There are city mice and country mice, and anyone who has ever met one of each knows there’s no confusing them. I wonder if there’s country minds and city minds. It’s an asinine idea, apropos of nothing, but even when I don’t know my mind, I always recognize it. There’s architecture to it, tall skyscrapers where ambitions are constantly nose-diving into oncoming traffic. There’s no accidents here, but facing the congestion alone kills. There’s libraries here, for reference– collected thoughts my brain observes but doesn’t absorb, asymptotes of my experiences. In the archives, there’s a country section. There’s a loose string, a fragmented thought: apple pie served up by Aunt Bea from Mayberry.
What’s wrong with this picture?
I don’t know, but I don’t like it.
Aunt Bea doesn’t want to sell the pie, for some reason. She doesn’t want a bakery or a franchise or a billboard along the framework of my freeways.
My alarms go off. With a skill like that, she could have almost anything, almost anything, but she wants nothing.
… she’s an anarchist probably.
It’s a page and a plot twist away from a different story, an absolute horror.
First, she sets the pie on the table with a smile.
By chapter 10, it’s Aunt Bea with a pipe in the same library, feeding her adrenal glands with the heavy rush of murder most foul. As she washes the pipe, she won’t feel the throbbing of her apathy for a minute. She’s full now, but she’ll be hungry later.
The persons at her table were hungry for absolution, for atonement, for forgiveness. It’s a country mind problem. You can’t find that stuff in the city, it’s part of a handful of things no one delivers. It’s easier to find a manicurist that dips your worn-out toes in absinthe and sugar cubes.
But in the country, they grow redemption fresh.
That’s how Aunt Bea made the pie.
You could complete the story different. The library isn’t official here. It’s just a place for angst-ridden ideas to dress up and pretend they’re facts. An acorn can be a walnut, an armadillo can play an aardvark, a milkman could be smuggling drug money in his armpits. As long as it’s labeled correctly, you can sell an alternate fact ethically.
As long as he delivers the milk well, I say pay the man.
Pay him until we can replace him with a robot.
We could use a robot uprising. It doesn’t have to mean Armageddon– an abolition of the human spirit. A little shift of power only feels like an apocolypse when you’re an alligator in the swamp being drained, an antelope in the forest being burnt down. Robot leadership doesn’t necessitate human abbatoirs. Acceptance of ourselves a co-species doesn’t mean the devaluing of life. It could be the antitheses. It might give people a reason to be activists for humanity as a whole. It might help people find that little spark inside that shines affection for those of us with unmanufactured insides.
And in the meantime, things around this place would run a little smoother with a programmed agenda– a little bash bang, a little sytax.
It seems sometimes like everyone’s working an angle, might as well make sure they’re all a perfect 90 degrees.
Yes, the amelioration of humanity might be in the ablution of it.
Everything needs a good washing at some point.
Even the stars have showers.
Of course, they wash with fire.
I’m not advocating arson here, or astrology for that matter, or anything.
You have to explain that sort of stuff, in a city mind. Put a label on ideas so there’s no confusion, no lawsuits. You can’t abbreviate unless it’s become part of the embraced parlance of our times.
You can’t just put up a sign that says AAA. Is this the place for an Alcoholics Anonymous assessment? Is this the Anthropomorphic Abacuses Anonymous meeting? The audacity of such an unexplained sign is probably illegal but it’ll take even a well-versed attorney a minute to find the violated penal code. In the meantime, take your hand slap and do something to save yourself.
If something you’ve created might cause a lawsuit to be rendered against you, just label it art.
You might still lose, but no artist stands alone.
There’s nothing we fear more than the loss of creative expression.
Sure, we throw around buzzword worries like the underfunding of autism research, the snuffing of ableism, the dying of altruism, the possibility of a supervirus hidden in the signal waves of the internet, the possibility of a superspy stealing the signal waves of our private conversations…
but all that flies out the window as soon as we think we may have stopped progressing.
Progress is everything; art is our vehicle forward.
It is the life force of our civilization, the binding strength of the blood that runs through us, and there’s nothing that worries us more than becoming an anemic generation.
We’d rather bleed out than stop moving till we atrophy.
It’s why fashion and music change, even when they don’t need to.
It’s why we keep coming up with new ways to cook an artichoke.
It’s why we’re so worried about the robots.
We need to feel as though only humans can do what humans have done.
We stare in fear-drenched awe at the holy greens and piercing azures and accidental ambers of Aurora Borealis, and wonder what human being is up there replacing the light bulbs.
It’s why we become aerialists, climbing into the deathtraps of our airplanes to fly straight into the abyss of the sky’s own glowsick party.
Aeronautics is funded to answer the big questions in the exact way we want.
Only humans create,
thus everything else is a byproduct of us.
Only humans create,
but then how were we created?
Is there a woman up there, counting each life like a wooden bead on a forgotten abacus? Will she even be able to tell the difference between us and our robot overlords? Is there a difference?
Will Anubis open the doors to an afterlife to our vacuums?
Has he always?
Is that where black holes come from?
It’s enough to make you an atheist, if you buy into the apocrypha.
It’s enough to make you a believer.
Sometimes there’s such a thing as too much information, too much thought, too much traffic in the freeway of our minds. Maybe we aren’t as adroit as we think we are. Maybe we don’t need that sign that this– that everything– causes cancer. Maybe we don’t need to know that there’s arsenic in our bananas and avocados, in our elevators and our children’s nails.
Maybe we just need some peaceful sleep– free of anxiety, free of the assholes that sell it.
Stress is so commonplace it’s become part of the aromatic stench of humanity.
Even the robots can smell us, I’m sure, but they are ambivalent in the face of our worries,
caring only that we carry each other
and carry on.
There’s progress to be made,
and simply no time for mice or minds.
I’m doing the A to Z Challenge again this year. Eek! I’ll see you Monday with the letter B. If you’re one of my Facebook friends who helped pick words for this, thank you– it was a fun challenge!
Are you doing A to Z?