It’s possible you could all die.”

“Nice.”

“Yes,” agreed the Earth.  “It would be.  If you were all gone, I would blossom.  Mother Nature would once again walk among the forests and animals.  Things would be beautiful and a bit more sane.  You know what…” said the earth.

“No.  What?” she asked.

“Forget I said anything.  Just keep doing what you’re doing.  Kill each other, don’t wear masks, make more guns, build a bigger Pentagon, start more wars, destroy yourselves anyway you can.  Sorry I bothered you.”

“You realize that there’s nothing I can do to change anything anyway, don’t you?” she said, softly.

“Right,” said the earth.  “Keep believing that and everything will be fine.”

“It doesn’t matter what I believe, things are out of control and…”

“Yes, yes, of course they are.  Poor you.  So, I’m going now.  Have a nice…whatever.”

“Thanks for stopping by,” she said, wearily.  “Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.”

“Enjoy your retirement.”

“Thanks.”

“You should probably hurry and do that, before it’s too late.”

“Okay,” she said.

“Seriously, go now.”

She nodded, said, “Bye,” and walked away.

 

The Chat…

“Wow.  You’re more depressed than I thought,” he said.  “Watching Eloise at Christmastime, in August.”

“It makes me happy.  Or as happy as anyone can be at the moment.”

“I told you to stop watching the news.  It’s making everyone depressed.”

“I stopped this morning.  I don’t care anymore.  It’s too insane and makes me want to…”

“Start screaming?  Break the TV?  Tear at your hair?”

“Yes, yes and yes,” she sighed.

“Better not too think about it.  There’s noting anyone can do.  I think that’s obvious, since no one is doing anything about what’s happening.”

She nodded.  “Do you want me to start the movie over?”

“How many times in a row have you watched it?”

“Three.”

“Sure, start it over and pass the bowl of chocolate chips.”

“How can life have come to this?”

“No one was paying attention,” he said.

She shoved a handful of chips into her mouth, then bit into a cookie.  “Mffhussfffh?”

“I’m sorry, could you please repeat that,” he laughed.  “And no matter how much chocolate you eat, it won’t make things better.  You know that, don’t you?”

“I do,” she said, snuggling up to him.  “But chocolate, cats, books and Eloise are what stop me from jumping off the top of a building.  Well, and you, of course.”

“She’s a fabulous actress.  Some kids just have so much talent,” he said, watching Eloise dance around.

“I love her.  She’s loud, just crazy enough and she does exactly what she wants to do and she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.”

“You mean she’s just like you,” he laughed.

“Maybe,” she said.  “Eloise, at least in this movie, just makes sense.  Life would be a lot easier for all the other characters, if they would just listen to her and get on with it.”

“Then there wouldn’t BE a movie,” he said, grabbing more chocolate chips.  “Cookies, please.”

She passed him the bag of cookies.  “How long can we live this way?”

“No one knows,” he said.  “This whole thing is one huge experiment and I think we’re failing miserably.”

“This is the new normal and it doesn’t fit.  People are squiggling and trying to force themselves into a life that’s too small.  Eloise’s real name is Sofia.”

“Okay,” he grinned.  “How many bags of chips are in this bowl?”

“Six large bags, not those little bags.”

He started laughing.

“I have two more bags in the freezer.”

“I think this might be enough.”

“There’s always a mean woman and a bad guy in films.  Have you notice that?” she asked, stretching.

“It’s called a plot.”

“I never like the irritating people in movies, or on tv or in books.  I fast forward through their parts.  I won’t give them air time, or let them into my life.  I just watch the parts I like.  I feel as if they know I’m cutting them out, and it makes me feel good to do it.  Like in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.  I always cut the horrid pedantic guy out.  He never gets to say a single word.”

“He’s just an actor.”

“Don’t care.  I won’t let those people in.  Sometimes I skip the pages in a book where the icky people are talking.”

He kissed her nose.  “Wanna get married?”

“Do you?”

“I think it’s time.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.  Just the two of us.”

“When?”

“Next week?”

“You don’t think you can do better than me?” she asked, turning the cookie bag upside down. “All gone.”

“Better than you?”  he said.  “There isn’t anyone better than you.”

“You’re just saying that because of the spell I put on you when we met.”

“Spell?”

She nodded and sprawled across his lap.  “I’m magic,” she snickered, wiggling her fingers.

“I like this part,” he said, looking at the TV.

“Me too.”

“I love you.  I want to marry you.  I want to be with you for the rest of my life, however short that may be, considering the state of the world.”

“I love you too, so let’s do it and not tell anyone until afterward,”  she said.

“Perfect.”

“Would you like to live forever?” she asked.

“Probably not,” he said.  “Why?  Do you know any vampires who would be willing to change us?”

“Not really.  And I’d miss the sun too much to go all vamp.  Oh, Eloise is going to slam the door and the Christmas decorations are going to fall down again.”

