Wednesday, September 9, 2015

On Fantasy vs. Reality (or Why Life Can Be Easier If You’re a Nerd.)

It has been said (by Terry Pratchett if you need the source and I am paraphrasing) that humans need fantasy.  To believe the little lies about the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus as children is an exercise in believing the bigger lies like love, truth, justice, what have you.  (Whether they are actually lies or is not the purpose of this essay – it’s just what the man said.)

I posit that fantasy has a bigger purpose.  It’s a more exciting way of telling ourselves “Don’t be stupid.” And “It’s going to be okay”. 

For instance, on the side of “Don’t be stupid”, a brain that knows that drop dead gorgeous girl in the bar who a) is talking to you and b) lets you buy her a drink AND c) has asked to go home with you is less likely to say “don’t be stupid” if it hasn't already encountered all those things in a story about a gullible young lad who had his plumbing ripped off by a creature with teeth in HER plumbing.   In reality, the girl who does all the things listed above will more than likely NOT rip your plumbing off with the teeth in her plumbing, but you can bet that she’s up to no good and you should avoid that situation at all costs.  In reality, you’ll probably just get a good kick in the plumbing but she’ll have divested you of your phone, your wallet, and your dignity before you can hail a cab. 

A young lady on her way to grandmother’s house in the deep dark wood will travel obliviously until reaches her grandmother’s cottage and finding it in disarray will question the perp who is currently lying in Granny’s bed until he gets bored enough to accost her.  A young lady who has already heard this story will more than likely not travel alone, and if she does will have more than bread and jam in her basket.  

See where I am going with this?

That lonely cabin in the woods where all your friends will stay for the last weekend before college LOOKS like it should have an escaped murderer lurking in the forest.  It just does.  And because you’ve heard stories where it does, you will a double lock the doors, thereby preventing a rogue raccoon or mischievous baby bear cub from surprising you at 5 a.m while it ransacks the kitchen.  Your results may vary in regard to the escaped murderer, but you can’t say you haven’t been warned.

You will not go into vacant buildings where there is the possibility of falling through a floor or encountering a drug-crazed homeless person because…weeping angels, Vampires, demons, floors that absorb your living essence, and escaped murderer who is in reality a vampire or a demon. Right?

It’s one thing for your Mom to say “Stay away from that gutter or you’ll drown.”  It’s another thing for your brain to tell you “Stay away from that gutter or you’ll be pulled in by a clown, never to be seen again.”  

It’s not all bad, mind you.  The practical brain will look at the empty wallet and say, ‘this is the end of the money” and despair- perhaps to the point of making an irrevocable decision.   A brain with the fantasy coping mechanism will say something more along the lines of “the wallet is empty now, but my break will happen any minute.  I will be called to Hollywood to be the next …” and we make it through another day. 

A kid who has already vicariously seen the inside of Hogwarts or the cupboard at the Dursley’s house might already know that what’s happening RIGHT NOW (ie a school bully, a brother who’s a prat, a mom who’s sick or worse, a Dad who’s not around) is not the end of the story.  Harry Potter didn’t stay in the cupboard forever, and while he didn’t have it AT ALL easy, Harry survived.  And so will he. 

It’s easier to bear the unkindnesses of life if you have an arsenal of magic words – sometimes they work. 

I’m simplifying here, because I completely understand that some circumstances are 100% reality and no amount of wishing, hoping, or praying will change them.  That’s when the brain with a fantasy coping mechanism will seek the safe place for a while.  Just to get a break from the 100% reality for a little while, which is a help in and of itself.

I know that even all the life lessons of Grimm’s Fairy Tales will not prevent that out-of-the-blue random awful thing that happens sometimes.   It can help, however, to know that this 100% reality thing that happened – if you survived it- IS NOT THE END.

You are still alive.  You are still alive and still writing your story until Death comes to collect you and gently usher you on to the place that YOU think you should go when you die.  Unless your death is a direct result of not listening to the stories that warn “Don’t be stupid.”  Then you can probably expect some sarcasm.

© 2015 Alia Smith

Feel free to share and share alike, but if I see this on Huffington’s without some cash and my name on it, you can bet I’ll be sending the Orcs for your children. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

This ain't one body's story, it's the story of us all...

