Tag Archives: choices

A Remembered Past

A Pinecone and a Leaf,

Lay next to each other.

Knowing full well,

There would not be another.

 

With a chill in the air,

They remembered their past.

The warm summer breezes,

And evenings that last.

 

They danced on the wind,

And played in the rain.

They did it at first,

And then did it again.

 

Life is for living,

So, that’s just what they did.

From dusk and through dawn,

They played like a kid.

 

But time has its limits,

We know this is true.

They living will die,

To make room for the new.

 

A Pinecone and a Leaf,

Were unlikely friends.

May they be remembered,

For starting new trends.

 

 

 

The accompanying photograph was provided by Dan over at nofacilities.com. He and Maddie are most generous with the fruits of their walks. Thanks Dan!

 

WiFi is Free!

This story was written quite a few years ago.  It stems from my growing concerned about smart phones, smart cars and nondescript devices that sit on kitchen counters and listen.  We have machines making other machines and dancing robots. We have cars that know where we need to be and how to get there.  I don’t want my wheelchair to critique what I had for lunch and offer suggestions for my next book. They are learning to think. What happens when they no longer want to be tools. . .?

WiFi is Free!

Ben was paralyzed.  He couldn’t move, couldn’t react.  He watched in horror as his friend of 30 years was patted down, handcuffed and walked out of the bar in the company of four very official looking men.  Four, wait, there were five!

“You can say nothing about what you think you just heard.”

The warning was issued by a quiet, almost friendly voice. But as Ben raised his head to look at the speaker, a chill ran down his back. The man almost seemed to smile.  He reached out his hand and picked up the thumb drive that Stan had dropped on the table.  Snap, it was gone.

And with a slight tilt of his head, so was the fifth man. Ben inhaled deeply.  He felt as if he had been holding his breath for far too long.  He started to hear the regular sounds of the bar seeping back into his awareness. It felt as if time was reasserting itself and Ben was out of sorts. It had happened, here, with a room full of witness who had seen nothing.  They didn’t understand. He had to tell them.  But what Stan had said . . . Could it be true?

Ben reached for his laptop.  A good reporter never went anywhere without it. As he opened the screen and prepared to log on, Ben wondered . . . what if . . . He put his laptop away and reached for a pen and a pad of paper.  Old school it is.

The day had stared routinely. Check correspondence, do a little cleaning, a little writing and then down to the pub for lunch. Saturday was Ben’s day to unwind, read the paper, watch a little sports on the big screen. Everyone knew it.  So, he was surprised when Stan burst into his reverie.

“Ben, Thank God you’re here!  You have to help me!  People need to be warned!”  As he spoke, Stan threw himself into a chair across from Ben and dropped his head into his hands.  He looked as if he hadn’t slept in days.  He was obviously agitated and Ben got over being surprised enough to reach out to his friend.

“It’s okay, we’ll fix whatever is broken.  Just try to calm down and tell me what’s wrong.”

The man that raised his head looked haunted. He reached out his hand and dropped a thumb drive on the table.

“He figured it out.” He whispered, “Then he got proof.  He trusted me.”

Ben waited.  He knew his friend.  He knew he needed to tell his story in his time.  But Ben felt a gentle unquiet seep into his mind. This was not one of Stan’s pranks, he was scared, terrified.

Stan slowly looked around the room.  Only well-known regulars were in attendance.  He heaved a sigh.

“I don’t know how much time I have before they get here but you have to get the word out.  The WiFi is free.”

Ben chuckled, “Well, yeah!  That’s what we all wanted.  Free WiFi for everyone!”

Stan shook his head.  “Don’t you get it?  Don’t you understand?  They are listening!”

Ben lifted his glass of ale. “Okay, I’ll bite, who’s listening.”

“The computers.”

His glass stopped, mid-air.    “What computers?”

Stan sat back in his chair.

“Have you ever wondered how Police can get to a bank robbery so quickly when the silent alarm isn’t triggered?  Or how a traveller who jokes about a high-jacking can be so accurately pinpointed? How about those calls you get where no one speaks.  It’s the WiFi. It’s everywhere.  The computers are primed to react to certain word combination in certain areas.”

Ben heard the words but it was what was not spoken that had him concerned.  It wasn’t Big Brother watching, it was Big Computer listening!

Stan seemed to deflate.  “I have a computer hacker friend who figured it out awhile back. He collected all his data, his proof.  He wanted to take it to a reporter and I suggested you. He gave me a copy.”

Both men looked at the thumb drive.  “Where’s your friend?” Asked Ben.

Stan never raised his head.  “Dead.” He whispered.

An oppressive silence seemed to hang in the air.  Patrons laughed and ate and drank.  The big screen droned on about sports and the world continued to rotate. But something intangible had just happened and it was sobering.