“So this weekend?” he asked.

“Yes.  I’m keeping my name, but you can change yours to mine, if you like.”

“I’ll think about it,” he laughed.

“Hey, woman have been changing their names forever.  Not funny.”

“What about werewolves?  They live for a long time, the sun doesn’t bother them, and they can run fast.”

“That is better,” she said.  “It’s something to consider, especially since I don’t like to look pale.”

“You think fuzzy is better?”

“Definitely,” she said, throwing the crumpled cookie bag at the TV.  “How can she be willing to say no to the guy she loves, and yes to the creepy guy her father likes?  I mean where’s her backbone and brain?  She’s so…wishy washy and weak.  She can’t even speak above a whisper and she looks so pathetic.  And who dyes their poodle blue?”

“It’s a movie.,” he said.  “It’s not real.”

“It’s real for a lot of women.”

“You’re right,” he said.  “Should we just watch the film until it’s over?”

“Okay,” she said.  “But kiss me first, since you have to taste like semi-sweet chocolate.”

“If I do that, we won’t be watching the movie at all.”

“I’m willing to risk it,” she said, pulling him toward her.

He pressed pause and let her do whatever she liked.

 

 

The chat…

“What do you think about dog shows?”

“I don’t know what they’re for?” she said.  “The dog you love is the best dog there is, no matter what she, or he, looks like.  I like a german shepherd with a floppy ear.  I would pick that dog, over an ordinary one, with two ears up, since the floppy ear would give the dog character.  It’s not a flaw.  There are no flaws in the dog you love, or in any dog.  Dogs aren’t for show, they’re for friendship and love.”

“You think so?” he said.

“Life doesn’t have to be so competitive that even our dogs and cats have to be better than someone else’s dog or cat.  That’s just more mine’s better than yours, kind of thinking.  And, let’s not forget the competition makes money and the winner makes a LOT of money, through breeding and everything else.  Sometimes purebreds have more problems and health issues than mutts.  I love german shepherds, but they have hip problems.  It seems every breed has something. And think of all that constant grooming and practicing and all the commands and walking in circles and having some judge feel you up, and those people running next to you, pulling on your neck all the time.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“How else could you think about it?”

“I don’t know, I just thought it was dogs in a ring.”

“Would you trade places with a show dog?” she asked.

“No.”

“Cages, waiting, more grooming, and then more grooming after that, with your head often in a loop, so you can’t move and only one dog wins.  It’s horrible and makes me feel bad.  And don’t tell me the dogs get used to it and love it, because they never had a choice.  It’s all they know.  The puppies who aren’t show material are sold or given away, or sometimes killed, because they aren’t perfect and good enough, so they are worthless, since they don’t have what the BREEDERS want.  Now, if I had my way the dogs would turn on the people and bite them, shake them, and make them run around the ring and the losers would get, well, let’s say, put out of their misery, since none of them are perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  Take a look at them, sometime.  They couldn’t win a single thing.  The winner, the one person left alive, could wait on the dogs from then on, running in circles once a day, with a collar and leash, pulling his head up, being prodded, to stand up straighter, lift his legs higher, and remain silent, before he goes back into his cage.  You know, all the stuff dogs are expected to do.  I think there should be one rule for humans.  Unless you want it done to you, then don’t DO IT to anyone else.  The government and religion would dissolve instantly, everyone would become a vegetarian, and all the rapists and hateful people, the batterers, and icky people would be gone and then dogs could be dogs and women could walk freely and never be afraid.”

“I don’t think that will ever happen,” he said.

“Then men would be hung on meat hooks upside down and their blood drained and…”

“Okay, I get it,” he said, holding up his hands.

“Oh, you eat the cow, you just don’t want to know how it dies for you, is that it?”

“We were talking about dog shows.”

“I guess some of them eventually retire but by then their lives have been spent preparing for shows, being driven to shows and running in a ring.”

“I don’t think it’s that way for all of them.  Some of them live normal lives.”

“The point is, why does one have to be better than the rest?  Not everyone would agree with the judge.  It’s like the olympics.  People work out for their entire lives, every single day and then they have six minutes to do a routine that they’ve done ten million times but this time, they trip, or their hand slips, or one judge wants someone else to win, so he gives that person a lower score, just because he can, and all those years of work, just fall by the wayside.  If people want to race and they can be timed, then the clock can tell the truth, but everything else is subjective.  Perfection is subjective and highly overrated.  Who decides what’s perfect?  Some guy, or a group of people?  What if no one agrees with them? Ordinary people set standards based on their prejudices and world views.  Sure, they may be trained, but they’re trained to look for the subjective form of perfection that others decided perfection was.  It’s just one more made up thing.”

“So you don’t want to go to the dog show with me?” he said, holding up two tickets.

He heard her laughing as she walked away.