"This ain't one body's story.
It's the story of us all.
We got it mouth-to-mouth.
You got to listen it and 'member.
'Cause what you hears today
You got to tell the birthed tomorrow"

Mad Max-Beyond Thunderdome

Because the media outlets chose to spend more time covering the alleged suicide attempt of Paris Jackson today, they completely missed the fact that this is the 69th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. I won't harp on the fact that dirt dishing public prefers to know everything there is to know about a troubled young lady because of who her father was, and most are likely unaware of the fact that their neighbor's daughter might be experiencing the same pain and could use a little empathy (okay, maybe just a little harping...). I will suggest you that  you should turn your ear away from the talking heads and toward that that really old guy in your neighborhood. 

You know him. Maybe you know his name. He's the one who sits on his porch and appears to just be watching the world go by because he is.  It's a world he helped to preserve, for better or worse. Strike up a conversation, ask about his service, and listen to what he has to say because he may have participated and perhaps even been wounded in this allied invasion 69 years ago.
Oh, I remember how it was with my Grandmother, (who was both a WAAC and a WAVE, btw. It wasn't all about the boys.) She would start of with "Well...." and we all knew that we were in for the long haul. Listening to this man for a while may feel like longest hour of your life because he had a post in Fort Dix, counting bed pans and packing cotton balls for the duration of the war. Listen anyway. He still supported those in harm's way, however seemingly insignificant the task. He may have typed up forms or filed paperwork for three years. Those forms and files made it possible for servicemen to get paid, those bedpans to be ordered, or perhaps drew up the proper documents for the remains of someone's family member to be sent home to them. I can't imagine that would have been an easy job.  Or, as a friend of mine did during the Viet Nam war, it was his task to blow taps over the returning caskets. That can't have been easy, either.
Mr. Neighbor probably didn't make the decisions. He may not have even chosen to serve, only responded to a draft notice. But he did. He served, he experienced, and he came home. Unfortunately, the lucky ones who came home are passing away in a world where, as I said, society seems more focused on the famous child of a famous man. The thing is, it's possible that he and his fellow soldiers, sailors, and airmen helped to preserve a France which still has a Paris to name that famous child and many more famous and ordinary children after.

No one can tell the stories if we don't know them.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

To The Class of 2013...

It’s graduation season again and videos of commencement speeches are making the rounds on various news stations and social networking sites.  As with all speeches subject to public scrutiny, some will be controversial, others humorous but for the most part…they’ll be forgettable.   I’m sorry.  That’s the nature of commencement speeches, I’m afraid, unless it’s delivered by someone super famous.

Even twenty years after graduation, we will remember our prom date’s name, we will remember who we marched next to on the way into the auditorium or athletic field, we might even remember whether or not the principal correctly pronounced our middle name, but I would wager that a large percentage of graduates will not remember who gave their commencement speech, let alone what was said.

It’s a disappointing situation, I can imagine, to be standing in front of a sea of faces, with your well-drafted and practiced speech laid on the podium, knowing that all they really want to hear is “Class Dismissed”.  All the words meant to inspire and encourage from all the speeches at all the high schools and colleges across the country will be as so much spit in the wind.

*sigh*  Still, what if I, though not super famous, was asked to speak at the commencement of my alma mater? 
Just for the sake of personal entertainment, I thought about what a speech written by me and intended for the current graduating class of my high school would sound like.  Knowing that they wouldn’t have a clue who I am – only that I graduated, “like..a hundred years ago and I’m not even famous or rich or anything.” 

To the Graduating Class of South Portland High School- 2013

Twenty-three years ago, I was in those seats, watching someone I did not know trying to tell me about what’s important and what I should do to make sure my future was as bright as it could be. I don’t remember who was standing where I am today, to be honest so I won’t blame you at all if you don’t remember who I am once you walk out those doors with your diplomas, let alone in 23 years, but here goes.

First,  I don’t have any advice.  I’m not you so I would not even begin to tell you what to do with your life.   I can tell you, however, what’s going to happen.

Up until this point in your lives, it’s all about being right.  The right class to take.  The right answers for tests. The right college to apply to.  The right dress to wear to prom.    From this point forward you’re going to be wrong about some things and some of you, I hope, will be wrong about EVERYTHING because it's going to be better than you can imagine right now.

Some of you will be wrong about the major you chose or the college you attend.  Some will be wrong about the branch of military you signed up for and some will be wrong about whether or not to join the family business.  

Most of you will give your heart to the wrong person or for the wrong reasons at least once.  Some of you will marry that person before you figure that out.  I'm sorry.   Some of you will be wrong about whom to borrow from or lend money to.  You will be wrong about which job to take, which apartment to rent, which house to buy, which car to lease, and which vacation to go on. 

