Despite her slight frame, good looks, and the countless invitations she received every day of every week to do things with “friends” on the weekends, or to go out with boys who might - in a better universe - be charming men with more interesting vocabularies and ideally some intriguing thoughts - maybe something more than “You’re beautiful” and “Let’s see a movie sometime”, but alas - Jen found herself, as she did every Saturday, at the gas station mini-mart a few miles from her apartment.
In her mind, she was waiting for a wormhole to open up. She imagined a shimmering blue spark expanding right in front of her, begging her to come in and step through space and time into another dimension, to a parallel Earth, perhaps. She’d show up and see people she recognized behaving in new ways and then she’d find her parallel self and kill the prissy little bitch (because she’d probably be one) and she’d have adventures within her new life because “I hate this goddamn place. It’s too fucking hot.” She lit up a cigarette. In her mind she was waiting for a dimensional rift. In reality she was waiting for Elle, who’d be late. Again.
“You’re late,” Jen exhaled smoke and pushed her sunglasses up on her face. Her nose was a bit small. Glasses didn’t like to stay perched up on it.
“Again. I know. Sorry,” Elle was stepping out of her car. She snatched the cigarette out of Jen’s mouth without pausing on her way in to the convenience store. “It’s bad for your teeth, it’s bad for your lungs, and it’s bad for your heart,” and Jen’s heart was a problem.
Jen didn’t even turn to snap at Elle. “Bitch what did I say about doing that?”
“You said you’d kill me, beat me, stab me. A thousand things a thousand times. You don’t have the lady-balls.” Elle was in the store before Jen had a chance to shoot her the look of death. It wouldn’t have been effective anyhow since Jen’s shades almost fell off her face again.
Within the air-conditioned mini-mart, Elle was staring intently at a shelf of potato chips. So many different chips. Too many, an argument could be made. Canned, bagged, classic, barbecue, cheesy. “Who in their right mind eats pickle flavored chips?”
“I hate you.” Jen had found Elle and was now standing behind her, lips pursed. Her cheeks always sunk a little when she did that which made her look intimidating and a sort of silly way.
“You love me, hooker.” Elle was still contemplating chips.
“I want my cigarette back.”
“Well you can’t have it. It’s dead. Gone forever.”
“I hate you.”
Jen looked over Elle’s shoulder and began examining the snacks with her. “An infinite number of choices…” she muttered.
Elle looked back over her shoulder at her friend in confusion. “What? No.” She looked back at the chips. There were a hundred bags, tops. “There is a very finite number of choices here.”
“Not in all this space,” Jen raised her eyebrows in defense. “Not in all the infinite amount of space in our universe. And then there’s the infinite number of universes in the multiverse to consider. Probable if not completely mathematically guaranteed duplicates of us…infinite variations of this scenario…”
“And that’s not even considering the parallel dimensions that exist in and around our immediate environments…”
“It’s literally just chips…”
“But it isn’t! In one reality we’re debating if we’re getting sushi or pizza! In another you’re black and I’m a man!”
Elle pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration. “Why can’t you just be content with being pretty?”
“Because my dad bought me a telescope instead of barbies for my fifth birthday.”
“No,” Elle warned her. “You always do this. You think too much and over-complicate simple things. Just look at what’s available in front of you and make a decision. Don’t think too much. Just pick what’s gonna satisfy you most.”
“Choice is like potential energy, just sitting there waiting for something to happen. Infinite possibilities until a choice is made. Then there’s no going back. What happens happens and will not nor could it have happened any other way…”
Elle grabbed a bag of the ruffled pickle flavored chips. “There,” she waved the bag in front of Jen’s face defiantly. “What were the odds I was gonna pick those? I HATE pickles.”
Jen sighed and bit her lip. “Existence is chaos.”
“You’re impossible. How do you get laid?”
Jen smiled. “Boys like girls who can kick their asses and Dungeons and Dragons.”
After buying their items, the females found themselves standing outside of the store once more. Jen was putting her sunglasses back on. She squinted into the sun and said “Still, though. It’s a comforting thought.”
Elle was opening her bag of snacks, admiring the nutritional facts. “I know. Only three hundred calories.”
“No, you fat-ass.”
“I mean the infinity of it all. It’s comforting.”
“How’s that? Doesn’t it make you just feel small and insignificant and shit?”
After a little too long, Jen looked away from the sun. “Not really. I guess it just means that out there in all that space, somewhere… I’m having a good time.” She pulled her phone from her pocket and fiddled with it a bit.
