assumptions he'd made about the material universe
Monday, September 9 2019
When I arrived home at the end of the workday, the dogs were so happy to see me that they stood in the way of the Prius as I tried to get to the place where it is normally parked. When I got out of the car, Neville, climbed into the passenger seat, eager for a car ride. Apparently the dogs had been bad today, with Neville nipping at the ankles of some Town of Hurley worker trying to weed-whack along the edge of Dug Hill Road. And when Ramona saw Neville doing something so delightfully naughty, she joined in. Mind you, Gretchen had just told the worker not to worry, that the dogs are friendly. It was enough to make one skeptical that Neville could ever be a well-behaved bookstore dog, but in the context of that store, Neville knows exactly how to behave.
When I went back out to the car to get the bag of stuff I'd bought during my lunch break from Williams Lumber (including a length of vinyl hose with a half inch inside diameter), Neville was still in the passenger seat. And then I stepped on something nearly as soft as a dog turd with a foot that was only wearing a sock. I immediately looked down and saw, to my horror, that I'd just stepped on a dead baby bird that Diane the Cat had been toying with. It wasn't clear that the bird had been completely dead before I'd stepped on it, but now it sure was. The feeling of the body of that baby bird left a memory in the nerves of the bottom of my left foot that lasted over an hour.
This evening, while Gretchen was off teaching her prison class, I made some progress on my Raspberry-Pi-controlled rover, finally sorting out the controls so that the buttons on the cam-viewing web page corresponded correctly to the way the rover moved. Later I would drive it around in the dining room, causing Charles the Cat to question some assumptions he'd made about the material universe. But before it was dark, I went with the dogs on an evening stroll down the Stick Trail, stopping for a half hour or so to work on the stone wall I've been building. For whatever reason, YouTube had stopped playing at the end of the last video I'd been watching, so as I worked, I listened to a Christian radio station playing cheesy pop songs about how mind-blowingly awesome Jesus is. It occurred to me that Christianity is, above all else, embarrassing. I'm embarrassed that a moral framework so transparently absurd is the one embraced by all but my most recent ancestors (both my parents were atheists by the time I was born). I understand, of course, that religion has always functioned as an unavoidable component of culture and (in some respects) I can never completely break free of Christian culture, no matter how much it embarrasses me. But hearing these cheesy songs, urging us to have faith in the face of all the evidence, it all seemed like a mental pathology, the sort that results from an abusive parent who must be placated. Jesus said he'd be coming back within the lifetimes of the disciples and he never did. That should be the end of Christianity. But I also understand that in modern times Christianity is flexible enough to accommodate pretty much any belief (for example, behold the embrace by Christian evangelicals of Donald Trump). In this respect, religion serves more as language than as moral framework or system of coercive promises that nobody actually has to keep.
Charles with the new rover bot.
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