January 5, 2013

There Are Worlds In Everything

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Taco Bell drive thru window, and by funny thing I mean sudden revelation: There are worlds not only in eyes, but in everything.

I gazed at the adjacent car’s exhaust fumes rising up to meet the moon and stars, and then glanced back at the Taco Bell. A Young Man clad in black caught my attention as he exited his car and ran through the parking lot. His destination: The employee entrance. The man in black disappeared into Taco Bell’s walls.

I wondered what it was like to work there. How did they make the beefy five-layer burrito? Did the employees know if the “meat” really deserved the name? How stressful was it when there was a line of cars going into the street?

It made me recall my own experiences when I worked in the fast food business as a teenager: Angry customers, visits from the district supervisor, the prurient, hormone-fueled backroom politics (what else could you expect when you put that many young, horny teens in one building?). I remembered these things and thought “So much history happened there that so many people will be ignorant about. That place was its own little world.”

So too was this Taco Bell.

It was its own world and threads of many a person’s histories ran through it. Relationships were made and destroyed there, first kisses happened in the employee bathrooms, scandals were had, jobs were won and lost. The Taco Bell, a place for me to get quick, cheap food, had so much more significance. It was an enormity that no one person could understand.

I then thought about all matter of things. Streets, buildings, computers, trees, leaves, sand. Anything. Everything. They all were worlds. They, and many other things, are macrocosms within microcosms, the extraordinary within the mundane.

I found streets particularly interesting. They contain far more than asphalt, and a street is more than just its name. It’s the people who built it. It’s the souls of all those who commute on it, and all those who have died on it. It’s the experiences people have had on that road. It’s the time a boy first held a girl’s hand while walking to a summer carnival, it’s the time your dad yelled at on the ride home from football practice when he realized you didn’t take your muddy cleats off. It’s the time you got egged by those moped-riding teenagers on Halloween. It’s the road kill and the guy who has to clean up the road kill. It’s the street someone drives down when they want to reminisce. It’s, in a way, its own world.

There are worlds in all eyes. Eyes are more than just a window to the soul. They’re a window to the world within: Abuse, love, hate, fear, pleasure, apathy. Eyes are worlds of all these things and more, beautifully condensed into an iris.

What is an individual brain if not a world comprised of neurons, gray matter, and other parts? That’s not even including the memories within it.

And those individual neurons, what are they if not worlds of dendrites, cell-membranes, nuclei and the like?

And within those structures are simply worlds of complex organic chemistry, which are comprised of a world’s-worth of atoms, which are a world of sub-atomic particles — quarks and leptons.

There are worlds in all things, from the minerals in the dirt that survived tens of thousands of years of geological activity, to the gum littering the sidewalks of New York City.

There was even a world in the sound of the car horn that interrupted my errant philosophizing. I had forgotten to move up to the window and fulfill my role in that one employee’s shift, that employee’s worldTC Mark


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