I didn’t turn the light on. I should have. Or rather, the programming built into any middle-class child like myself reads =if (and(>=dusk, walk into room), “lights on”). But I’m not some robot. No siree. Like anyone, there is malleability within me deeply connected to my openness to change. Easier said than done since programming is très comfortable and forking, even with promises of potential upside, requires considerable kwH.
Fortunately, less individual energy is required in an isolated system if someone else enters and shares the burden, thereby making isolation not the dreaded variety, just the thermodynamic one. In the case of =if (and(>=dusk, walk into room), “lights on”), you made it oh so easy for code rewriting. For you noticed things I’d never before considered. Texture, angle, color, and the fundamental, vital question: Why are you turning on the light right now? New code crafted itself as a result. Naturally, whenever I fork to post-xxxxxxxxx =if (and(>=dusk, walk into room, light amplitude is predicted to be moderate, visibility is seriously compromised in only sunlight, the beam angles are optimal), “minimal number of lights on”, “no lights on”), I think of you.
Much is lost without human contact. While I haven’t really felt this effect (Will I? Could I go years without touch? Decades? Ha), I have come to think extensively about something that’s diminished in quarantine: the ability to be understood. “Being understood” is usually presented in reference to “serious” personal truths. I now wonder if this focus misses something basic and vital.
While I may not want to let people know I was, say, molested (a “serious” truth), I definitely want people to know my preferences on things I care about, on things where I’m “different.” These choices may appear entirely trivial, yet it’s the very accumulation of countless “votes” that makes me ME. Beyond converting anyone to my modus operandi, beyond being cool or uncool, it’s powerfully self-confirming to express likes/dislikes … and to have those predilections heard. This process can occur from a distance, but it is heightened when shared in-person (i.e., I tell you to go to a concert vs. I go to the concert with you).
Of course, the process only functions well in a state of reciprocity. With judicious adherence to kwH giving = kwH receiving, you not only foster a robust connection, but your heart and mind just may be shifted upon discovering someone else’s superior preferences. And so it is that I’ve been forever altered: noticing light, comprehending the racket that is the shampoo industry, questioning biological impulses to bear children, and so much more. I thank you for all of this.