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Archive for the ‘ Atheism ’ Category
I know. I talk a lot about thinking and thoughts and how thinking works. I have a vested interest in this area. I’m fascinated by robotics and AI and how the human brain preoccupies a lot of us in one way or another.
Forget the ethical questions invoked by such questions, imagine the knowledge instead. These questions and more need answers. If we can make the body function to 125 years or more we’ll need the brain to make it that long too. If we can train a human brain to do complex surgery in a few minutes or weeks, the world will be very different. This is not science fiction, it’s not even fiction. We are (holding thumb close to forefinger) that close to working these problems out. Ethics is changing so fast that the arguments we saw for stem cell research will look like child’s play. Technology has a way of doubling quickly… by the time we are answering these questions the concern that governments can regulate such activity will be an old joke told by board members to get a laugh before their speeches.
Okay, what is this all about?
Lately there has been a bit of noise that mice can inherit memories genetically despite any hype, the conclusions are not firm. The idea is that in some manner experience is mapped to the brain. One might think of this as learning not to pick up a red hot pan more than once, or figuring out that spiders are nasty creatures that cause a lot of harm if they bite you. This experience is mapped to the subconscious mind and therein causes a chemical state which is translated genetically and passed on to offspring.
Theories suggest this might be why most people have a fear of spiders etc. The researchers have been somewhat careful to state that their research does not show that you can remember a past life this way etc. What is suggested is that survival actions might be passed on genetically. Hang on Joey, yes I just said that and buckle your belt, we’re headed straight to Gattica-land. That would imply that you can pass on stupid to your progeny. Now, come on, who didn’t see that coming? Nature drives us to select for the best attributes in a mate… coincidence? It doesn’t seem likely. That’s the boring part – yeah, put your ethics manuals and bleeding hearts back where you normally keep them for a minute or two.
The good news?
The good news?
The Good News?
If it is possible to pass on information genetically that help a species survive it would bring up some interesting thoughts. We know that the advance of technology followed a hyperbolic path and continues to do so. This is not simply a matter of availability of technology to experience but changes in thinking. There are countless examples of technology being used by those not really in a place to understand it well. People tinkering with devices that have a trillion transistors in them like they were an old heater pressure valve or something. The general knowledge of technology as a material has become common place. I don’t think that this is a result of genetics but I do think that the propensity to understand technology ‘intuitively’ may be.
The concept of abstract thinking takes real brain function. If a strengthened brain function can be mapped genetically, it ‘could’ be passed on. The technology that we use today might be thought magic or demonic by those who brought us so much knowledge – Newton, Galileo and so on yet we do not think of it so. This has much to do with familiarity but similarly it takes no special training for each generation to catch up, they learn and surpass. This has largely been explained as learning skills of the young differ from the elder but is it really just that? Is it possible that each generation passes on genetic material altered by experiences? Does this possibly explain some types of human behaviors? Is it all nurture? These remain interesting questions.
Ermm, what about the dreaming thing?
Science Daily has a post about how memory is formed and in some way or other this all links together in my head. How would one encode experience genetically? The article goes into some effort to explain how phobia might be genetically mapped. This all has to happen without a large frontal cortex, so how would experience get mapped to another part of the brain where it might possibly be mapped genetically and passed on?
Well, if you managed to communicate experience to hippocampus this might happen and that is where the second article fits… research showing that the neocortex is managing communication during sleep/dreams to/from the hippocampus – the new brain telling the old brain what is or is not. That old brain is totally wired into our bodies. Now we have a method of mapping experience into the body-general. It is still left to know what is being mapped and how memory is stored and I have a theory on that too. The point here is that there is a method discovered to imprint experience onto the old brain and body during sleep… at least.
What happens when we sleep? Dreams
Wait, here’s a PSA: if you have a tin foil hat, please take this pause in our regular program to put that puppy on yer heed.
There are lots of explanations for what dreams are, too many in fact. None of them seem to be efficacious under test but I’ve seen some that seem to work. I’m not saying they are fool proof but the ‘seems to work’ thing is indicative of something. Dreams have a pattern and it seems to follow what has been experienced in the day or two before the dream is experienced. I’ve come to think of this as the brain running experience memory data back through the simulator to encode it in a more primal language – that of pictures. Dream interpretation systems which rely on the dreams being a pictograph/ideogram language seem to have a higher rate of success. Well, if you call making some sense of the dream success.
