It's all in your perspective, don't you think?
I am not a gal who is much for learning how things work, although I did once briefly consider taking a car mechanics course when my little green Ford Cortina persisted in stalling at red lights and the smug Neanderthals at the dealership insisted nothing was awry.
As Chris the computer guy has heard from me more than once, I don’t care WHY this particular program has given up the ghost or WHY that one is misbehaving; I just want them to work as Steve Jobs intended them to. Similarly, I am not the slightest bit interested in WHY there are clouds in the sky; I just want to admire their loveliness or do a dance so it won’t rain next Saturday. Nor am I the slightest bit interested in what makes the lights turn on when I flip a switch, or a gas burner ignite when I turn the knob, or an airplane fly once the flight attendants buckle up. As far as I am concerned, it’s all magic, and it can stay that way.
For obvious reasons, this kind of primitive, willful attitude baffles my husband, Dr. Astrophysicist. Oh, he can tolerate my self-induced dummy-dom okay if the Thing-That-Goes is a piece of household equipment, an automobile, chemical goop percolating in a test tube, or the tornado mowing down somewhere Oklahoman. It’s when it comes to things celestial that my insistence on remaining ignorant stretches his forbearance to the breaking point.
A typical exchange….
Me: Oh, look at the stars!
Him: That’s Jupiter – see it?? No, you’re looking the wrong way. Why are you looking over there?
Me: Maybe they’re not stars. Maybe they’re angels dancing.
Him: Well, of course, they’re stars.
Me: Says who?
Him: Every astronomer since the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians. (An explanation utilizing words and terms like gamma rays, gravitational collapse, radiation, mass, fusion, hydrogen, pressures and helium ensues)
Me: There are so many stars tonight. Maybe the angels are having a special party. A convention of angels!
Him: I just explained Why It’s Not Angels.
Me: Sure, yeah, I know. But wouldn’t it be fun if two angel-stars swooped down anyway and carried us off, kind of like Superman with Lois Lane? Why are you looking at me like that?
Him: Nothing…You hate flying.
Me: This would be different.
Him: You won’t go up in a small plane with a licensed pilot, but you’ll zip around the universe with angels?
Me: Angels’ parts don’t malfunction. They can’t crash.
Him: Maybe that’s what falling stars are. (Gotcha!)
Me: You don’t believe that. (Do you?)
Him: You’re the one insisting stars are angels.
Me: Okay, say they are stars. Why don’t they fall? What keeps them up there? Why hasn’t one dropped and conked me on the head like that bird poop in Montreal?
Him: (snorting) Stars can’t fall on us.
Me: Well, they’re not stuck to heaven like post it notes on the frig – are they?
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that, the longer we have been married, the fewer of these exchanges we’ve engaged in.
Nevertheless I must admit that I PUMMELED my husband with questions after he casually mentioned one evening that, on Uranus, it rains. Except – get this – when it rains on Uranus, it doesn’t rain rain. On Earth, it rains water. On Uranus, IT RAINS DIAMONDS.
Needless to say, Dr. A can explain in great detail why this happens. However, while I listened as hard as I could, I emerged from that dissertation qualified only to supply you with two tidbits of enlightenment:
1. Uranus is quite a trek from Earth; it’s over two billion miles away from us
2. That spiffy rain on Uranus has something to do with Carbon.
Confession: I could ‘get’ this stuff better. Granted, I could never in a trillion years with a gazillion tutors become the physicist my husband and his colleagues are – I am not saying that. But if I tried till I sweated blood – and Dr. Astrophysicist was uncommonly patient – I could eventually sort of grasp why Uranus’s atmosphere is tinseled with diamonds. I might even manage to explain it here without humiliating myself.
But, the thing is, I don’t WANT to plumb this mystery. I like my mysteries to remain mysterious, those natural wonders encircling us every instant to remain wondrous. Call me a big baby, but I prefer stuff served up in a pretty cup with spun sugar and spoonfuls of magic.
Perhaps that is why God and I get along so well most of the time. Faith is instinctive for me; miracles, as acceptable and tasty as apples.
I turn a key, and my car roars to life. I twist knobs and have water. I click “send” and, time zones away, a friend gets my message. I punch buttons, and a picture appears. I swallow, and somehow food goes where it needs to.
The sun will set today, and the moon will be but a sliver. Except the sun is still there, as is all of the moon. And, next time it rains, perhaps you will run outdoors and collect in your hands something far more precious than handfuls of diamonds. You will lift the moment to your lips and, ever so deeply, drink.
If you like this post, please check out my other writings on BlogHer or on my ‘other blog’ – www.michaelwhoknew.com
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