Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Moving, part 3 (unpacking): Schrodinger's apartment

Moving into a new apartment, house, or what have you must inevitably involve higher levels of physics and quantum mechanics.  It would be simple if this was only a matter of space or motion, but no, bigger issues are at hand:  namely uncertainty.

This is both our home and not our home.  All our stuff is certainly there is a certain element of familiarity in operation.  My couch, for instance, is still in front of my television, so this is definitely my living room...yet the juxtaposition is off.  The love seat, for instance, is on the wrong side.  There's all this extra space as well. So is this my living room or not?  Every time I sit down and look at it, I experience some form of quantum double vision.

I could look over the alternative arrangement of my possessions if it were not for the little things.  In these apartments, for instance, all of the electrical outlets are, for some mysterious (or at least forgotten) reason, upside down. Every time I go to plug in some appliance, any conception I have of being in my own home is shaken...almost as if some quantum mechanic is playing with my life's vertical hold.

And then there are the possessions.  Out of all possible factors, my "stuff" might hold the key to the sneaking suspicion of being trapped in a Schrodinger thought experiment. I know, for instance, that I own an mp3 player...that my television has an accompanying remote control.  Yet neither of these two (or any other of a thousand objects) are anywhere to be found.  Am I really sure I in fact had them in the first place?

This, incidentally, is where we do quantum mechanics one better.  You might be able at some point to prove if that damn cat is alive or dead.  Can you, however, ever definitively prove my mp3 player existed in the first place without actually laying hands on it?  Moreover, if it never turns up, it will remain in uncertainty in perpetuity.  After all, I only really have my memories to prove it existed in the first place..and can I really trust anything so intangible as evidence?

(This is, incidentally, not the first time I've experienced such uncertainty vis-a-vis objects.  I have lost many books to the alternate quantum dimensions of possibility...or "the aether" if you prefer (as I often do).  I have no rational explanation for the complete and utter disappearance of an Edgar Rice Burroughs collection.  And a large "missing book fine" is the only evidence I had it existed in the first place...that is, if you consider government records to be in any way quantumly certain.)

I should, for the record, note my daughter experiences none of this, so far as I can tell. Of course, she is only two, and, as such, often keeps her own counsel. Yet if there are tangible clues to some struggle to adjust, I am utterly unable to observe them. 

Maybe I will slowly adjust.  Maybe the uncertainties and incongruities will eventually coalesce.

It certainly is preferable to the constant suspicion this place in which I now dwell both is and is not my home.

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