Such a language is easier to encode in a data system with strong design toward vision. [I'd like to find more about how blind from birth people dream] Now, with 24-48 hours of experience encoded in this image based language, it can be compressed in the native processing systems and stored for later use. This is what I think of dreams… compression and storage of recently acquired data. If this data has the right emphasis, the encoding/storage process may do more than store it. It may well use it to reinforce the learned lesson/action from the day. This tracks with many studies about learning (no reference provided at this time). That reinforcement may well take the form of chemical reinforcement of the memory/data in other parts of the brain so that it does not get overwritten. … now, to go full circle … and that reinforcement could then be picked up for genetic transferal to the next generation. Yes, that reinforcement does happen… Have you heard the phrase “sleep on it” to get a clear head? Only the reinforced bits remain after sleep. When trying to solve a tough problem, stepping away from it helps to clear the head to think better… hmmmm see a pattern here? Athletes train hard and their brains store the patterns and motion functions required for their activities. These are reinforced over time. There are traits that run in a family but not over many generations. There aren’t any current composers named Bach, right? so they might be reinforced for several generations and then lost in the process of reinforcing other things more important at the time.
This model allows a great amount of adaptability in species without fixing the trait permanently.
No, that explanation is just a thought, not a thesis but I will accept grant monies under the most generous of conditions
These two ideas (give or take) tied together manage to map on to other problems not considered by the researchers… yet. Consider that one of the things which makes human brains more capable than other animals might not simply be its size, but its ability to adapt in different ways.
It seems plausible to me. What do you think?
Do you know of any research that directly or in some other way contradicts this theory? I’d love to hear about it.
Yes, I know that the title seems to promise grand technical wizardry or some breakthrough in neuroscience. I don’t have any of that, but I do have an idea why these are difficult for most of us.
It has to do with the nature of thoughts themselves. We all have them. We know they happen in our brains. Still, we don’t really understand what they are and use all manner of descriptive language to validate and substantiate concepts which are nothing more than thoughts because they are common to many or all of us, even animals that are not human.
When someone uses Lego blocks to build something like this picture they are using their brain’s ability to project an outcome using rules of behavior for the various elements and actors in the simulation used for the prediction making.
That is to say that to predict the future state of something we model the world related to the goal in our minds using the rules of behavior we know about the elements of the simulation. In an oversimplification, the creator of the object pictured knows how the blocks fit together, visual perspective, the shape of our brains and so on to predict how to arrive at the final object one small brick at a time. The creator had to think about how all the pieces would fit together and whether the end product would be close enough that all or most viewers would recognize this as a representation of the human brain.
That is an entire sequence or cluster of thoughts. The selection of each brick took dozens of thoughts. Is it the right color, shape, size for the place I want to put a brick? While those thoughts are happening there is another huge sequence of thoughts governing what a brain looks like and from which angle or point of perspective. All of the smaller, seemingly single, thoughts build upon one another like the bricks in the picture to form what we like to think of as a thought.
That is to say that when we think we have a thought what we mean is that we had millions of thoughts and in summary they can be presented as a single picture. We have so many thoughts that we are not aware of most of them, only the higher level summaries. When you sit on the grass in the park, you see a blade of grass ‘wave’ yet are not aware of the thoughts that happened to process that bit of information. That blade has to be located in an ocean of visual data, recognized as a blade of grass, and if the analysis of that blade shows nothing ‘unusual’ nothing more is considered of it because it matches our concept of normal. Our brains matched that object against expected behaviors of grass and more specifically grass you find in a city park, not other types or locations.
Combine that process dozens of times and your conscious mind says “I think there are a lot of blades of grass here” – you have what you call a thought. In reality, over the course of milliseconds, your subconscious mind and conscious mind worked together forming and processing millions of ‘thoughts’ to form a summary.
Back to the title
When people have to consider objects which do not conform to the rules of behavior in their mind already it forms a kind of pain. Any effort required adjust the rules acts on the brain in a manner similar to how physical pain acts on the brain. Kids will tell you that learning hurts. Adults who use their brain all day at work will tell you that it wears them out. This act of thinking is a very resource hungry process.
