Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Black Hole Tuesday (you'll see what I did there soon)

It's been a while. I know. I'm sorry. I don't have a legitimate excuse for this other than the fact that I thought the PGCE had turned my brain to mush. Turns out I was wrong because, ever since I finished earlier this month, all I've been doing is thinking. And thinking. And thinking. An' boy, I gotsta tell ya, there ain't no'n' like the thinkin's t' make ye feel stoopid.

So, neutrinos, right? I thought I had a bit of a grasp on what was happening with those things when, bam! There came another one. Luckily (or unluckily, I guess) I have a couple of scarily intelligent physicists in my life - some tangentially, one opposite-of-tangentially- and they explained it to me in the kind of simple terms that cross your eyes and push your tongue out to drool position. One told me it was one thing, the other told me it was not that thing, then I read something that told me that it was sometimes that thing except for when its not due to some impossibilities. What this ill-articulated experience told me is that I know very very little about physics and that disturbed me more than it would a normal person. See, something big is happening to a field that I have a great interest in but inordinately limited knowledge of. I feel like science is this big creature that's spinning and spinning (with big boots on too) and people are being caught up in it and sipping ambivalently celebratory champagne with only the occasional motion sickness whilst I get stomped on in its path, forever a smear on the already grimy plane of humanities. I love me some literature, but when is something new going to be written that changes the discourse with which we articulate the very fabric of our existence? And I'm not just talking masculinism or post-structuralism here... I'm gonna go with "never." I feel angry and more than a little frustrated now.

Then I went to sleep in the baby hours of this morning and dreamed that I had to be operated on because I had Heart Strings that had calcified due to disuse and had to be removed (I kid you not). My brain is one sarcastic bitch. I don't believe in dreams symbolising anything other than the fact that I have an over-active subconscious, but I do sometimes think about my dreams and take on ideas that they bring, so today I decided to give a fuck. Turns out, it was a good day for it. I went into Braamfontein today to review a little cafe for my Job (in which I play The Actual Writer IRL) and then came home to watch the parliamentary proceedings for the Protection of State Information Bill (one of the most misunderstood but nonetheless diabolical issues circling the interwebs today) and after I'd gotten over the shock of the seemingly standard routine of  inter-honorable-member heckling, I really enjoyed it. I asked myself "why" a couple of times:
First answer, after about 5 minutes: I'm a sick, sad little puppy who takes her amusements where she can get them.
After 15: There are people who really care about this country and not just for their political safety.
After 30: I'm one of those people!
By the end: I now know more about my country than I have in the last many years and I give a huge fuck. Watching these people argue about this seriously epic issue, at times turning on their parties for the sake of moral rectitude, has shown me some ill-dressed, unwashed glimmer of hope that is something that is going to keep me from fleeing for the fjords as I have been quietly threatening to.
This all happened because I dared to watch the news, which I hate doing on account of my desire to kill all the things, but I went out of my comfort zone and wrought the stinky/spiky/rabid/apostrophe-abusing yet comforting rewards. And this was all after doing some mind-numbing reading to find out what the Protection of State Information Bill really was and what it meant for us. Also something I pretty much never do when it comes to local political affairs. Yaaay, knowing stuff.

How does this have anything to with physics, you ask?
Well, I guess I don't really have a neat and clever answer to this, but I do know that the past 24 hours have made me sit a little straighter, if not taller, and they have made me hunger for knowledge again and not just sulk at the reality that I don't have enough of it. It's all about enjoying the fact that there is so much to learn and how bloody important it is to learn as much of it as possible. Not for everyone, I'm no romantic, but at least for myself. It's hard and it hurts to admit all this to myself because the reality still reflects a world in which I am ignorant of too much, but I can fall asleep now and have bizarre dreams knowing that tomorrow, I can pick up a book and know more.

Guess you're not so glad to see me back now, huh?

Well, tough. You may have to get used to it.

Peace, skulls and Ouma's Buttermilk Rusks
-Sa