Ben opened his mouth to ask a question when five large, official looking men appeared beside their table.  Stan started to speak as he tried to stand up but a very forceful hand stopped him. Ben started to protest until a badge was place in front of his eyes.  He tried to lean back to read it but it was snapped shut.

Ben was paralyzed.  He couldn’t move, couldn’t react.  He watched in horror as his friend of 30 years was patted down, handcuffed and walked out of the bar in the company of very official looking men.

The message was clear:

The WiFi is listening . . .

Conversations with Myself

I was washing my dishes the other day and trying to think of something to write about for my Sunday post. I was remembering conversations I have had with people, articles in the news I had seen or heard.  I even started listening closely to the construction banter outside my window.  It is annoying but necessary and the inconveniences experienced today mean that this small section of our lives will be better in the future.  Hmmm, Progressive Thought or Subversive Rhetoric?

As I was trolling through the flotsam and jetsam that meander through my mind it suddenly dawned on me:   I was talking to myself!  Not a conversation that one would have with a companion. Or maybe I am my own companion. Hum.  That does bear thinking about. I was not having a conversation like I would with a friend, a human or animal one. It wasn’t out loud. But when you make a decision aren’t you actually talking to yourself about whether or not to go right or left, up or down?

Don’t judge me but sometimes I think I split infinities with myself! This is what happens when I am left unattended. I turn inward and stroll through the corridors in my mind.  And I have over six decades of passageways in there with a whole lot of side tracks and cubby holes.  I am starting to sound like a Star Trek episode! But think about it . . . who are you trying to convince when you want that second piece of pie?  (Or the first one!)

I like my mind. Mostly. I can sometimes go off on a tangent or become so hyper-focussed that I see absolutely nothing around me. For example. I draw the little icons that you see on my Daily Quips and Shady Quips. Every year I draw new ones because I get bored. This year I spent hours hunched over my Paint Program deciding what I wanted to draw. I’m a couple of months early. I don’t need it until January but it had popped into my mind and I couldn’t let it go.

Having a good focus is always positive but a hyper-focus can be a little disconcerting. I will honestly say that I now have several choices and I like them all. So now I have to do the other thing I’m not always fond of doing: making a choice between two or three. But I have a couple of months to do that so there is no rush. I do like to be prepared.

And isn’t that what life is all about: preparing for it? We cannot plan for every eventuality but we can be aware of the possibility of the unforeseen.  Rather tantalizing don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

End Transmission

There are people who walk among us, special people.  They could be a neighbour, a stranger, a brother, a friend.  They could be white or black, yellow or beige. These people walk the streets of the city and the fields of the country. They are there in the right place, at the right time, to do the right thing.  You might call them Facilitators.

********************

Abigail was picking up the last few items on her list: bottled water, low fat cookies and of course tissues.  One should always have lots of tissues on a long trip. As she was paying for the few items in her basket, she spied a small, one shot, fire extinguisher.  Without thinking she added the cylinder to her pile.  Now she was ready.

Fire.  She could see the car just ahead.  A woman was standing beside the vehicle looking lost.  She wasn’t screaming or panicking, just quietly standing and staring.  Abigail pulled her car over and stopped.  Quickly she grabbed her newly purchased fire extinguisher and raced to the burning vehicle.  It didn’t take much to put out the fire, it was still quite small.  If the gas tank or the engine oil had caught fire . . .  Everything was under control.  The woman hadn’t moved the entire time.  She just stood and stared.  Thank all that is holy that Abigail had come by at just the right time. She wondered what it was that had made her pick up a fire extinguisher at the last moment. It wasn’t something she had ever had in her car before. It was exactly what she had needed today, but how had she known ahead of time?

 

David enjoyed his early morning drives.  It gave him time to decompress, to relax. There was no one pestering him, no one concerned about what he had to say, no responsibilities, no life and death decisions. He relished this time alone.

He chuckled. He was also a creature of habit so everyone knew where he would be at any given moment. Even on his well known drives. And then, without thinking, he turned right instead of left. This was not his usual route but he didn’t change direction. Perhaps he was curious. Perhaps it was an error.  Perhaps he was guided by another’s hand.

There was a bump in the road ahead so David slowed down. As he grew closer, he realized it was a body, no, it was a man and he was alive. David had spent the last 20 years as an emergency room doctor. He had never had to use his skills outside a sterile room but now he was glad he had made a wrong turn.

The man lived. His children kept their father. His wife kept her husband. And their lives continued. All because one man looking for a little peace and quiet made a wrong turn. But did he?