Thinking is ‘painful’ for the conscious mind… in a manner of speaking. Thinking about god and philosophy causes pain. This is why people avoid it if they can. The human brain is capable of huge computational powers and we see this in the brains of people with not-normal brains… like Kim Peake and the many like him whose brains don’t work quite the way most everyone else’s brain works. Everything human was evolved over time to be ‘just good enough’ to survive so it is that there are compromises in the design or function of it. We trade off Kim Peake’s skills for other skills and it was evident that he lacked certain skills that most of the rest of us have to one degree or another. (Kim Peake was the actual Rain Man)
The pain of changing the rules is a reaction to reforming all the chunks of code we have written over time that include the rule we have to change. If tomorrow we woke up and found that balls never bounce we would have to rewrite a lot of code to deal with that, not to mention the changes to sports. So let’s just say that stuff only bounces 1/10th the amount it used to. Think of all the rules of behavior in your head that you’d have to rewrite to function in life based on the one simple change: stuff only bounces 1/10th as much as you think it does. Okay, so that sounds drastic, lets make it only 90% as much as it used to bounce. Now, you still have to rewrite all those same rules.
Philosophy represents the same type of problem to the human brain – rewriting rules and that causes ‘pain’. Thinking, all by itself, requires the brain to move chemicals, expend energy, engage more neurons etc. People who suffer migraine headaches will tell you that all of these things exacerbate their pain.
Because we think all the time, we underestimate the effect of having to think… until we are hip deep in the thinking and decide the effort required is worth more than the return expected for the exercise.
Yes, I’ve just broken it down to electromechanical terms. I’ve done so without explaining the exact function of any given part of the brain. Rather I’ve looked at it from a system design perspective. Our brains use the subconscious parts of our brains to do most of the heavy duty computing for us. It is only when our subconscious subroutines cannot clearly make a decision that our conscious brain gets involved. When you see clouds in the sky you think nothing of them consciously unless your subconscious brain recognizes a patter that is not expected, then your conscious mind focuses on the data and gets involved to do the less structured analysis of the data. When this happens it costs us in terms of energy expenditure and effort.. it in fact drains us and our resources. We work to avoid pain and maximize pleasure as an overarching guide to what our brains do. This means that thinking and philosophy cause this pain and we are wont to avoid it.
Under such understanding, it’s easy to see why a lot of people would accept a god as an explanation for the universe and stuff that we don’t understand easily. It takes no thinking and we were trained at a young age to accept this set of rules as real. In adulthood, changing those rules is difficult and costly.
A thought? The simple but complex act of simulating the action of an object in the world as we know the rules of how that world works. We’re capable of running simulations of world that do not exist or in which the rules are different – such as other planets or game worlds. The very same way we simulate the surface of Mars in our thoughts is how we simulate the world around us.
We do not live in the real world, but in our thoughts. We live in a simulation of the world around us that runs about 500 milliseconds behind reality. Our brains adjusted to the lag/delay when we were too young to speak. Now, the pain we feel seems instantaneous, but it is 500 milliseconds delayed from point of pain to comprehension of pain in our brain.
As a segue, Sam likes to think our subconscious mind is not part of our mind. He’s wrong. If your conscious mind had to worry about everything we’d die because we forgot to breath or cause our hearts to beat. Our subconscious mind is very capable of doing learned tasks. This is handy for professional sports players and others. There have been brain injuries where the victim could not tell you what a piano is, but they can play one. The code to play the piano for a song is stored in the subconscious and even if the victim could never learn another song, that code is still with them. Everyone signs their names many times per year. When was the last time that you had to think about every movement of the pen when doing so? Do you do it without conscious thought now?
Anyway, enough for now…
What are your thoughts on this? Don’t hurt yourself…
There is not much that I can add to this except that Sam and I don’t agree on all things but on this video mashup, we’re in synch all the way.
Enjoy… then go buy presents for people that already have more than they need…
are but bits and bytes in the simulation. Never shall they themselves echo in the universe or wander the seemingly empty voids of existence. No, they are forever locked inside your head and there they will comfortably stay till you unlock the passage and loose them on the unsuspecting world around you. Nay, they will not escape and infiltrate the universe on their own, they cannot. The cold, harsh, uncaring universe would best like them kept locked in your mind… should it ever begin to think on its own.
Just random fluctuations of chemicals and electricity, chemistry in action… meaningless to the entirety of existence while confined to the bits of matter between your ears. They say you can’t kill an idea, but you can. An idea without expression is still-born, in a manner of speaking.