Every one of you will be wrong about someone you thought the worst of.  Every one of you will be wrong about someone you placed great faith in.   You’re going to be wrong in your definition of “cool” or whatever you kids will be calling “cool” in twenty years. 

You will on occasion, say the wrong thing. 

Some of you will be wrong about the way your children turn out, for better or worse.

You will be wrong about what technology will be capable of.  Remember, when I was in your chair, internal hard drives had not been invented yet, and mobile phones came in bags the size of a lady’s handbag.   You’d have to wait a week to get your graduation pictures to find out Dad had his thumb over the lens in every one.  Now you can take a picture and see if worked out, instantly.  We could have never predicted that in 1990 or the fact that those photos can be shared with the whole family before you make it home tonight.

In addition to technology, you will be wrong about what you’re capable of.  You’re much stronger than you think you are because by the time you get to be where I am right now, you will have survived all the things you were wrong about and made a life for yourself despite it all

So, don’t ever be afraid of being wrong.  Being wrong a few times makes you flexible. Being wrong makes you able to think on your feet.  Being okay making mistakes means that you’re comfortable admitting it and comfortable apologizing if that’s what’s called for.  Sometimes you’ll be wrong about apologizing.  It happens.  

The people around you right now that you swear you’ll be friends with forever… Most of you are  wrong about that, but by the same token, you’ll be wrong about the ones you think you could never be friends with. 

Tragically, some of you will be wrong about how much to drink, who to get into a vehicle with, or whether or not something or someone is safe. Please prove me wrong on this one. I'd really like that.

That said, take a look around you.   Savor this moment.  For a few more days, be right.  Celebrate safely and thank everyone for supporting you.  Once the glitter of this moment wears off...that's when you can take a deep breath, go forth, and be wrong.

They're your mistakes to make.  Make the most of them. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

By any other name...

   Society has recently come to the conclusion that labels are bad.  There are those who pitch their tent firmly in the  “Don’t Label ANYONE for ANYTHING" Camp and I can see why someone would want to be accepted by society without any preconceived notions as to what they are all about.  Labels can be cruel, derogatory, and just plain untrue so I try not to call someone by a label they have not previously self-applied and probably not without asking permission first.

       "Is it true that you're a barefooter?"  That first gives them the option to correct me, "No, actually, I'm a protopedalist" and to educate me as to the difference.  Second, it offers the chance to check their "proud meter" on it. "Yes!  I am a barefooter!"  or "Yeah, I sometimes go barefoot." 

          To casually say someone is a Foodie, for instance, is fairly innocent most of the time.  By definition it bespeaks a love of food, its ingredients, and methods of preparation.  In the wrong environment, "foodie" might mean "food snob" or "restaurant elitist" and while that might be true, it's wrong to assume that of a person who may just be someone who finds food interesting and entertaining. They'd like to invent the next best burger, sure, but they're not above the occasional Big Mac. 

          Personally, I know that I am a complex being and rather mercurial, so I find that labels are helpful for others.  Like the proverbial "Do Not Immerse In Water" tag that can be found on most small appliances, its useful for people to know things about me from the outset, therefore, I have no difficulty labeling myself.  

I have no problem telling people that I am a Crocheter, a Shelf-Dust Gourmet, A Marathoner, an Anglophile, A Whovian, A Brown Coat, a Dog Parent, and an Auralibrophile (that’s a word I made up for "audio book lover" so don’t use it like it’s real.  Unless you like it.  If you like it, share it often and it will become a real word by virtue of common usage.)  In short, I call myself all sorts of things on a fairly regular basis.

       There is one label I would very much like to apply to myself but for some reason I have great difficulty doing so.  Writer.

        Clearly, I write. Quite often, actually.  I have two complete novels on the hard drive of a defunct computer and two more at different stages of completion.  I have several poems and essays in notebooks and on this blog.  I write. I do.  But for some reason, I cannot call myself a writer.   It feels...arrogant and awkward.

        Just the other day, for example, in talking with some neighbors while they walked their cat on the front lawn of our apartment complex, the conversation turned to the hawk circling above and the possible threat it posed to the cat. The thread of conversation turned to stories of small dogs being carried off on the pinions of eagles and an example they knew of personally where a friend's dog had been snatched and then dropped by a red-tailed hawk.  "And that's the last time the chihuahua went kayaking." said the husband (who is also a Whovian, a toe-shoe wearer, and a martial artist, besides).

