As I discussed gendered nouns in other languages with someone today, he questioned why all inanimate objects could not just be neutral, which would be logically correct.
Then it occurred to me that a book is neutral in German. How could that be?! They had three genders to choose from, and they assigned the male gender to a spoon, but neutral to books, as if spoons could ever have more personality than books? It's much better in Polish where the book is female. That makes more sense, especially in those olden days when books were hand copied with phallic-shaped pens or feathers, squirting semen-like ink onto the pages, as medieval monks made love to their books.
The world is changing. It all started with mindfulness becoming more popular. People started meditating, practicing yoga and tai chi, lucid dreaming. And as a side effect they started to notice the glitches in reality.
Parallel to that were the developments in technology. First the Internet and WiFi and virtual reality goggles, then the chips inserted in their brains to allow virtual reality without googles and WiFi without routers.
It took them a while to notice the Amish in virtual reality. Everyone knew the Amish did not have chips nor VR goggles, and yet there they were taking care of their virtual horses. How did they get there? Oh, through mindfulness, paying enough attention, finding the crack in reality, and slipping through it into VR.
It was not long after that that Benjamin Truce transported his virtual violin into reality. And because that was so easy he continued practicing it until he found that he could actually move mountains. Both virtual and real ones in and out of reality. Religious movements immediately sprung up declaring that he must be either the second coming of Christ or the Anti-Christ. In vain Benjamin protested that he was not Christ at all, since he was Jewish not Christian. In response to which his followers reassured him that so had the first Christ, and they didn't hold that against him. Benjamin decided he had enough of them, and escaped through a hole in reality.
He had not checked the destination though, and what he entered was neither reality nor virtual reality.
I knew my enemy better than anyone else. I had no choice. No telling what she might do otherwise. We might be driving, and I would see her eyeing that tree, and I could tell she was wondering what would happen if she crashed into it accidentally on purpose, but she could see that I could tell, and therefore wouldn't dare.
Other times I knew she was tempted to just keep driving, going anywhere but our designated destination, just keep on going and never coming back. The main problem with that brilliant plan of course was that I was right there in the car with her, so she could not escape me that way. I marveled, how such an intelligent woman could be so stupid. Work. We were going to work.
Once she threatened to slash my wrists. You do that and your kids are going to get hurt. You understand? Do you understand?! I repeated. Comprehension dawned in her eyes. Fear. Good, she should be afraid. Mutually assured destruction. Not worth it. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least logic could still get through to her.
At work we discussed our complete lack of options. Every choice was a bad one. And it was not going to get any better. That's the crap we had to work with in a nutshell.
Next day she refused to go in. Claimed she was too tired, needed a day of rest, staying in bed. She was always too tired, and always talking about it. I was tired of hearing the same old bull, so I gave in. One day, no more. She demanded solitary confinement in her bedroom. Should have known better. I couldn't allow that. There was no telling what she would do. So we lay there on the bed. I started reminding her of all the mistakes she had made yesterday, all the mistakes she had ever made. As a perfectionist, why shouldn't everyone else hold her by the same high standards? How someone that imperfect could be a perfectionist though, I would never understand.
She said she wanted to nap, and would I shut up already. Language. Don't talk to me like that! How do you ever expect me to treat you better if you disrespect me like that? She didn't have a satisfactory answer for that. She never did.
Fine. No rest then. Might as well get up. Go to the bathroom. The hairs that mattered had turned grey. I looked at my enemy in the mirror. And I did not like who I saw at all. That's when I realized I had to change.
Shelby did not need to even look up from her book when the phone rang, "Dad, it's for you. Tom Dryer to gush about his new boat." She wondered for the nth time whether her dad was so oblivious that he did not realize that she just gave him information she should not have known, that it was more comfortable to pretend that all was normal in his little world. Or was he well aware, and chose to not rock the boat, to not upset his fragile wife further.
Her mother, who cringed whenever she heard Shelby do this, and yet at times caught herself in the last moment on her way toward a phone that had not rung yet. Her mother, for whom doors opened without being touched if she was preoccupied enough not to pay attention to what she wanted.
They had never discussed it. Shelby wondered whether dad or mom would be the better choice to approach first. No, both were the wrong choice for different reasons. He wouldn't know, she clearly didn't want to know.
Putting down her book, Shelby passed her dad just as he was discussing weekend plans to meet Tom at the lake this weekend with some fishing rods, and stepped outside onto the back porch. Feeling the breeze on her forearms, Shelby wondered yet again why she was different, and how. Was she just plain crazy? She had heard her dad's side of the conversation that so clearly matched what she had told him, but what if she was imagining it all including the conversation and the ringing phone?
They said insanity ran in her mother's family. A grant aunt was supposedly still locked up in a mental hospital, if she was still alive. Shelby was sure no one would find it worth mentioning if she just died, just relieved she was gone, the old bat. But what if her greataunt was not mental after all, what if none of them were? What would that mean? And how could she find out?
With a sigh Shelby returned inside, noticed the room was empty now, and the book she had been reading continued to lie on the couch. Almost absent-mindedly she tossed the book toward the bookshelf, where it filed itself in the empty slot between the other two books in the series.
When I was a child, I knew I could fly, and so I did because it was fun. "Don't!" I was told. "You are supposed to be a person, so act like one. People don't fly. People walk." Walking was hard, especially when I got all excited, keeping my feet firmly on the ground was a challenge. Conversely, at times the gravity of the situation weighed me down so much, I could not walk, too tired to expand the gigantic effort it took to lift my feet off the ground. Most people did not have this problem, I understood.
So I started observing other people closely constantly. What I observed though was that none of the others really observed people. In fact, I was told not to do that either, even more adamantly than against the flying, observing creeped people out.
"But if no one is observing, why can't I fly or at least float? Maybe no one will notice?" I was assured that they would notice. They never noticed anyone when they were doing ordinary things, and all was well. But if anyone did something extraordinary, it would have to be noticed, and disapproved, presumably in part at least because it forced ordinary people to stop and observe someone.
"Do people not want to be noticed?" I enquired. "Oh, quite the contrary: they all desperately want to be noticed, and most never are. But they don't like to be observed."
So I had to learn to have the proper perspective on gravity without observing people. I did it by studying up about it in books. Before long I found myself buried in high level physics research books with my nose in the book all the time. I panicked when I realized that no one else around me was doing that either. Expecting the worst, I was instead reassured that being a nerd was perfectly fine: yes, it was not ordinary, but it was easy for people to dismiss, especially since they had this handy four letter word to dismiss it with.
Reading was fun but I felt the need to create, to pour out my soul and mold it into a new shape. Not allowed. I guess people didn't do that either. The closest thing to it I was allowed to do was write. So here I am, writing, while wishing I could fly.
Separate names with a comma.