Monday, November 24, 2008

Soya Sauce in Your Coffee?

No big trauma in today’s events, but still enough going on to inspire a lengthy rant. Now to start with, I poured myself a cup of coffee this morning and reached into the fridge for a dab of cream. And in the act of doing so, there was a slight time delay before sight synapsed with brain, and when it did, I realized I added soy sauce, rather than cream, to my coffee.

But then I think, ‘This is probably how the more creative recipes are made. Furthermore, the bargain coffee I bought needs help and this might just be the help it needs’.
So then I add a dab of cream as well, and take a sip.

Nah. Not for me. Obviously that is not the help this coffee needs.

So I pour a fresh cup, add cream this time, (no soy sauce), and pull out my laptop. And away we go with an inspiring rant. It was about baking and Christmas presents. How I oft give home-baked presents with hesitation, only to find, to my surprise, that receivers of such gifts are truly delighted. And in the writing of that rant, I am inspired to want to give a gift of sweet ‘dainties’ to blogging friends.

So I think about the easiest (and most delightful) thing I have ever made. And then I recall, by some miracle, a recipe I jotted down in a notebook that I have had for more than 30 years. The book isn’t even shelved with other recipe books. It is in a small plastic bag against the back wall of the canister cupboard. There is no sticky stuff on it, no gritty flour, no curled pages. Because, except for the few times I wrote in it, I never use it.

And in that forgotten little book, I find the recipe I want. I still remember the few times I made those crunchy little snacks so many years ago. I remember how delicious they were. Like honey sesame-seed bars, but even better. Made so simply with nothing more than graham wafers, butter, brown sugar, and sliced almonds.

Could I hope to find a more perfect ‘daintie’ for my blogger friends? With only 4 ingredients, 5 minutes to arrange, and 8 minutes to cook. That’s as good as if I made it, packaged it, and sent it ready-made to each one of you. So now I am excited. This little recipe will be my special gift to you.

(Men, stay with me. This blog is not only about cooking.)

Now because the recipe is so old, and because I have not made these ‘dainties’ for eons, I decide to buy some graham wafers and make a test batch so I can be sure that if you try them, you will not be disappointed.

Now I haven’t bought graham wafers for 10 or 15 years either, but while in the grocery store, I grab a box. Turn it over, and oh horror, guess what I see? There on the box, big as life, is the very recipe I wrote this morning in my special blog for all of you. The nerve!

Then—while still in town, Hub and I go to the Hardware to buy some stove pipe for a wood burner. In the outside yard, with other hardware, we see some stove pipe. So we go to that part of the yard. We find the elbows in a large box and the pipe telescoped together nearby. We pick out what we need and go to the cashier.

The clerk cannot find the price code and neither can her Supervisor. So Hub takes the Supervisor back to the box where we made our selection. He laughs. Tells us that no one could ever criticize us for not independently looking (without assistance) for what we need. Turns out that the pipe and elbows in our cart are materials that are not for sale. They belong to a work-crew repairing the store heating system! There is stovepipe in another section of the store but only the not-for-sale-pipe was the size we needed.

I tell you this and the coffee story, to affirm that I am a separate-thinking individual. But despite the expanse of this separation, going back to the incident of the old recipe I wanted to post, here is a prime example of a definite plexus of my mind, with other minds, like-thinking as it were, despite the uniqueness of my thinking in the coffee story and the stovepipe story.

Now you’re going to be sorry you read this because then I start to think.

How do unique minds (as unique as illustrated above) collide the way they do? I am a unique individual. No one was nurtured in the self-same environment, handed the same lessons, or coaxed along the same path, except my siblings. And even they don’t think like I do in many respects.

But yet this colliding of my mind with others, with different backgrounds, differing values and environments – happens way too often to be brushed off as coincidence. I cannot even guess how many times I have written a blog on an out-of-the-ordinary theme only to find on that self-same day there were three more blogs written by other bloggers on the exact same theme.

But that’s not all. I think things, develop and explore them in my mind, then off to bed, grab a book, and there you go. Now I find myself reading about the very thing that I was thinking. It happened again. Last night, as a matter of fact.

I love old books, the older the better. But still in 18th century books, of old England, old Rome, old Italy, and early America and the Wild West, I find expressions of thoughts colliding with my own.

I went to bed thinking about dreaded trips to town for Christmas shopping. And thinking about the guilt I feel because of my love of seclusion. And thinking how ‘not normal’ others make me feel about it. And so, to ease an anxious mind that wants to be left alone, and given solitary space, I randomly pick a book the way I picked soya sauce from the fridge, and this is what I read –

“How calm and quiet a delight
Is it, alone
To read and meditate and write,
By none offended, and offending none
To walk, ride, sit, or sleep at one’s own ease;
And, pleasing a man’s self, none other to displease.”

(and farther down the page…)

…Lord! Would men let me alone,
What an over-happy one
Should I think myself to be, –
Might I in this desert place,
(Which most men in discourse disgrace,)
Live but undisturbed and free!..”

“Retirement” by Charles Cotton (Apr 1630-Feb 1687)

I assume, in reading this, that the bracketed comment referrences a prominent social belief as far back as the 1600’s that those who love solitude are not normal. So here we go, again. How does this happen? How do these thoughts from another time, another world, another space, (i.e. the 1600’s) manage to collide and duplicate social conventions of the 21st century and at the same time, convictions of my own?

