Minor Astronomy

Since the beginning of the internet, I estimate having waited for said internet, in some way, be it a massive .pdf within a browser, a youtube clip during peak hours, or porn clip off some shoddy site during night’s black skin — the euphemism “loading” an affront to our wants, desires, impatience, and ultimate sadness, staring at a loading wheel, mockingly clockwise as if time even mattered — cumulatively for about a week; meaning, if I didn’t get up for a sandwich, I’d be dead. The staunch lateral progress of the loading bar always felt more western-y, whereas the wheel has a kind of reincarnate cyclical Buddhist-y flow to it, to cease desire, or at least wait. On Monday August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will occur, said totality (as opposed to the more common, and broader, partial ones) being when the moon’s apparent circumference is not only larger than the sun, but directly in front of it, turning the day into a kind of movable night. This will only be experienced on a narrow path across the earth, auspiciously this time around in the United States. The “greatest” total eclipse on earth that day, i.e. the most darkness at the longest duration, will occur in Christian County, Kentucky, whose 73,000 +/- estimated residents will likely tailgate the damn thing, sucking on corn dogs in darkness.

The geocentric model of the universe (fml. Ptolemaic system, its eponym one Claudius Ptolemy, sucker) is an example of the disparity between the obvious and objective. Put simply, that which is, is often invisible. Of cosmological myths, the “turtles all the way down” Stephen Hawking paradox in which the infinite regress of turtles supporting the world is used, at any tier, to justify itself (which may have been borrowed from a David Hume similar allusion in 1779 involving elephants) is meant to ridicule those we view as having archaic notions, or at least unscientific ones. Science purports truth, only to provide updated explanations later on. My mother doesn’t understand that there’s a Linksys WRT54G Router inside her home, grimly installed by my father at 5:00 a.m. one morning while she was still getting her beauty sleep in. She touches her iPad with tiny soft fingers, hitting “forward” in her email on all-things-annoying to this contributor and her only son. Now and then she gets kicked off the wi-fi network — however endearing the password named after her by my father, whose displays of love are limited in such I.T. manners — and, when I happen to be around one weekend, tells me to fix the internet. I explain to her that it’s either the router or Comcast, and that I can only help with the former. That the internet cannot be fixed, due to teens. “The internet,” she repeats.

Claudius Ptolemy saw the sun rise, and followed its yellow blindingness over a dashed arc — past the jigsaw puzzle of light through leaves and slow saunter of contemporary limbs — until it lapsed into the hell of darkness below. Humans have always felt a need to incorporate moral narrative into the more evident narrative of repetitive cosmic vectors, and so it would have seemed that at high-noon our sun was closest to God, or towards the idea of something magical in the air. The internet, despite wi-fi’s hopeful ripples, is the work of the underground: thick long cables traversing under this world, weaved into some net, as if holding this droopy earth. The only connectivity in the air is inside one’s room, office building, or cafe: between console and router, attached to a modem, funneling deep into the core of the earth. Cloud networking may share heaven’s fluffy cartoon-y lie.

“The internet,” she says. “Mom, Jesus, no, you don’t get it,” I say. She forwards me her iPad, jutting out two arms like the start of a slow dance, and pass the lattice of glossy apps I now see her greyed out wi-fi signal bar. Help. I think of all of the things she wants — the next 2-week cruise through Scandinavia; the fall season Burberry scarf; a sneaky email to an ex-boyfriend unsuccessfully fire-walled by my Dad, who can sleep through a broken heart; a forward to her son warning him of the dangers of sucrose, glucose, being morose, or some other -ose; a clip from an episode of The Dr. Oz Show she missed, etc. — and how such wants are quarantined in a false icon pointed nowhere but in a direction we never quite understood. I’m not on “speaking terms” with my dad, so it’s a linguist’s dance communicating with him, using the least amount of syllables possible in our oulipo of hatred. “Wi-fi down,” I say. “[Pissed of semi-affirmative grunt],” he makes. The idea of something  beyond us is necessary because of what’s so disappointing in front of us, unless of course, for brief moments statistically turned sacred, it’s an eclipse. Five minutes later my mom re-enters (trans. gail8888) and the world is in order again. I deftly tap into this page, begin reading, and she exhales hurt air. The internet is a gigantic indoor tailgate party, each one of us imprisoned in a mental parking spot. Together, we follow the game. Of brutes and cheerleaders. The Chinese believe 8 is the luckiest number, an erect ∞ offering the infinite. Nobody asks exactly what that is. Why mess with hope. If you ever find a Chinaman’s checking card, just keeping hitting 8 for the PIN and one day you’ll get it right. We all will.