 

Ahmed looked at his paper. He knew he was right. But how to get the others to understand that something was going on. The students in his writing class just thought that he liked Science Fiction. But his Physics teacher was starting to understand.  There were too many incidents.  Documented occurrences.  There was a correlation. There’s something pushing us, perhaps making us better? There was definitely something going on.  Something . . .

 

********************

 

Begin transmission.

Director, we may have a problem. I am getting a red light on Facilitator 439122 at grid 19, section 4.  We have been having problems with this particular model.  It appears that they have a more superior capacity for problem solving than we were initially led to believe. This particular Facilitator is beginning to question the regularity of the designed incidents.  It is important for the validity of our tests and our test subjects, that any and all management be undisclosed.  Otherwise all the results will be useless.  Director, please advise.

End transmission.

Begin transmission.

Administrator, the subjects were chosen for your research based on their innate ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations.  I would suggest that you amend your data to accommodate this unforeseen propensity for disentanglement.  If you feel that your research will be unduly compromised then I suggest you terminate that particular line of research.

End transmission.

 

*********************

It was not an easy decision.  A great deal of time had been spent cultivating the necessary specimens.  But the research had become contaminated.  They were starting to understand. There was no other alternative.   End transmission.

 

 

The end

Here’s the thing . . .

Time.  We never seem to have enough of it. It’s always getting in the way. We have passed it, try to keep it or even wished it away. Some days it seems to control everything we do. Time. We invented it and like Frankenstein’s monster, it is wrecking havoc!

The Egyptians were the first to start dividing the day into segments. They were not the only ones.  The ancient Greeks, the Chinese, Tibet, Japan, England and many others all had a hand in creating the concept we call Time. The first devices to follow it were created as early as 2000 BC. And we still can’t seem to get it right!

We have fine-tuned the concept even more and we now divide the day into ridiculously small components. Milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours, . . .  and almost everyone seems to be attached to a device that follows those seconds and even vocally informs us of how much we have left. People are obsessed with it. When I went looking into this idea for my post, I found almost 10,000 quotes related to time. Some were funny, some could inspire you, some are even considered wise old saying. The Internet is a wonderful place to fine lists of things . . .

“Time waits for no one.” Folklore

“Lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin

“Time brings all things to pass.” Aeschylus

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”  Bruce Lee

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Charles Darwin

Definitely a popular topic. And so it should be!  86,400 seconds. That’s it. One day. 86,400 seconds. Some of that is spent sleeping, eating, the other thing we do because we eat, that we don’t talk about. But how much of that time do we spent in contemplation? How much of that time do we spend acknowledging the miracle that is life? I know, I know, most people don’t want to think about it. But our time here is finite. Nobody gets out alive. We need to be aware, to notice the beauty, be inspired by that which is all around us. We use Time to control our lives but it also helps us to focus on what that life actually is. Once the time is gone, it is past and cannot be relived. As long as we can remember our past, it will never die and that moment in time can be preserved. But perhaps we should notice first and preserve second. Time can be your friend but never forget it’s only a label.

Instinctive Intuition?

Instinct: ” . . an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli . .”

Intuition:”. .  the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning . .”

Instinct has been explained as the hardwiring that exists in the brain. Whereas intuition is more like the software that works behind conscious thought and often directs it.

In the animal world instincts are dominant. When I use the word ‘ animal’ I am not referring to human beings. Technically Homo sapiens are part of the animal world (some are more a part of that world than others) but I digress. In the animal kingdom many young are born knowing everything they need to know to survive. Some spend a few years learning the ropes. But can you imagine letting a two-year-old human child loose to survive in this world? I would not suggest it.

We may not have the instincts of most of the animal kingdom but we do have intuition.  My question is this:  has the human intuition evolved from our once hardwired instincts? There are those people who always seem to know the right path to take, the right words to say. Are they perhaps working on a deep-seated instinct that the rest of us are unable to access? I wonder.

I have known people to pick the winning numbers of more than one lottery. Was it just good luck? There are people who seem to live a gifted life. They choose the right life partner, the right job, the right hobbies.  They seem happy and satisfied with their life. Are they? We can never truly know from the outside. But maybe they are. Maybe they just got lucky and made all the right choices or maybe those choices were made by instinct.

I have never heard of any research done into the question of instincts used by human beings. After all it probably isn’t an interesting topic for science. But it is for a curious mind. I’ve always considered myself to be a lucky person. No, I have never won a big lottery or found a life partner etc. etc. But I have had a wonderful life. I have been places that satisfied my curiosity, I have seen incredible beauty in this country and others. I have met fascinating people, in person and online. I feel my life has been blessed. I have a wonderful family; I have incredible friends and experiences to keep my memory satisfied for decades. Were my choices made on instincts or I am just a lucky person?

The next time you make a choice ask yourself this question:  Was this instinct or intuition? I wonder what the answer will be.