On Microwavable Meals & Calculations


Think about a recent occurrence in your life, and most likely, you will begin to unravel a ball of other. That event will become a mere twine in a tangling of cause-and-effects. Most of us go on living thinking that our lives, the world, and whatever this space is that we occupy is one which functions in a logical, consistent order. Whether it's a national event in the news or a personal one—small or grand—we calculate & reason. We say "Oh, certainly B happened, because A is this way" and so on. We reason our way through, from the behaviours of others to larger unpredictable events. 

A character in one of my favourite books compares this phenomena or idée fixe to microwavable meals. When you put a packet of rice pudding in the microwave, for instance, press the button, and it rings, you have hot rice pudding. But what happens to the rice pudding in the duration of the time before the microwave rings? For all we know, it could be turning into macaroni & cheese then back into rice pudding when we're not looking. She posits that it's only a presumption that when we put rice pudding in that we will get rice pudding out. What if we opened the door and out came macaroni & cheese instead?! Would you be horrified? Or would it be more real?

When we think of it in terms of our lives, is it ever as consistent or predictable as rice pudding in, rice pudding out? Or is it more like this post, where the actuality doesn't match the expectant picture we have in mind or what we do see? Life, as we truly do know it but often can't acknowledge it, is not as calculable. It's not, in reference, as predictable as the floor plan of gentrifying high-rise developments. It's like our impatient opening and closing of the microwave door. Perhaps the world is like that. We end up with whatever's on our plate depending on the minute at which we pull open the door to take a peek. Is what we're hoping for ready?  

Isn't it that every time we put something in the microwave that is life, there's at least something different that we get, something that we have never seen before? And isn't that the delight, the sweet rice pudding of life?