Saturday, October 17, 2009

90% dark matter

or, negatives, doctoring the tardis.

I took our three kids to this science fiction exhibition.

All summer they had begged me to take them. And
finally I am motivated sufficiently to plan an outing.
Finally, here, I have change enough to rouse myself.

They seem a little hesitant.

Smiling and laughing as we walk to the subway, but
dragging their heels; frowning and rolling their eyes as
we stop off at the ATM. They ask me how much
this excursion will cost. They examine the crisp notes
I fold and slip inside my pocket, estimating what else
this small fortune might purchase.

Don't worry
, I tell them. I still have enough for cigarettes.

The event, of course, is a dire miscalculation.
They are thoroughly disillusioned. In and out of there in
less time than it takes to wait in line and shovel down
a cheeseburger. All the dads in there get egg on their face.

Life is often like this, I say. Let it be some kind of lesson.

Outside we recoup and gather our losses. I smoke one
cigarette after another and eye up young women pushing
two-year-olds in buggies. Chasing after waifs on reins.

The cigarette burns down and I am forced to seek out a
bin to dispose of it in. It is far too risky just to flip the butt.
My three kids lecture me on the perils of smoking for a
while and grow tired of it enough to suggest we go back in
to the big gallery upstairs. After all, they tell me, it is free.

, dad, my son says. You are crazy to give them a bean.

Wise guy. This time around we fare much better.

There is a benign recycled footwear exhibit where two of us
faff about
and try out odd oversize boots. And generations
of antique stuffed animals; they could not begin to do
this shit now, thankfully, but they remain here for posterity.

For better or worse. Row upon row of pinned butterflies.

Finally, we gravitate to a corner full of black yawning holes.
A universe built on 90% dark matter. A shiny apparatus.
Two PhD graduates lecture us on universal quantities. Shy,
mildly appreciative of a reception. Ursa Major; Chandra.
For minutes longer, they captivate our small community.

In the end, I think, we are all of us consumed by uncertainty.

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