Should we paint everything with green and orange giraffes? Not hardly, but you’re getting the idea. Combine known items with items not usually associated with them – now you have some thoughts. Consider further how this combination would interact with other items in the known existence and you have more complete thoughts. If one of the possible interactions leads to a result you do not or will not like, you have a fear … or maybe many of them. Combine them in a way that leads to desired consequences and you have a plan. If that desired consequence is seemingly unlikely, you have a dream or a hope. If someone comes along and acts in a way that disturbs your connection chains from now to a desire result, you have anger.
Wait, are you saying that I/we can be separate from our anger and hopes etc.?
Yes, I am.
But wouldn’t that make us dispassionate and distant?
Yes, yes it would.
That’s bad right? It’s not good to not have feelings, right?
I guess that depends on how painful your feelings are. When you are torn with grief, would you rather be dispassionate, or would you rather walk around inside that pain and suffering?
Wait, can’t I just be sad? Does it have to be painful?
Well, if you want your emotions to function the way that evolution designed them, yes, it has to be painful. Really, I mean it has to be painful. If we did not feel pain at the loss of our in-group we would not have survived. That is why it is thought strange or even sinister if one does not grieve the loss of their in-group.
Wait, are you saying that emotions are just chemical reactions to bits of information?
Yes, I am. The simulator running in your head releases chemicals based on the electrochemical reaction of bits of data in your brain. So, with some stimulus your brain floods your body with hormones and with other stimulus it floods your body with depressants. The loss of a loved one causes actual pain to be felt. It’s just bits of data in your brain, but you ‘feel’ it just the same… not because there is physical damage, but because there is chemical alteration to the sensors which normally indicate damage.
Did you just say that my body produces falsified physical feelings based on electrochemical actions in my brain?
Yes, yes I did. How does that make you feel? (I’ll be here all week)
Okay… I don’t understand, how does my brain do this magic stuff?
Electricity and chemical reactions. In short, biology. Chemistry becomes biology when the interactions become coherent over time and across reproductive cycles.
Wait, this is about sex too? I’m pro-life, I don’t have coherent reproductive cycles or whatever you call it.
Stay tuned readers… How is the next stop. ‘What is a thought’ is the end of the line, all passengers must change destinations at the end of the line.
There are a few things that simply rub me the wrong way, not because I’m a disagreeable sort (and I am) but because they simply don’t mesh with logical thinking.
Prayson Daniel posted an article about CSLewis (who I have little respect for) but I don’t
Descartes’ God, wrote Harry G. Frankfurt, is “a being for whom the logically impossible is possible.” (Frankfurt 1977, 44) God, for Descartes, is ex les. His power is beyond our reason and morality. God, in this view, can bring about any state of affairs. If this is true, then contrary to Lewis, God could have created higher creatures with free will that freely and voluntarily choose the right things only.
The problem, with adopting Cartesian absolute power of God that could even bring about logical impossible states of affair, is that the problem of pain and suffering disappears with it. If God can bring about logical impossible states of affair, then it would follow that God could bring about what atheologians believe to be logically impossible, namely the coexistence of pain and suffering and omnicompetent and benevolent God.
I don’t actually want to address Prayson’s article or CSLewis per se. The article touches on a couple of subjects which twiddle the irritation switch in my head.
In the first paragraph we see the problems born of switching or losing context. There is no agreed upon definition of what ‘god’ is or can do. We have only the imagined facets of a being that is supposed to be existent outside of space and time. Think that through for a minute. If something is completely outside the confines of all that humanity has or does know and beyond the scope of our ability to experience, then we cannot know what that being is like nor what magic powers it might possess. It is illogical to think that we can imagine something not confined to the existence we know of and further that we know what that being is like…. pure bullshit. If a thing is defined as beyond imagination or understanding then that is exactly what it is… stop trying to change it or the context of the conversation. If god is not know-able, then stop telling me you know him. If the mind of god is not knowable, stop telling me you know what it is. If the powers of your or any god are not knowable, stop telling me what they are and what limitations the god has. In this I side with DesCartes,
Now the second paragraph which tries to put limits on infinity…. so to speak. The problem seems logical, except that it is not. It injects context to the proposed equation which is limited to human experience and understanding. To say that an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god would not allow pain and suffering is to say that benevolence demands alignment with human understanding of such. There is the contradiction that invalidates the argument. Who is to tell an omnipotent deity what benevolence is? Once you create such a being, you don’t get to tell it how to behave, and in being that sort of being it will decide for all creation what is benevolent and right and moral and just. While this does clear the one argument, it beguiles another: If the deity decides what is moral and just there is no objective morality etc.
