The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Where are they now?

Over the last week or so I have had the chance to catch up with a couple of people I haven't spoken to for a while. Inevitably, such conversations always include updates on the lives of mutual friends and acquaintances. It is starting to freak me out.

It is only in the last couple of years that a lot of friends from school and university started moving away. I went straight from school to university to full-time work, all in the same city and without a break. This means that I was working a few years before many of my friends, who were either doing far more academically impressive things than I did, or were too busy dealing with whatever life threw at them, both good and bad, to give all their attention to the minor problem of graduating from university.

Over the past couple of years, however, even the most determined of perpetual students has left, either because they ran out of things to study, ran out of money, or ran out of the time in which it permissible to complete a degree. The only students among my friends now are those who have gone back to do incredibly grown up things, like their Masters or Doctorate.

So people started to scatter more lately, following jobs, or people, or lifestyles. And while in one way school and university are like another world now, in some ways the time has sped by. So the where are they now? conversations are both hilarious and quite frightening.

You remember A? She's getting married next month. I'm one of the bridesmaids. What happened to G? Oh, he's a teacher now. Can you imagine him molding the minds of small children? Hey, did you hear that Q and M got together? How the hell does that work? Last time I heard about Y he was in a southeast Asian gaol. Wonder if he's still there. What about D? Oh she's in Sydney, got some incredibly high-powered job now. You mean L and Z are still a couple? Who would have thought that would last? No, R is taking time off to concentrate on being a dancer.

In the case of some people, you could kind of see it coming a mile away. For others their life has taken a completely different turn. Sometimes I wonder how it all happened. You live there doing that, and I live here doing this. But every few months, or every few years, we can still get together and have a few beers and it's like no time passed at all.

I like that.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Well, the good news for this morning is that I am not going blind

I had to go to the ophthalmic surgeon this morning to get my eyes checked out. I was experiencing some strange heat-haze vision the other day, plus I've had a few headaches. Apparently it was an ocular migraine. I did not realise that migraines come in all shapes and sizes, and don't necessary include the feeling that your head is splitting open. So that's OK.

Of course the doctor had to put drops in my eyes to make my pupils dilate, so right now I look like I've been hitting the belladonna in a big way, and the light from my computer screen is making me squint. On the plus side, dilated pupils are supposed to make you sexier, which is why people used to use belladonna in the first place.

The experience has left me pondering again the unreliability of our senses. I've been seeing things that aren't there - wavy lines, moving specks of light, that sort of thing. I've heard things that aren't there - a ringing in the ears, the belief that someone just said my name. Touch? What about that creepy feeling upon seeing spiders or ants, as if they are crawling on your skin. A sudden, inexplicable shiver. A feeling of physical pain caused by emotional distress. And all of this falls into normal, everyday experience, without getting into the territory of true hallucinations and delusions. So what do you rely on if you can't rely on your own senses? What is The Matrix?