“Mmm,” Elle’s eyes went wide to push back the depressing implications of her friend’s words. “Yeah. Who ya texting, slut? Somebody sexy?”
Jen was passive. “Idunno. He’s still talking to me.”
“He? Who’s… OH HIM. Yeah? How’s he doing?”
“Persistent fucker…” Jen muttered to herself.
“Maybe. But he’s attractive. And charming. And really into you.”
“And needy.” She was clearly responding to one of his messages.
“Or attentive. You always do this.”
Jen finished responding just in time to put her phone away and push her shades back up on her nose before they fell again. Then she reached into her purse, pulled out a cigarette and began to light it, but before she could get a spark off the flint, the cigarette was snatched from her lips and smashed under Elle’s foot. Jen groaned.
“Oh groan away you existential bitch. I’m trying to save your life, here.”
Maybe somewhere on the other end of a black hole or in another universe or another dimension the events that sculpted who she and everyone around her was were different. Maybe she wasn’t confused or anxious. Maybe she was vegetarian. Maybe she was a champion body builder or a professional video game designer. Maybe she was a cop or an assassin who killed bad men who really deserved it, or maybe she didn’t even exist at all on some other Earths.
“Yeah, yeah,” she shook her head and smirked. “Shut up and give me a chip.”
Jen’s heart was a problem.
it really is just that. an illusion.
disclaimer: this is not a scientific rant, nor a rant on theology. it is a logical rant; at least logical when we assume that i think logically.
i don’t usually think logically when living day to day.
the big bang and/or god happened and the universe snapped into existence and because of the immense amount of energy released during this event, a bunch of sciency shit happened and caused all un/known elements to form. more cause/effect sciency shit happened and caused shit to bunch together and form celestial bodies such as stars and planets.
can we accept this as common knowledge?
let’s assume we can.
as soon as the big bang happened or as soon as god snapped his fingers, cause and effect was always going to dictate where/when/how these events were going to happen. there was no randomness with when/where/how elements/stars/planets formed. all of those things were decided by the force and/or energy and/or radiation expelled by the initial event. i’m positive there’s an equation for this shit, but i don’t know what it is, and i suck at math, so let’s just assume this is all relatively accurate…
now, where these planets/stars/elements were formed would continue to dictate how everything else developed.
…i think you can start to grasp what i’m getting at here…
there’s been a mathematical predetermination to everything since the exact moment of the beginning. mathematical in the crudest and/or most intricate way. it dictated everything and continues to do so.
creation, evolution, and our day to day actions.
since before any of us were born, biological organisms reacted to their environments and made “decisions” accordingly. the environment is/was dictated by the development of the planet, and then we guide ourselves back to the dawn of creation and move forward again to attempt to understand how every single movement in the universe was predetermined.
cut to the chase…
the same way the simplest of life form reacts to its environment in an observably scientific way, so do we re/act. i was always going to write this rant (explaining my thoughts either adequately or inadequately, depending on the reader). you were always going to read this and react however it is you are reacting. and you can’t disprove that because your thoughts and actions prior to this exact moment are immovable. you can think and calculate and attempt to challenge this concept i am presenting you with, but all of your past experiences and the past experience which led to those (and so on and so forth…or back, if you will) are already dictating exactly how you will think and react to this. your decision is already made, your reaction already planned out.
after reading this you can think/say “bullshit. i can decide whatever i want to do. i can choose to just sit here and do nothing for ever.”
and you would have done so because you have read this. to prove a point about “choice.” cause and effect. everything would have led up to that “decision” and you would carry it out just as you always would have.
…conversely, you could go around deliberately choosing to do many things (apposed to sitting and doing nothing), but the causality is the same. you could choose to click away from this page before finishing this sentence, but that would be due to any number of causes leading to your reaction, which you would inevitably carry out.
this doesn’t mean none of us are responsible for our actions. we are conscious beings and act accordingly. don’t go out and kill someone and claim you never had a choice because you were always bound to do it. granted…you were always bound to do it if you do in fact do it… but don’t. your past should have some information in it about how killing people is bad, and the direct effect of that action would be your imprisonment and/or death/injury.
it’s all a very isolating concept, but that doesn’t make it any less true/logical. but if it will make you feel better, brush these ideas away and say “fuck that. i choose my own destiny.” ignorance is bliss, and…shit…you were always bound to react that way to this rant anyhow.
everything you have thought, said, and/or done was always going to happen and cannot be changed. anything that is to come can already said to have been, since the universe already knows what’s in store for it.
it knew from the very beginning.