Without objective morality the purpose of such a being becomes exponentially more dubious and worrying. Just ask Abraham or Joshua about objective morality. They both have a few words on the subject.
If your god is confined to the behaviors and emotions which reside within the realm of your understanding and scope of your experience, then your god is no god at all… unless that is the label you give to wishful thinking. If your deity is such a being as described, then it is very improbable that you, as a human, will be able to comprehend the deity — and as such, there is no point to worship for you cannot even know if this is desired, useful, or if it is something which will actually earn you eternal torments. In short you can know nothing of such a being…. Now, if you simply made up a story about such a being you’d be able to describe it and it’s behavior etc.
Perhaps that is what has happened?
That’s right, today about 15000 people will starve to death or die of nutrition related issues. I just made a donation the size of what I spent on the day… did you? Why not? Are you not thankful enough?
I am known to occasionally stroll around various topics of wordpress and there I sometimes find the strangest things. Case in point is this snippet from a Christian apologist:
“As C.S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
So even those who scream that there is no God also have the need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism. Even they seek to transcend the mundane world they find themselves in. While shaking their fists at God, they give the game away by imitating religion.”
As for the first assertion listed, that must mean mass killings exist to fulfill the desires of mass murderers? Buildings exists to fulfill the desires of arsonists? What a steaming pile of logic that is. We are born with desires because of how our brains work and how it interacts with the trillions of cells that make me me and you you. Desire is the drive to increase pleasure/safety and reduce harm/fear. Our brains calculate the risks and possible actions like a chess computer millions of times per day. To say that a satisfaction must exist for any given desire a creature might have is to confuse things beyond repair. It is to say that you cannot desire that which does not exist, yet people desire the impossible, the improbable, and the non-existent all the time. This logic fails miserably yet believers buy into it because of the really super good examples of sex and water.
Then he jumps into something stupid.
So even those who scream that there is no God also have the need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism
I cannot explain how CSLewis concludes that I have a need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism. I’m actually pretty fucking happy with a materialism, monism, mechanical atheism, nihilism and so on. To me it explains how the world works, and so far I don’t need to invent anything to complete that explanation. Yes, I know that there are a lot of things that still need explained, but these things are so far beyond what religion and deities explain in the first place that to include them in such a discussion warrants being slapped very hard with a frozen fish.
Even they seek to transcend the mundane world they find themselves in. While shaking their fists at God, they give the game away by imitating religion.
Apparently this geezer has never met me. I do not imitate religion, and won’t, until religion starts making fun of religion like I do then there might be cause for confusion. I do not seek to transcend the mundane world, as he calls it, because to transcend it is to ignore it and this world (mundane or not, your call) is all we have. If you talk to many of the popular speakers for astronomy etc. you’ll find there is plenty of reason to think this existence is not mundane at all.
This is a picture of what exists in a very boring and mundane black section of the night sky. If you look long and hard enough at that black emptiness you will find millions of other worlds. Mundane? I think not. CSLewis was an idiot apologist. People who quote him are following in his footsteps. Nature abhors a vacuum I am told, but I am befuddled what is between the ears of those who quote CSLewis as if he has something useful to say.
To be fair, it’s not that bad of a quote mine for a response to the ‘atheist church’ thing… just not well thought out. It relies on the notion that religion invented social interaction and the social parts of religion come only from religion. Society existed long before religion as did atheism but you can’t convince a believer of that because it means they have nothing worth anything except their crusted and dusty beliefs that have no credible supporting evidence. It also relies on a characterization of atheists as all being the same. We’re not. Hell, we can’t even agree among ourselves what we’re supposed to be or do… other than the fact that we don’t believe in the supernatural.
Summary: Quoting CSLewis makes you look as stupid as CSLewis. Nuff said.
EDIT: Link to quoted blog
Yeah, I realize that this is exactly the wrong moment to do that title, or so it seems. Let me try to explain before you click on the imaginary down vote button.
I read tonight where the apathetic theist wrote about being small and thankful… and that kind of twists me up inside along with some other things I think are wrong.
While the sheer immeasurable nature of the universe makes me feel quite small, it also makes me marvel at its wonder. My wonder is also multiplied by my belief that the universe has no maker, that it happened by chance. The fact that my birth came about through a series of chances that have been happening over billions of years is far more breathtaking than if someone had planned it all. When I feel insignificant and lonely, I remind myself that the chances of my ever coming to exist were almost nil, and translate this knowledge into the charge that I must make the most of every day.