         I repeated his words with weighted reverence and grinned before saying "I'm going to use that one day" and then, rather inanely "I'm a writer."  Though they expressed polite interest and remarked that they were looking forward to seeing what I would do with the kayaking chihuahua, inwardly, I cringed.  My inner critic jumped up from her seat and ran down the aisle with a giant sign reading "POSER".  And then she turned it around to the other side where the word "FRAUD" was emblazoned in day-glo pink and yellow glitter. (I have a very creative and emphatic inner critic.)  

        I think I would rather make up my own label for what I do. Perhaps then it will settle a little more comfortably about my shoulders.

        To be a writer, you have to write, so sayeth the many.  But to have something to write about you have to be a noticer.   Have you ever thought about how difficult it would be to describe the flight of a fairy without having noticed the same action performed by a butterfly or a bumblebee?   How the susseration of leaves in the wind can also sound like the rushing of a storm-swollen river?   To notice, for instance, how your mother sees the fact that your fly is down but does not appear to be bothered by the three cupboard doors hanging open? 

       You also have to be a thinker and I say so because it's hardly ever a good idea to write exactly what you notice without some thought as to how to present it.  That's what got you sent to your room as a kid, remember? 

       You must then become a shepherd to those thoughts. The things you noticed and thought about must be dressed by your imagination and nudged properly into line for inspection.  You also have to understand when there is no real word for what you want to express and you'll have to make one up.  I sometimes feel that's the case for many, if not all, onomatopoeia and it's my problem right now...what to call myself. 

      Stuff sayer? (everyone who can speak is one of those, so that's out.)  Imaginist? (ooh, sounds magical.)  Word-herder? (almost there.)

      I think I have it.  Expundiary Observationalist.   That'll work and at the very least, it will keep me from getting so tipsy at parties as to be unable to pronounce my own title.   

      Somehow, Obspundiary Expedutionalist just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 you want to know a secret?

Virtually every culture on this planet (and probably others) has a rich history of story telling.  Before the written word, story telling was the vehicle by which information was passed from generation to generation.  The recital of one’s own lineage and the remembrance of the great feats of ancestors is often a rite of passage and the telling of cautionary tales and the use of object lessons has a history older than we upright walkers can know. 

In western cultures, it’s a rare child who can make it to adulthood without having been read aloud to at one point or another, whether it be by a teacher, a parent, an older (or sometimes younger!) sibling, or caretaker.  It’s a common evening event that the word “again” is met with a sigh and the turning of pages back to the beginning rather than a refusal.   Don’t get me wrong, even the most patient of readers must gently close the book for the sake of a decent bedtime or a meal about to become char if not tended to. 

I, too, remember being read to fairly often.  One teacher had a penchant for the work of Roald Dahl, and in her honor I have a vintage copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on my shelf.  However, it seems that at the point I became a proficient reader and could take up the task for  myself, I came to find listening to someone else carrying the story along tiresome.  Suddenly, it was up to me how fast I could devour the story.  And devour them I did. 

However, to read a book means to be still and these days, I do not take to “still” well.  Even now, television watching for most means just that.  Television watching.  On a given evening, I usually have something going on with my hands and something going on in my head, which sometimes makes the television a mute bystander though in fact it does continue to chatter on. 

I just don’t have it in me to sit and read for very long.  I just don’t. There’s much else that needs to be done and I can’t do it reading a book.  So, I didn’t. Therefore, my knowledge and consumption of literature has suffered for a long time.  That is, until I discovered audio books.  

Suddenly, I could “read” and I didn’t have to sit still.  What. A. CONCEPT! 

I can walk ten miles.  I can do the dishes.  I can clean out the car, fold the laundry, dust the bookshelves, take a stroll with the dog,  crochet a doily, sew a button back on, upload and manage my photos, inventory my yarn, and vaccum out the dog’s crate…all while enjoying a classic or following the events on a new world.   

There are die hard paper and glue fans who believe that the only way to “read” is to read.  I have a couple of arguments to the contrary for them.

1)       Studies show that while you're reading comprehension continues to improve after you learn to read for yourself, your listening comprehension falls off.  Listening to audio books can bridge the gap even into adulthood. It also helps you build vocabulary to hear an unfamiliar word pronounced and used in context at the same time.   
2)       It is just as rich an experience, perhaps richer. Let me tell you why.  When reading, it is natural to skip over descriptive and narrative portions of a book that do not interest you in favor of the more meaty stuff.  With an audio book, you are a captive audience to every word the author wrote so you’re hearing it exactly as the author intended the material to be presented.  Nothing is lost.  No parts are skipped.  If you’re REALLY lucky, you can find an audio book which is read by the author, an experience I have never found disappointing.   

