Problem-oriented

She was not someone who liked it when things went as planned. In fact, it bored her. The fun stuff was all in the planning, not in the realization. Taking a piece of future and reducing all of its complexities to one, single course of action that would approximate the ideal of what was possible – that was the joy. The implementation and execution was just a formality that had to be endured.

Thus, it always came as a joyful surprise when something went wrong. That meant there was something more to do. The less intuitive the problem was, the better. Especially if it meant she got to explore the hidden systems and subsystems that lie underneath the visible surfaces of things. Something going wrong was not a problem to be solved – it was a mystery to unravel. The deeper the rabbit hole went, the better.

Needless to say, she liked cats.

Cloud computing

We were on campus, and had just left a heady seminar on reflexive methodology, when a peculiar sight greeted us: snow glittered everywhere in the rare midday sunlight, blinding and astonishing in equal measure

And then: birds. a whole swarm of them, mobilized by the sudden snow, clustering around a tree with red berries. We stood and watched as the twittering, fluttering cloud devoured each and every berry within minutes, then whooshed away in search of more noms

Big and small

He put the thing on the table, with great ostentatiousness, and proclaimed proudly:

“Halloween lemons”

The reaction was not as excited as he had anticipated, despite the finely crafted attributes of the lemon’o’lantern. As the silence grew ever more awkward, someone finally spoke:

“Why?”

“Well, you see, Halloween is all about the pumpkins. This is kinda beside the point for us, seeing as we have a lemon farm. So I thought – Halloween lemons!”

In the midst of this discourse, the local beloved cat jumped up on the table and unceremoniously bapped the lemon to the floor, causing a rather small squish. Being thus illuminated on both the upsides and the downsides of the concept of Halloween lemons, another voice spoke up:

“I think we are going to need a bigger lemon”

The valiant struggle

The intrusion happened just before dawn, under the cover of darkness. It was the opposite of subtle: it was loud, noisy and a complete rumpus. The sound woke up the residents, who in a measured and dizzy manner hobbled toward the source of all this commotion to see what was, in fact, up.

It turned out to be a very smol kitten engaged in a deadly combat with a sock. The outcome was still uncertain, but it seemed as if the sock was winning.

Relieved, the inhabitants saved the kitten and went back to sleep, bringing the smol purring ball of fur with them.

A principled stance

“I finally did it. I finally threw the TV set out of the window. Finally, we are free”

“Dad, it’s a plush toy. Are you ever going to tire of symbolically throwing it away, only to unceremoniously retrieve it minutes later?”

“It’s the principle of the thing. We have to remind ourselves that we are free to throw away the machines, and not the other way around”

“So if I were to throw out this smartphone…”

“Whoa there. Slow down. That’s a different principle”

“Okay then. But you’re making dinner”

“Pancakes?”

“My favoritest principle of them all”

Vicinity

It was a strange place. In fact, it was not a place at all. Rather, it was a place next to a place, somewhere you had to go and found yourself going when you were at that other place. Come to think of it, if you were at that other place, you might as well have been here, too. While everything in theory and on paper suggested the two were separate, autonomous entities, they were linked by a casual everyday praxis so ingrained in the very fabric of being that they were, in practice, one and the same.

Hang around long enough, and this understanding will sneak up on you, before you know it.

Wherever you go

“It’s not you, it’s me”

“Are you breaking up with me?”

“What? No, quite the opposite”

“Then what do you mean it’s not me, it’s you”

“This university admission letter. It’s not yours, it’s mine”

“But”

“Yes. I’m coming with you”

“It’s not you. It’s us”