Close calls, conspiracy theories and email existentialism

My email account disappeared the other day. Where did it go, I wondered dully, as the site informed me that I did not have access to all my emails, contacts, calendar and more. And why did I think this relationship, would last forever – this thing between me and a scrollable screen filled with thousands of brief messages that together added up to the most comprehensive summation of my life, relationships and dentist appointments in one place?

This event was followed by the dawning realization that I had not attended the gym in over two weeks due to travel commitments, parental responsibilities and plenty more, and that the spring in my step had been replaced by weights in my shoes, or the energetical equivalent. OMG, another challenge to the natural order of things. I have since resumed the lifting and straining and repetitive actions necessary to bootcamp my body back into shape, but still. Close call!

Mother-daughter book club: how many times did I snatch this month’s book out of Pookie the bunny’s insatiable jaws, only to suffer an extended eye-rolling, forehead slapping moment in which I thought: Did we leave that book on the plane? On the way back?¬†After I’d carried it all over Belgium and France in my oversized mom purse? The book materialized, only slightly chewed, shortly after, and thoughts about Roald Dahl and his penchant for writing stories in which parents are dead or dangerous were duly exchanged a few days later.

Despite these challenges, near-misses, and the atonement at the gym, I have continued to soldier on with personal work involving familiar soul-searching on the order of: Will I ever change essentially, and do I want to? Is it too late to become a visual artist or a rock star? Are electric guitars heavy? Do they make flesh-coloured tattoos? Is Hillary Clinton a different order of person, or is she like everyone else but more hard-working and ambitious? How come I can’t remember high school math, and does it matter?

The polls say Obama and Romney are running neck and neck; can it really be that the world is evenly divided between conservatives and liberals? How does this divide manifest itself in Papua New Guinea, say, or Greenland? Does the concept of yin and yang apply to US politics too? To everything? Now I’m no spiritualist, but sometimes things just add up. And on that note, I attended a very interesting talk yesterday by Jonathan Kay of the National Post, who spoke about his book “Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground”. He shared his insights about conspiracy theories and the way they arise in the face of what their proponents deem a great evil, such as WWI, the Bay of Pigs, or September 11. Whether left-wing or right-wing, conspiracy theorists attempt to reconcile reality with their world view, with fascinating results – especially if you spend any time in the blogosphere.

So you see, I’ve had a full week, but here’s the thing: all around the world, people are having much fuller weeks, and much harder also. News came in this morning about the killing of J. Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya while he was in Benghazi yesterday at the American consulate. As usual, sectarian violence undermines the better efforts of thoughtful believers and nourishes the fantasies of the paranoid. It’s a terrible tragedy among too many.

Here’s to real conversation among all people, left or right, religious or not, and may everyone have a much better week.



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