Audio books are also green.  This is a downloadable world we live in which means that no plastic was used to create a cassette or CD and no paper used in the packaging for the audio books and no paper used to print the book.    (And you can still enjoy jacket art in most cases.) 

Think about this above all.  No boxes of books sitting around. Remember when you moved last?   

Now, before you think that I am anti-paper and glue please know that I believe that there is room for every medium.  Book, tablet, audio book, it doesn’t matter as long as you are actively engaged. 

As long as you are hearing what the author has to say and enjoying the tale, it’s all good.   

It’s all storytelling, man’s finest tradition, and its how we can pass on to our children the stories our grandparents told to us, along with some new ones.  You will read, and I will listen and we will all know the tale if we keep sharing the story.


Monday, May 20, 2013

The Fan Who Knew Too Much.

Let’s continue with the pros and cons idea of being a Sci-Fantasy enthusiast that I touched upon in my previous post.   Before I do that, let me warn you that “thar be spoilers, here”. Also, I realize that there are some of you who eat, sleep, and breathe the Star Trek franchise and you will know things that I do not. So, as the Gospels preach the sufferance of heathens, do not persecute my ignorance for I have not heard The Word.

And I’m not sure I want to.  Which brings me to my point.

This weekend, my fellow crime-fighter and I caught the most recent Star Trek film – Into Darkness. (This is your chance to opt out of spoilers. I’m not going to tell you again) and I feel my history with Star Trek television and film is pretty good.

I've seen all the movies and, thanks to syndication, I have seen every first generation episode several times and most of the Next Generation episodes at least once.  I know the groundbreaking event that Kirk kissing Ohura was.  My stepbrother had the bridge playset with the cylinder you turned to replicate transporting.  (He only ever let me be that big-head alien, but that’s a story for a different day.)  Chekov was always my favorite, by the way.

In addition, I served in the Navy so I understand the terminology such as “forward” and “aft” and the reason why Sulu always repeated the course and speed orders.  That’s how it’s done.  (And in case you didn’t know, that little whistle prior to intercom communications in the original show hearkens back to the use of a whistle on waterborne vessels to communicate information.)

The question that I have for you eat/sleep/breathers is this:  How much information is too much?  At what point does all the knowledge and trivia you have interfere with the main purpose of these films and shows – the entertainment?

I saw myself crossing that line yesterday, during the movie.  The interpretation of earlier Khan doesn't mesh with the earlier tv and film Wrath of Khan character at all and I found that distracting.   He had a British accent, for one thing.  We all know Ricardo Mantalban was not a native English speaker. Shouldn't they have bridged that gap somehow in the writing?

And also, the cinematography included a vast number of close-ups and the lighting was such that most of what I noticed during those close ups was the color of each character’s eyes.  I found myself wondering such things as “Did DeForest Kelley have green eyes?”    

This is future Kirk and his crew!  There are things that continuity says that you have to answer for if you have fans who know so much.  You will have to provide for the fact that there are ticket holders who not only know the back story on each of the crew members, but they know the back story on every Enterprise there ever was, all the way back to wood.

They will have schematics of the engine room and production drawings for communicators.  They name their cat Gainan.  They have pajamas with every color of Star Fleet uniforms except red, because we all know what happens to the red shirts. They know what each uniform insignia stands for.  They know that in Episode 15, the hatch cover they remove is the same hatch cover they removed in Episode 6, but the compartment they gained entry to should have been on the starboard side, not the port.

The point is, in creating this franchise, they have made it impossible to please everyone and if they try, they run the risk of pleasing no one.  (Case in point, did Spock and Kirk really have to have that reverse scene where its Spock shouting Khan? Kirk would never have been able to withstand the kind of radiation to even have that scene.  The only reason Spock did in his was because he was only half-human, remember?)  Anyway, the film-makers have to have to walk a fine line between paying homage and over-cheesing for the fanboys and there will be absolutely no way to get it right.

So, without taking all day to examine the benefits and pitfalls of uber-fandom, I’ll say this.  I will never be the “dress up for the convention” sort of fan.  I will never be able to hold my own in intense discussions about the number of O-Clubs necessary on a vessel that large, and will never be proficient at identifying potential flaws in the wiring schema of the transporter console (the first series, not the movies or the Next Generation.)

