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.

Careers in Science III: Astheniology

As luck would have it, the astheniologist’s daughter is diagnosed with pneumonia right before a big test and has to spend the holidays at home, both messing up her academic schedule for the rest of the year in a big way, and stealing a holiday season the prospect of which had sustained her through the first part of the year.

As luck would have it, her parents just got new sofas, so at least she has a new sofa upon which to recline.

As luck would have it, the astheniologist’s back went out right when the sofas were to be picked up, meaning the astheniologist’s wife and her father had to do the heavy moving. The astheniologist took a professional interest in this, and filmed the first segment of the moving, his wife and father-in-law getting part of the old sofa which was still in good enough shape to save up the stairs to the daughter’s room on the second floor.

The astheniologist saw the humor in this, as did his younger daughter, his wife and father-in-law less so. His elder daughter, the one with pneumonia, wisely abstained.

The new sofas, though, that had to be carried in after the old sofas were removed, the new sofas both came in a single piece – unlike one of the old sofas, which could be broken down into two pieces for easier moving. The new sofas were both a lot heavier, too.

So the astheniologist went rapidly from the hysterical barking of orders to holding the heavy end and visualizing the nerves extending from his spinal column, out between two lumbar vertebrae and down his leg, mere microns from being put out of action by whatever it was that was making them tingle already, while his wife and father-in-law did god-knows-what at the other end. Argued semantics or something.

According to the astheniologist, see, it is a good idea to know beforehand precisely how you are going to get a large, heavy piece of furniture up some stairs and around a corner and through a door, through an entryway and around another corner and through another door before you pick up the piece of furniture, and not stand on the stairs trying to fit it through the doorway, each of the three persons involved pushing in a different direction and shouting.

According to the astheniologist, this is how it is done:

  1. You move the cabinet out of the entry way, otherwise the large piece of furniture in question won’t fit past.
  2. You stand the large piece of furniture on end at the top of the stairs, turn it 90 degrees so it goes through the door the skinny way, not the fat way, and carefully shove it through bottom end first, not vertically, since it is longer than the doorway is high.
  3. Then, you carry it through the entryway horizontally.
  4. Then you stand it up again for the next door, turn it 90 degrees so it can go through the door the skinny way, not the fat way, and push it through bottom end first, but very carefully, because the people holding the high end are standing with their backs to the cellar stairs, and it is important to avoid them sliding down the stairs head-first, on their backs, with a large piece of furniture atop them.
  5. Then you carry the furniture horizontally to its final destination, or place it on a blanket and slide it.
  6. Was that so hard?

Careers in Science, III: Thaumatology

As luck would have it, the thaumatologist is diagnosed with viral pneumonia for the holidays, necessitating a change in plans at every level of magnification.

On the plus side, the thaumatologist’s parents just got two new sofas, so the thaumatologist can flop on new furniture for the next four weeks.

On the minus side, the thaumatologist and the thaumatologist’s sister had to listen to their father, who has an out-of-order lumbar disc, try to organize their mother and their grandfather to move the sofas: 1.5 old sofas out, 0.5 old sofas upstairs to the thaumatologist’s room, 2 new sofas in, until he finally gave up and took an end of a sofa, which however didn’t stop him yelling things like, No, turn it so it goes through the door the skinny way, it’s too wide to go through the fat way, or, No, your end first, not my end first, or, You’re pushing me down the cellar stairs, and other common bulky furniture-moving phrases.

The thaumatologist is probably happy the weekend is over and she has the house to herself for a while.