 

The chat…

“I think we’re supposed to be more than this.  More than we are.”

“Like what?” he asked.

“I think we’re supposed to be able to fly, to be able to do a lot of things we don’t, can’t, or won’t do.”

“I doubt it.”

“Why?”

“Why do I doubt it?” he asked.

“Yes.  Why do you doubt it?”

“Because no one, at least that we know of, has ever done anything  like that.  We aren’t built for flying.”

“You said that we know of.”

“So, you think people fly around and do weird things in private and no one ever sees them?”

“I think it’s possible.”

“I don’t.”

“I can’t believe this is all we’re good for.  Working, reproducing and dying,” she said, sadly.  “Living the same days over and over again, just getting older.  Repeating things day in and day out.”

“That’s not completely true.”

“Depends on how you look at it. I know people who do laundry on the same day every week, who eat the same foods, on the same days, every week.  Everyday is Groundhog Day.”

“Maybe they just like schedules, or maybe they have OCD.”

“Or maybe life is so meaningless that it doesn’t matter what we do, since we just run on the wheel.  How many times do you think a person brushes his teeth in his lifetime?”

“You should get a guinea pig.”

“What?”

“Be glad you have opposable thumbs?”

“Go back to the part about the guinea pig.”

“I was just trying to change the subject.”

“With a guinea pig?”

“It was worth a shot.”

“I like my thumbs.  Thumbs aren’t part of the flying equation.  And, I think all of the fantasy and sci-fi stories we read, are based in reality.  That’s why we accept them so easily.   All we’re doing in remembering what we could do, or did do, somewhere else.  Plus, people are going mad.  Why do you think some sleep on a sidewalk to be first in line to get a new phone, or computer?  It’s BECAUSE it’s SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THEY HAD.  It’s a day the laundry doesn’t have to be done.  That’s what’s driving us crazy…our search for something DIFFERENT.  Why do you think people jump out of planes and climb mountains, they die on?  It’s because for some, they’d rather tempt death, than go to the store for cheese one more time.  And some have that thrill seekers gene, but still.”

You’re…different,” he laughed.

“I’m serious,” she sighed.

“Life is fun and exciting.  Maybe not so much since the virus, but it used to be.”

“What did you do that was fun and exciting?  Tell me,” she said, “In great detail.”

“I didn’t say it would be fun or exciting to you.”

“Do you have a guinea pig?”  she asked.

“One is currently in my living room. Yes.”

She started laughing.  “No way.”

“I’m guinea sitting for my sister’s little girl.”

“Aw, you’re so sweet.  Give the wee one parsley and lots of good yummy things.”

“It’s a she and her name is Pumpkin.  She’s white with brown markings.”

“Sweet.”

“She’s going home tomorrow.”

“Will you miss her?”

“Not really, although she’s quiet and a very polite house guest.”

She snickered.  “How many times a day do you pet her?”

“The written instructions say three times or more,” he laughed.

“Aw.  Who wrote the instructions?”

“My niece.  She drew flowers and unicorns in the margins and a big picture of Pumpkin on the bottom.  Tell me,” he said,  “how do you feel about mac and cheese?”

“I love it, when it’s done right.”

“Me too,” he said.

“What are you reading?”

“A book on street art.  You?”

“Letters from the Lost Generation.”

“Oh, I like that period too,” he said.

“The president?”

“Gaaaag.”

“Good answer,” she said.

“Do you think we’re going to go extinct?”

“Eventually.”

“I mean from the virus,” he said.

“I doubt it.  What do you think?”

“I doubt it too, but lots of people are dying right now, from a lot of things.”

“That’s true,” she said. “Opposable thumbs don’t seem to be able to stop that from happening.”

“No they don’t.  I’m having mac and cheese for dinner.”

“I’m having yogurt, since I ate a lot at lunch.  I think we should be able to eat anything we want and never go over a 130 for women and 187 for men.”

“That would be nice,” he said.  “I think a lot of people would like that.”

“Life is mean that way, unless you’re a hippo, but they don’t eat chocolate.”

“That’s true.  They don’t,” he agreed.

“Do you trust Bill Gates?”

“No, do you?”

“Not really,” she said.  “It’s almost impossible to trust anyone now days.”

“That’s true.”

“Well, this was lovely,” she said.  “Sorry you got the wrong number.  Hope you find Jimmy, or whoever you were calling.”

“I’m glad I misdialed,” he said.  “You want to get together?”

“Where do you live?”

“According to your area code, not where you do.”

“So, no.”

“I’ll keep your number,” he said.

“Okay,” she laughed.  “Misdial me any time and give Pumpkin a lettuce leaf from me.”

“Will do,” he said.  “Hey, what’s your name?”

“Let’s save that for next time,” she said, and hung up.

“Okay,” he said, softly.  “There will definitely be a next time.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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