In fact, for the sake of being in the moment, I will check my trivia at the door as much as possible and attempt to enjoy each of these interpretations of the story line as they are in the same way that I accept new Doctors as they come.  “Rejoice in the familiar, but do not despair the differences” will be my motto, moving forward, with the exception of one critical question.

How did Spock feel about Kirk kissing his ex-girlfriend?  That had to be awkward.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Could Be.

I have often said that I am relatively new to the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre.  Until approximately five years ago, my experience with such things consisted primarily of Star Trek in its various television and film incarnations, Harry Potter, and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  

So my exposure had been better than some, but not nearly in the realm of “fan girl” or someone for whom attending a sci-fi convention would have any value other than to serve my natural penchant for anthropological observation (otherwise known as people watching.)  I say anthropological because sci-fi and fantasy folks are indeed a subculture of our society with their own rituals and customs which make them worth study.  Several documentaries and books have already covered this however, so I won’t add my two cents about it here.  At least not right now. 

In the recent past, I have been indoctrinated somewhat and in doing so, have mentally visited such places as Discworld and Neverwhere.  I have taken journeys with seven of the eleven mad men with blue boxes (who are technically the same man…well..maybe man isn't the right word – eh, we can talk about that later) and I have gone back and forward in Earth time and in the times of several other worlds.   I have vicariously witnessed the births, deaths, weddings, and funerals of humans on other planets, and non-humans on mine.  Suffice it to say my horizons have expanded astronomically and infinitely.

Now, there are some who may answer the above with “Yay, you!  Let me tell you about…” and others with “Oh, dear God no.  You’re a nerd (geek, dork, etc.) now.”   I can see both arguments, because there are definite pros and cons to the concept that anything is possible and that the ordinary is actually extraordinary. 

I feel that the most important of these possibilities is the “could be”.   The idea that what you are currently observing is not to be taken at face value and could be something entirely different – something wonderful or, as is more often the case, something nefarious.   Let me give you some examples.

A dragonfly used to be just that.  A dragonfly.  Since my conversion, the observed dragonfly could also be a minute alien vessel, an extraterrestrial being sent to observe our planetary stewardship, my spirit-guide, or the harbinger of larger, more difficult to dispatch insects which will cause the downfall of humankind. 

The ingredients of a box of cereal or well-loved snack food could be the vehicle by which a super secret society/major corporation comes to control humanity at large and makes us all into, oh…I don’t know…slaves for their island hide-out?  Or by some miracle of chemistry, when the genetically modified wheat gluten in the tortilla combines with the microwaves used in heating your burrito, those who eat it become telepathic.  Burrito eaters will now RULE THE WORLD!

The little old lady in front of you in the grocery line is not, in fact, feeding 50 cats.  She's a cat herself and only takes human form occasionally for trips to the grocery store and the mailbox.  Unfortunately, you're allergic to cats and you can't stop sneezing which annoys her to the point where she changes form and claws you to ribbons right there in the express lane.  You've suddenly become more than 15 items.  

Sure, that prickly feeling on the back of your neck could be the response of your limbic and neurological systems to a potential fight or flight situation.   It could also be the energy field of your great-great grandchildren who have used the new temporal television they got for the Generic Winter Holiday to watch great, great Grandpa check a fuse during a power outage – how quaint!   It could be a ghost.   It could be a cyber spider crawling up your neck, seeking entry into your ear canal for the purpose of studying human thought process.  Or the vehicle by which that super secret society/major corporation comes to control humanity at large and makes us all into island hideout slaves.

See what I mean?   

Before we get all creeped out and start conspiracy theorizing,   I will say that being the natural “glass half full” girl that I am, I tend to lean toward the positive “could be” scenarios.  That dragonfly is a fairy or great grandmother Daisy.  I think I’d like it to be Daisy.   The ingredients of the cereal or snack food will cause us all evolve into better mostly-humans.  Maybe burrito eaters SHOULD rule the world – wouldn't it make public flatulence more acceptable or at least less socially damning?  That prickly feeling is what precedes the oh-so-anticipated engine whine of the TARDIS and soon the Doctor is coming to take me to experience all of those births, weddings, and funerals for myself. (I really don’t care which Doctor, but if it could be one of the last three that would be good.  If it isn't, I’m not going to not go.  Who would do that?)

Until then, with all of these thoughts in my head, I shall live my ordinary life with the hope that the ordinary can, indeed, become extraordinary at any moment.  

Could be.