Town & Country Ch. 5: Once You Speak, You’ve Already Misspoken
The next day, in the upstairs loft of his home—far removed from Seraville—Danny coughed as he passed a blunt back to Landon. An ambient, meandering rock song of the nineties, its origins tugging it back into the decades before, provided the enviro-rhythm to these moments. Attitudinized by the notation and production, the two philosophized.
“You know, Danny, the brand of eastern philosophy you like is compatible with western science,” Landon began. “Our specialists seem to want to overlook that. It’s clear that it is all a matter of perspective. You know, from the perspective of positive mass, the human mind extrapolates fundamental universals from which it forms its sense of reality. Perhaps it is demeaning, though I certainly don’t think this is so; this interaction between the human mind and its world yields true statements.”
“That reminds me of an old proverb, Landon,” Danny replied, looking at a plant in a far corner of the room, pausing either out of stonedness or an inclination towards the dramatic.
“Of course, it does,” Landon said, remembering the countless recitations Danny had presented to him in the past, most of which he had read on internet quotations websites. Danny usually wasn’t one for books.
“All right, you ready? It goes a little something like this: Once you speak, you’ve already misspoken.”
“That somehow contradicts the tenets of science,” Landon declared. “But I feel the truth, man. I feel it.” He took a hit of the blunt.
“It’s like this weed, Landon.”
“What is—Science? Science is like this weed!?” Landon said excitedly, partially in an attempt to mock Danny.
“No, you fool. Well, maybe a little bit. But if you have a scientist do an experiment, it will get some answer. But if you have the exact same scientists do an experiment…” Danny paused for the high drama, “…high, he will get some different answer.”
“Wooooaaaahhh,” Landon uttered slowly, as he thought, in controlled cognitive dissonance, that Danny seemed unusually fried for a millionaire. But, then again: how many millionaires did he know? He then changed the subject, although only slightly and in all seriousness. “The composition of true statements yielded through human experience is such that they reflect our surroundings only insofar as the human mind has been and is able to posit or imagine it. In the end, insofar as we know it, they can be interpreted as accurate solutions with the ability to predict events or instances based on intuitive action-reaction principles. This gives rise to our notion of bonds and borders between temporal points. And for us, they seem to work.”
“What the fuck did you just say?”
“I don’t fucking know. What do I look like?”
“You sort of look like me,” Danny said, pleased with his subtle cleverness. “And you look totally lit.”
“Ah, yes, totally fried.”
Danny shook his head in agreement, his forehead squinted. He went on:
“It’s all about, the interconnectedness is. Whatever you’re looking at responds to the act of looking. What you are looking at, no matter where you are looking, is you, and what you see is a choice made by you.”
I’m not sure it’s always such a choice,” Landon riposted. “Why should we trust our misunderstanding of reality? Isn’t perception but a chosen focus? Mathematics is incomplete because the mathematician is as well. Is there, somewhere, an inroad to a new math, which has the ability to take our own incompleteness into account through its algorithms; a mathematical world in which constant rates of universal change, the miniscule nature of man, and even the mathematician mathing are part of the grand equation? We perceive the world accurately; an organism, for example, can locate food, stay out of the bellies of other organisms, stay on the right side of a cliff, and so forth. All the while—due to entropy—the system, which math is called upon to measure, decays slowly like amber oozing.”
The blunt, with its sunflower tip, was burned up quickly. The beclouded room now seemed somehow different to the two. The almond walls began to melt while the two stayed still and silent. The rippling music hugged each inch of body, and then suddenly the doorbell rang, a rift in the riffing. Landon and Danny jumped and looked at each other with eyes like paper cuts.
“I don’t need to get that, do I?” Danny asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Yeah, I need to get that.” Danny swiftly got up, stood in place, fixed his posture and pulled his shirt towards his knees to lessen the prevalence of uncouth creases and ashes. He combed his hair with his fingertips.
“How do I look?” he asked Landon.
“You’re pulling. You look fine.” Landon assured him, deciding against mentioning that his eyes were bolder than stoplight red. He then walked down the stairs to the front door. Upon opening it, Danny was pleasantly surprised to see an old friend, Sarah Watson, standing in his doorway. Pulling his head back with his neck, he said: “Well, hello Sarah,” and the grin on his face was—eyes aside—enough to divulge his state. At least for one such as her, who had known him so well in the past.
“Still smoking drugs now are we?”
“Yes ma’am, Ms. Watson. Now, come in.”
“You know I hate being called ma’am,” she said with her head down to guide herself through the doorway.
“I do know that,” Danny said, stepping to the side to let her by. Peering over the ledge was Landon, surprised by Danny’s sudden guest.
“Hi Landon,” Sarah said in a voice loud for the inside.
“Hi Sarah, long time no see.”
Sarah, a pretty, curvy school teacher, and Danny were, once upon a time, lovers. But the game of who needed who the most had blurred the relationship and compounded the imprecision of love. Just what brought her to Danny’s home not even she knew entirely, but there she was, feeling an unseasoned sort of comfortable. She walked past the kitchen on her right, and towards the sliding glass door in the backroom. From the backyard, she overlooked rolling valleys with houses scattered upon knolls, each uniquely the same.
“They’ve built a lot in the two years since I’ve been here,” she sighed.
“Yep, and they built a lot in the two years before that while you were here. God damn real estate agent said I would still have three years before they would start any building out here at all. Bitch lied.” “You mean the sales-lady lied,” Sarah corrected.
The two walked outside together and Landon stayed put in the loft. He thought about packing himself another bowl, but refrained, figuring that in due time the opportunity would, once again, present itself. On the outside, Sarah and Danny watched planes terraform under the guise of secrecy and security and birds flutter from branch to branch, whistling their errorless songs of grace; errorless to humans, at least. Sarah locked her knuckles around the chain-link of the fence and gazed at the view which expanded as far as the eye could see. Danny looked at her, still surprised by her sudden appearance. Albeit, she reappeared in the same way as she had disappeared, with whim at her back.
“I’ll smoke a little bit,” she invited herself to the marijuana, turning her face from the view to Danny, who had been watching her. “If you don’t mind?” “Well, we already finished that, but…”
“Landon is young,” she interrupted. “I am sure he is itching for a little bit more. And don’t you kid me and say you are finally cutting back.” She walked inside, and Danny stayed outside for a moment.
The cobwebs in the sky reminded him of a global premonition, shared amongst individuals through culture. The premonition was a warning. It said that near the day of purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky. Danny pondered the meaning of Koyaanisqatsi, a Hopi term he translated as “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of Balance, life disintegrating, a life that calls for another way of living.”
He came to, remembering his new and lovely visitor—who had caused him now and then turmoil and, now and then, bliss —and started inside. For now, serenity swayed him.