So now I have a new theory.

I have always based my God-belief on the unequivocal determination that all the wonders of nature show the hand of a superior being. But maybe, that is not what was intended to give or offer validation of a creator-god existence.

Maybe the spiritualism of mankind stems from all the like-minded thinking that goes on that would never have become apparent without the connectivity of very old books and more recently, The Web.

Archaeologists made us a wee bit suspicious when they first determined that all tribes believed in an afterlife – even the earliest humans that they have been able to investigate. Proof being in the manner in which the dead were buried with cooking pots and hunting tools or other paraphernalia that served crucial purposes in their daily lives.

And so we assumed, that like us, it was nature’s displays of life and death and rebirth that convinced early man of sun-gods, moon-gods, and an after life. But maybe, that is not what it was. Maybe it was colliding thoughts. The thoughts of uniquely different individuals, colliding over geographical distance, ethnic distance, astrological distance, from the Cambrian period right down, or conversely, through the ages to present time?

And then I think about the Bermuda Triangle. It’s not that I necessarily believe all that has been reported about it, but it is the only thing I can think of that resembles the theory I am discussing here. The only reference I can use to spare you from another 30 – 40 pages.

How inexplicable the history of planes and ships that have disappeared there. How remarkable the theories put forth about warps of time, space, speed, and magnetic fields. And the assumptions that in this triangular area one inadvertently slips into another dimension of life – another plane of reality. And a place of disorientation of thought that could easily lead one to add soy sauce to their coffee. And then I wonder if perhaps this skewed environment might be part of the same skewed current that magnetizes thoughts so that they collide across vast distances of time and space.

It is unfortunate that pride in our intelligence makes it necessary for us to rationalize every conviction through our five senses, and anything outside of that ‘box’ is dismissed as fanciful or imaginary. I say that, because maybe thought collisions are a space > (greater than) or = (equal to) the Bermuda triangle.

Maybe it is not patterns of nature, but thought collisions existing somewhere in another plane that causes, each and all of us, to endlessly question, since the beginning of time, why we are here and what life is about. And maybe the answers are forever elusive because we refuse—adamantly refuse—to explore any space that we are convinced is pure fancy, and therefore, for the sake of ‘intelligence’, must be avoided.

Ultimately, maybe all mysteries are resolved somewhere in the current of the garbled global and timeless transmissions of the subconscious that make thoughts collide. We will never know if we don’t investigate such a notion.

So now, that’s it for today. Soya sauce in your coffee, anyone?


the old bag said...

Great post -- glad I hung on until the end (actually, I skipped around, then went back)! Surprisingly, I get it. I've often pondered similarly.

Concept of coincidence? Rather, some odd, yet purposeful placement that appears accidental...depending on how one chooses to view it. Perhaps?

Quantum physics, anyone??

Thank goodness I stick to bicycles and (now) house updates. I'd hate to have my head explode in the midst of painting the kitchen -- we'd never get things back to normal around here!

Roberta S said...

hi OB, you do make me laugh. I laugh with pleasure cause you get it (even though I don't know an iota about quatum physics). I laugh because our minds connect.

And I laugh because soya sauce and cream in a coffee -- I'm pretty darn sure -- equals 'diaper brown'. Actually I love the diaper brown color you are using but no, you are right, we don't want any head explosions anywhere where diaper brown paint is being used.

Thanks for the comment.

Pauline said...

this reminds me of the theory of the collective unconscious

As much as we like to think of ourselves as needing each other, we all live in our own minds with our own questions and our own selected answers. No wonder we constantly ask the same questions over and over - the answer is different for each of us!

Roberta S said...

pauline, I very much appreciate the comment but at the same time it makes me feel guilty that I could have said all this lengthy ramble in a few short sentences -- but my excuse is, 'I didn't know how'.

Of course there remains the thought you added that confusion still reigns when it comes to the answers.

Pauline said...

You make me chuckle, Roberta - one of your chief writing charms is that you do ramble and yet you manage to tie things up so neatly. I like following the many threads. One of my professors once commented on a paper of mine saying, "This piece raises almost as many questions as it answers. I find that the mark of a good paper." Don't go for the Reader's Digest condensed version when you write with such delightful complexity.

joared said...

I like to ponder complex ideas as you've written about colliding thoughts and how or why that happens.

I think you're correct about how new recipes occur, so while not to your taste, there may actually be someone somewhere who will like soya sauce in their coffee. I'll settle for where the accident(?) prompted your mind to wander.

I, too, have often sought solitude, and relished the occasions when I could carve out such time. Now that being alone has been imposed upon me, I've been surprised to discover I sometimes have an excess of solitude. I most notice that when a sudden urge surfaces pressing me to make some comment I think of import, or especially a mundane one, to now absent listening ears of another. Ah, we humans, seems we're never completely satisfied with our circumstances, or maybe I'm the sometimes disatisfied one.

See now where your written thoughts have caused my own to evolve to.

Roberta S said...

Thanks for that great comment, joared. Evolving thoughts are a great way to fill moments of solitude when they seem a little too extensive. Which I guess was the case when I went off on this lengthy ramble.