The Verizon Experiment
Dreamed 2014/3/31 by Wayan
I wake up achy and inflamed. I take catclaw, a powerful antibiotic herb. Get a bit queasy for a few minutes, but then I feel much better all morning. The stuff works--and that implies these flare-ups are an infection.
My sister Miriel calls. She has a migraine but not a bad one. Funny how often her attacks correlate with mine. No weirder than paired particles I guess.
Hard rain. In a lull, I bike to the Kabuki Theater to The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki's last film. Visually gorgeous (of course), but a sad story on the engineer who designed the Zero fighter, and his tubercular wife. Wrestles with the commercial and political compromises creators face. Jiro hates how the military co-opts his designs. The secret police go after him; his firm helps hide him.
Miyazaki argues that in war, the winners condemn the losers' war crimes but ignore their own. Civilians mustn't torture themselves for crimes done in their names. Builders build; exploiters exploit; destroyers destroy.
Theaters destroy, too. I stagger out with more pain and inflammation. An allergic reaction--ever since the Kabuki remodeled, staying inside long gives me a headache. Stupid to have risked it, when I was already sick. Wobble home. Sore the rest of the day. Hot-sour soup, herbs, aspirin...
In bed, aching, I read The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill. Siri Paiboun's the only coroner in 1975 Laos, with inadequate training, no supplies, no staff, and political plots around him. Despite his Marxist and medical background, Siri's vividly Lao, too--he sees spirits, feels obliged to help them find peace... by finding who and what killed them. Last of all he figures out how his wife died, and begins to heal--perhaps.
Impressive book--especially Siri's wild journey into Hmong country.
A strange girl comes to visit me. Slender, with a weird, fascinating face--I suspect she's a nature spirit of some kind.
She dropped by because she heard about one of my new art projects, one based on that news story of the Verizon Experiment--a woman who couldn't get funding for a physics experiment found a clever way to use her cellphone as a detector. She ran her test and got a rippling circular pattern showing twin timebranches interfering with one another. That's consistent with various models of a multiverse, from "all possible worlds happen" to a sparse-branching tree of time; but it definitely rules out a mere universe with a single fixed timeline.
First I tried plotting her results as a mere matrix of spot values, but found that useless--I need a pattern I can see. Next I tried a few Mercator-like maps of the possible models, and still got stuck--the shapes just made no instinctive sense. But at last I tried radial charting, and that captured the results pretty well--the possible models form a coherent, distinct shape in model-space--these possibilities, and not these. Striking as a Mandelbrot fractal (if less spiky). Part flower, part shell.
I paint and sculpt that shape, and will repeat until it's part of me. I NEED that map--in my shamanic dreaming, it'd help a lot to sense when I can intervene because time here readily forks, or when I'm in a flattish unforky stretch of time, where even massive effort won't change much. I can't recall physics formulas or higher math in my dreams, but a visual map? Maybe.
The spirit girl tells me her name. She's... the Verizon Experiment designer! Tracked me down and asked to visit my studio because she had trouble visualizing her model too, and heard on the web I might have a decent one.
I love showing her my work--after all it's basically a tribute to hers. It doesn't hurt that I find her adorable.
Some girls like flowers. But I think this one prefers a math-bouquet.
Now the spirit girl slips out and a skinny man comes in. A physicist! But to my surprise he hasn't even heard of the Verizon Experiment. I describe it, comparing the phone's pattern to interference patterns in crystallography and slit experiments showing auto-interference in wavicles.
He finds my explanation clear and convincing. Given my lack of physics background and how brief the news stories were, I'm pleased. Strokes my intellectual ego.
I consider admitting that I've already been leaning toward a sparsely branched multiverse because my own dream- and ESP-research suggested such a model; but I decide to keep that to myself. Too many bad experiences with scientists who haven't done dreamwork--who dismiss me as a superstitious woolbrain.
I try to show him my most recent drawing of the model, but I can't find it, just the penciled roughs; that's when I realize Spirit Girl probably swiped it!
Not that I need it now; so much of my recent art incorporates it. And she's sort of earned a copy.
Nor am I sure she won't return it. Don't jump to conclusions! She's talking downstairs right now--may have wanted a visual aid.
Now, in turn, the physicist fades out--the person I'm talking with is my friend Patagia the poet. But she isn't listening and barely talks--because she's busy making my bed and dusting my books! Moves and restacks them, looks at them critically. Finds two big sex magazines (which I don't recall buying!) and starts tsssking my "obvious" misogyny. I'm embarrassed at first then get angry. "You snooped through my stuff without permission; you don't get to judge. Why are you snooping anyway? No one asked you."
"Well, your room has to be decluttered to make room for the pads where the refugees will sleep." WHAT refugees?
Turns out Patagia's generously volunteered MY room as a haven for some war victims! My computer, piano and sewing/sculpture area will "just have to be squeezed into the back half, by your bed. After all, none of your art projects help the homeless."
No, they don't, do they? I snap "Are YOU hosting refugees, Patagia? In your biiiig empty house?" Her face tightens and she shuts up.
I guessed right. She values HER workspace, HER privacy, HER art!
Just not mine.
NOTES NEXT MORNING
Patagia doesn't invade. But Catshall, my OTHER poet/editor friend, calls--repeatedly. Two friends got evicted, she's putting them up for the night, they need temporary storage for their stuff, and Catshall hoped I could donate garage space. I agree reluctantly--it's already jammed full, and I find her friends irresponsible--I've been hearing about this eviction for months and they waited till the last minute.
The phone drama eats hours. Many calls later, the threat evaporates--Catshall works out how to accomodate them without me. But I sure felt pressured. Invaded.
AND THE NEXT, AND THE NEXT...
Catshall's friends stayed at her house not one night, as promised, but days and days... until she learned firsthand how it feels to be invaded by refugees.
Am I claiming dreams have intentions? Yes. Mine, at least. Yours? Well, if you reject the very possibility, you'll never really know.
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