Lockdown Diary – The Pavilion

Opening shot: Satellite view of Earth, zooming in Google Earth-style on Europe, then Austria, then general vicinity of Vienna, then small village, then backyard of a house, then flames and sound of explosion and fire.
Man rushes out of house with fire extinguisher, puts out fire, cursing.
Man: Goddamn it.
Woman: Oh, you’re busy.
Woman: I have another job for you when you’re done with the satellite fire.
Man: Ok.
Woman: We need to put the curtains on the pavilion.
Man sighs
Man: Ok
Woman: Here. The mosquito net curtain elements have a hook on the outside, so I think they go on the outside. Remember last time we put them on the inside and there was nowhere for the hook to go?
Man: I guess.
Man snaps grommets along top edge of mosquito curtain element to plastic hooks on outside rail.
Woman: Here is the next one, see, the numbers match.
Man snaps next one in place.
Man tries to zip the two elements together. Although the numbers and zip elements match, the two elements do not reach each other. One is too long the other too short.
Woman: Hm.
Man finds pliers in cellar, returns to carefully remove elements again, unsnapping metal grommets from fragile plastic hooks of which they have only one extra.
Woman: Look this is the long side and this is the short side. So these go there.
Man: Ok (snaps all four mosquito curtain elements in place along the outside rail.
Woman: Wait, hang on.
Man:
Woman: Look, the heavier shade curtains have these slits in them. They must be for the hooks in the other, mosquito curtain elements. That makes more sense – then the mosquito curtain elements would be on the inside, protected from cats.
Man: So I should take all these back down?
Woman: Yes.
Man: Ok.
Man: I need to go brush my teeth.
Man brushes teeth, sighs, carefully unclips the four mosquito elements.
Neighbor 1, observing from balcony: Vat are ze rules of ze pavilion drinking game again?
Neighbor 2, observing from another balcony: Venever dey remove a curtain element hung in error, ve must drink a J├Ągermeister.
Neighbor 1: Dey will take all afternoon and I am already drunk.
Man checks which is the long and which the short side of the heavier shade curtain elements, carefully clips one onto the proper place on the outside rail.
Woman: Wait a second. Let’s look at the website.
Woman looks at website, finds the entry for the pavilion which has a tiny, unenlargeable thumbnail image from which it is impossible to tell if the mosquito curtain elements are on the inside rail or the outside rail.
Woman: Let me call the store.
Woman calls store, actually finds someone who actually finds her order for the pavilion in the computer but has to look for the instruction manual but can’t find it so will have to find someone with more expertise who will call back.
Man: This is the most logical arrangement. Let’s just put it together.
Man: I’m not mad at you. This is just frustrating, clipping the metal grommets onto the fragile plastic hooks, then removing them again, the metal grommets are made of soft but sharp metal, and we have only one spare hook so I’m afraid of breaking them.
Man hangs first shade element onto outside rail.
Woman: No, look, the short side is where the long side should be. That goes over there, not here.
Neighbor 1: OMG
Man and woman hang outside elements where they belong, then inside elements.
Woman: Ok now about assembling those hammocks.
Man wonders if he would die instantly if he stabbed himself with a knitting needle in the brain, or if it would hurt first, or if he would only lobotomize himself, and what it’s like to be lobotomized, subjectively it might be nice.
Man: Tomorrow.
Woman: But it’s so warm today. (looks at weather app) and tomorrow it’s 1 degree cooler.
Man: Let me write a blog post first.
Woman (on the phone with furniture company that sold them the pavilion, complaining about the hooks)
Woman: They said to send them a picture of the hooks. Maybe I can get a refund.
Man: Ok.

Bifurcation

I woke up, fed the cats, and (here is the innovation) went back to bed for another hour.
Here is one theory of multiple universes: every time you select one of two (or more) alternatives, new universes are created: one in which you did the other thing.
One in which I did not go back to bed, but instead moped around the kitchen for an hour, or went down into my room to write something in a journal.
Or this one: I was standing in front of the Vienna Observatory park making a movie of a tree. A young man nearby waited until I had finished and said, You’re a professor, right? Unfortunately not, I said sadly. (Although we just created an alternate universe in which I am, I did not add.)Undaunted, he asked me if this was the entrance to the Vienna Observatory. I said I believed it was. However it is locked although past opening time, he pointed out (creating an unlocked-gate alternate universe).
I sometimes go for walks in this park, I said, and this is not the first time the gate is locked past opening time. IIRC, there may be another gate up the hill at the other corner, I said.
The young man told me he was to attend an internship for school. Good luck, I said. He left and walked uphill. When I got there (I was dinking around with filters, uploading the film to Instagram) he was nowhere to be seen, and I assumed he had gone in the gate (which was open).
Or this one: in one universe you donate furniture to the Red Cross for refugees, in another you take the furniture apart and drive it to some refugees a friend knows and give it to them personally and you and the refugees and your friends who introduced you carry it up to their apartment (luckily the elevator is working in this universe because they live on the 5th floor) and there you sit amidst a pile of pieces of desk and wardrobe in their living room and realize that, in this universe, you did not think to label the pieces, trusting your memory.
A family of six people watch your every move. Plus two friends and their little boy. ‘No pressure, Mig,’ says one friend.
I took pictures, luckily, you say, unlocking your phone and scrolling through pictures until you find them. In another universe the pictures are really helpful.
You eventually get the desk assembled, or almost – when you are nearly done your wife calls you and informs you you forgot a piece at home. Luckily it is the last piece, so you assemble everything but that, and bring that by the following day.
Also luckily, the refugees are intelligent and observant, and watch you closely, handing you screws right when you need them, or pulling a drawer out so you can tighten a bolt right when you need the drawer pulled out, without you having to say anything.
Forking and forking, good old reality.