Saturday, November 20, 2010

Do Sweeteners Dream of Electric Sheep?

4-ish in the morning. I wake up, sit on the side of the bed a moment to pass from sleep to wakefulness, then rise. I creak downstairs and set a pot of coffee to boil. Switch on the television set to catch up on some TiVo'ed programs from the week just past. Coffee brewed, I begin to mix the first of several cups of this long and what will probably be an uneventful Saturday.

I pour the milk into my mug, then reach out to the cookie jar where I keep my packets of sweetener. My fingers count for three but pull out four. Too much for this particular mug. I move to put one packet back. What happens next is what causes wonder.

I intend to return the topmost packet, but I drop the second one as well. It falls on top of the packet I meant to discard. I am puzzled. Do I retrieve the packet I was going to keep or the one I was tossing back? I select the one I had meant to relinquish.

And I wonder: Do packets of sweetener feel terror or exaltation at being selected for dissolution at the hands of this creature, me, this thing that must seem to be like God to them? Are they aware of what their fates have planned for them, that one day their bodies will be ripped apart and left behind and all their entrails poured into the swirling abyss of milk and boiling coffee where all becomes one in the great java brew of extinction or nirvana? Is that sound of ripping paper their final scream of horror and despair or rather a triumphant "Yes!" to the unimaginable union with the divine?

I wonder.
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