Archive for January, 2007

Curiosity Killed The Cat

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Curiosity killed the cat — a common enough expression — probably coined a long time ago to put a stop to questions posed to exasperated old folks who didn’t have the answers or didn’t want to share them. Curiosity is an animal trait which encouraged exploration and development of species since time began. I have my share of it and it contributes to the chaos in my life like nothing else.

I was seeking information about natural selection, evolution to be exact, and found research referenced by scientists I had never heard of. I know of Yale, Harvard, Cambridge and other USA universities so the facts are acceptable, but Witwatersrand? A university in the Transvaal? That smacked of South Africa. Well that enticed me away from the cornbread I had in the making. I have a small cache of maps — in a drawer 12 inches wide by 14 inches long and 5 inches deep — a depository of many authentic maps I collected in my travels. Somewhere in that collection I expected to find a map of Africa. But there was none. Absolutely no map exclusively of Africa was among them. And I took all maps out of the drawer and spread them on the floor. Turns out that was a mistake.

Now you know what? I have to sort and reorganize that collection so I will be able to find the country or territory when my curiosity searches for answers. How does that contribute to the chaos in my life? Well, picture this. One more job in a day already filled with things to do. Organizing those maps is essential. Time taken now will save many minutes in future searches.

But because there was no map I had to look elsewhere for an immediate answer.

I found information in a dictionary, not on a map. Here’s where our language development and documentation of symbols are really critical. Among other things humans are good at is changing things. Renaming countries is one of them. Africa is no exception. The University of Witwatersrand happens to be important because it is where the skull of the first humanoid artifact is housed. A child’s skull, argued over as all artifacts are, by archaeologists at the time of discovery.

This information is welcome but it raises more questions for which I will continue to seek answers. Curiosity has driven humans from Africa to every place in the world and my curiosity continues to frustrate me. How to fit more tasks into my long list for today? The cornbread cannot be left in limbo, dry ingredients are waiting in one bowl, liquid ingredients in another. Together they must be combined and placed in the oven which is already hot. The maps cannot be left strewn around my bedroom floor.

Something will be left undone but there is no help for it. My curiosity shows no bounds. It is up to me to choose what to do. I will be lucky if the answers result in a longer satisfying life.

While Away Time

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

How dependent I have become on clocks! Dependency on schedule is really what it is. How else can I keep track of where I’m going, especially when I absolutely have to be there. Humans have been making clocks, or at least keeping time, for millions of years. We are so arrogant of our species’ superiority that we have come to believe that, with the ability to mark it with clocks, we invented time.

We are a very unique species, no doubt about it, but time we did not invent. However we seem to be obsessed with time. We make elaborate schedules to remind us when we are to be at a certain place, meeting, or community affair. And we are quite expert at juggling hours and meetings around when some unexpected event causes a cancellation. On my life that is a stress except when I am not well. Then I put my schedule on hold. I simply hunker down to care for my health.

Time itself will not stand still for me. Nature and time selected Homo sapien to our present state and will press on relentlessly. I’m on for the long haul and happy to hang on for the ride as long as my clock keeps ticking.

Stuff Burns?

Monday, January 1st, 2007

A watched pot doesn’t boil. Old sayings are wise and paying attention to them serves me well. That is, I do not stand and wait for my kettle to boil. But walking away and forgetting to come back leaves me with some very black kettles. I’ll have you know that the enamel on the bottom of my kettle actually stuck to my burner after “some” minutes left unattended. Is that physics? Or ceramics? Or chemistry? Or pyrotechnics?

Must be some kind of real hard science.

Once the fire department investigated the smoke that occurred when I left on an errand after setting eggs to boil. The fire chief apologized profusely for the invasion.

Microwaves have no live electricity to set anything on fire but I burn stuff anyway. Like popcorn, while I wait for the last kernel to pop in the bulging paper bag. Well I can’t see what is going on so how can I tell?

When shopping I discovered loose popcorn is far less expensive than the ready measured and bagged stuff. And I am frugal. What to do? A pan burns very quickly on my electric burner so back to high tech radiology. I put a handful in a covered glass casserole and lo! I could actually see the last kernel pop. But I did watch closely. No more walking off to catch up on tasks left half done.

I don’t know whether that great enlightenment will turn my life around but it bodes well for how I might pay attention to other heated moments from this point forward.

Cannot hurt to hope.