First, lets deal with the thanks and giving and stuff.
This point of the year when people talk about what they’re thankful for sort of irritates me. They don’t seem to willing to go share that wonderment with anyone that would be thankful for a cold turkey sandwich or even some left over mashed potatoes.
If you want to tell me you’re thankful for things in your life… just don’t fucking do it. Go online to a charitable web site and donate some of that stuff you’re thankful for. I don’t want to hear about your damned blessing. I only want to hear that the world is better off next month than it is this month… then we can all be thankful for something together.
Now, that thing that twists me up. It’s the idea that non-believers have to imitate believers in ill-perceived notions of well being.
The idea that I have to make the most of every day because I don’t believe in a deity is complete hogwash. Let’s face it, nobody makes the MOST of every day. Day after dreary day passes and we barely make a dent in our personal debt or world hunger. Life sucks. Get used to it. Your shitty neighbor is still going to be shitty tomorrow. This is how life is. Thinking you can and SHOULD make the most of every day is a very limiting statement when you put the constraints of real life on it. I do not have to be happy all the time or find the love of my life or a true vocation. All I have to do is … well, nothing. Not even surviving is a have-to-do thing.
Gratefulness or thankfulness is an emotion. Emotions are hardly what you should base the judgement of your life’s effort on. That I feel awe or inspiration is neither here nor there. I am not bound by any law in the universe to feel these things. Non-believers like to compare and say they feel the same things as believers claim to feel. The trouble is that even believers don’t feel those things, not all the time. Life is not how we like to describe it. There is no one-size-fits-all emotion set we need to have. Fuck, if you are depressed, live in it for a bit, figure out why, get help if you need, move on. There is no shame in it. It just is.
The USA is a highly religious place. More than 70% of USAians claim to be religious and still there is a 50% divorce rate. Do you think all those people are happy? As much as 50% of the adult population are living unhappy lives. I call bullshit on this religious bit where you’re supposed to have happiness and peace. Their deity doesn’t give it to them and there is no value or basis for claiming that it is what you get with religion or what you should have in life. Clearly the statistics show us that this is not so.
No, no sir. I don’t try to make the most of every day… instead, I simply try not to waste any day. Some days the best you can do is grab a beverage, sit comfortably, and watch the ants crawl up the wall while trying to relax and not die from stress. Fuck it, some days that’s all there is. I don’t try to make the most of every day I have in this life. I didn’t choose it, but sometimes, the ride is pretty good so I endure the parts that are not. I’m never going to claim that I’m making the most out of every day… that sounds like an incredibly tiring amount of work.
The coffee was good, cappuccino is coffee, right?
She said the sky was too grey, it pulls the life out of her.
I asked about the weekend. Were there any plans. She laughed in a kind, but annoyed sort of way.
As she chewed a chocolate, rather cow like, I couldn’t help but notice the poised way she held herself – the chair seeming an afterthought.
She said, with chocolate breath, “I want to see that new movie” and motioned with her hands as if this was telling me which movie she meant … I said I know the one
I asked if she had a date? She said “There are no takers yet” with a sardonic smile and a slight eye roll.
I wondered to myself, what her life must be like. could she really be just ordinary? Who knows?
Just as I thought I could take her maybe to see the movie she asked to take a puff of my cigarette.
Handing it to her across the table, I noticed a slight weariness in her poise.
I looked into her eyes as she inhaled carefully and asked if she was ok?
Yes, she said, I just don’t like to smoke in public. She went on to explain that she is a tour guide.
I joked that she could show me around and her face lifted a bit. The smile walked across her face like a sunrise.
Sure, she said. We can visit all the best places.
I said “I’m going to see the Vatican in 20 minutes” and gave her an inviting look.
At first she did a double take, then pointed at her chest with both hands and asked “me, me go to the Vatican?” Her smile widening.
“Sure” I said, “it’ll be a laugh”
“okay” she said “but I want to have a full cigarette first”
I laid the pack on the table and dove back into the coffee with some relish. She talked for 20 minutes about Vatican stories, continuing as we walked the ages old pavement leading us there.
I’m not so sure about my writing sometimes. If you would like me to finish this short story, please comment. If I get enough I’ll finish writing it down.