Apparently the Queens Library is pretty slow about delivering materials to one branch requested from another branch, so instead of taking out the book I’ve been waiting to arrive for a good 7-10 days, I took out a book called Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang. Intriguing, right? I’m not sure what caught my eye about it while walking through the stacks, but there’s a plug from Stephen Hawking on the front cover AND upon looking at the back flap you find photos of the authors who are two of the cutest bespectacled men this side of the Big Dipper. I even showed Kathleen their pictures, but she wasn’t as impressed as I was. A few minutes later I was still ridiculously excited, going on and on about this book and she said, “I can’t begin to deal with you right now.”
Books like this are great because they tell you things you kind of already had an idea about, but you hardly ever stop to think about. Like this:
The Milky Way’s cosmic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, lies 2.9 million light-years from the Earth; the light received from its stars today was emitted before the earliest humans roamed the Earth.
I just read that, say, 20 minutes ago on the train. It made me go, “Woah,” and I looked up at the guy across the aisle from me with huge awestruck eyes who looked back at me like, “I can’t begin to deal with you right now.” So then I looked up at the train ceiling trying to imagine just how far the universe would extend past where I was sitting, trying to fathom just how small of a blip of my existence really is. I’ve never understood why people aren’t more preoccupied with stuff like this. I mean, I know people turn to religion to answer silly questions like…where the hell are we right now and what the hell are we doing here…but still. Even during Sunday School when I was, like, nine years old it occurred to me to ask my teacher how God could have just always existed.
Anyway, enough about light-years and bespectacled men for now. The polls open in a few hours!! Maybe people aren’t stopping to contemplate time and space like me, but they’re definitely stopping to contemplate politics. The people across from me on the train were talking about baby daddys, baby mamas, and Barack’s grandmother. The woman with the 7 month old daughter whose baby daddy is doing time (1-3 years), said, “Maybe it’s a sign how she died right before the election and all.” And the man with the 16 year old daughter whose baby mama remarried, said, “I hope not.”
Seemed like the man took the woman to mean her death would have to be a bad sign, but I don’t think so. My grandmother died a couple weeks ago. She was in my dream last night, watching me while I read a passage from the New Testament at the funeral of my former bus driver who in real life is actually a crossing guard who wears a wig. I was completely fumbling over my words, but regardless, she was watching peacefully from the back row.
I wear a scarf she knitted years and years ago. Her photo is on my newly installed Ikea shelf. I keep thinking about how she told my cousin she never remarried because, “There are a lot of crumbs out there.” Guess what I’m trying to say is, death is sad, paralyzingly sad sometimes, but I don’t think it can ever be a bad sign. People are created, people travel through space for a short amount of time, and then who knows what happens? We leave this dimension? We cease to exist? We burn in hell for all eternity? I dunno. But I’m voting in a few hours and I’m infinitely glad I exist at this time and this place to be able to do it.