Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ride or die...

So I know I am really late to the party but I've been listening to the Serial podcast at the gym this week. (I haven't finished it yet so no spoilers!) It's really fascinating and at times I've had to step back from the me I am now and put myself back in to high school me to really understand things.

When you listen to this story as an adult (for those that haven't heard it's about a murder and the main witness is someone who was part of the cover-up) you wonder why in the world were no adults talked to. If you knew a friend had killed someone why in the world would you help THEM instead of calling the police right away?

And then I have to think back to being a teenager.

Is there any other time in your life that you are more ride or die with your friends than those years? Now maybe covering up a murder is a bit extreme, but I know that in my high school years we did things that would have sent the adults in our lives spinning. We did some really stupid things and some flat out dangerous ones. But at no time was an adult called in. And if someone did rat you out? They were cut out. Dead to you. Not literally dead, like in Serial, but socially dead.

Ride or die.

Because of Facebook I am back in contact with a lot of those friends from that time and there is still a bond there. Even though decades have passed since we hung out; since we were part of each other's daily lives; since we were each other's whole worlds. There is still a bond. Still a feeling of them being part of me. And they are. They helped shaped me during those really formative years. So they are a part of who I became. Along with everyone else I've come in contact with over the years, to a certain extent, but there is something about those teenage friends. Like the songs I grew up with. It's part of the fabric of my being.

Which of course leads me to want to write a story. What do you do with the people who know where the bodies are buried?

It's brewing...brewing...brewing...

I just don't want to scare my high school friends too much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Nathan put the letter and the package on the work bench next to Elizabeth. It had been along time since she had sat there and watched him work but it was so familiar it felt like no time had passed at all.

"Why didn't we get married?" she teased him.

"I don't recall ever asking you."

Elizabeth looked at him with those impossibly green eyes. "That's right, you didn't. But you did love me. I am not crazy right?"

"No. You aren't. I did love you. Very much."

"Then why didn't you ask?"

Nathan put down his chisel and blew the stone dust away from the marker, "That's not a question a man wants to ask if he's sure the answer will be no."

She gave him her best flirtatious smile, "What makes you think I would have said no?"

He looked at her and she had to catch her breath. She had forgotten the way he could see her. Really see her. He always knew her truth. The coy smile faded away, "I would have said no. But I did love you. That's the truth."

"I know you loved me. But I was going to stay here and take over Dad's shop and Mom's interests. I knew that wouldn't be enough for you. You wanted to go places and do things. You always said so. Marrying me would not have made you happy. And I only wanted you to be happy."

She swung her feet. "Well that didn't quite work out as planned." She took a deep breath, "Did she know about me?"

Nathan shook his head, "No. Not really."

"Why not?" Elizabeth pouted, "I would think I would have been important enough to mention."

"Delphine was my world. For the twenty years we were married she was my all. I wouldn't have wanted her to feel like she hadn't been my first choice for even a second. She knew I had dated other people, of course, and even knew that one of them was you. She teased me about my celebrity girlfriend a few times. But really know about you? To think I would have married you if you had been willing? No. I didn't tell her. We all just want to be someone's first choice."

Elizabeth laughed a bitter laugh, "I understand that. So much." She waved her hand toward the letter and package, "Were you surprised to hear from me?"

Nathan worked on the stone marker for a little while before answering. "I was at first but then when I saw the stories it made sense to me that you would reach out. Though I am surprised you remembered after all of these years."

Elizabeth laughed, "That's not really something you forget now is it?"

Nathan nodded, "True."

She traced her finger along a design carved in the top of the work bench, "Your mother was amazing."

Nathan gave a small smile, "Yes she was. Thank you."

"Did you know I came to see her when she was in the hospital? Did she tell you?"

"She didn't. But the nurses did. They were very excited that you were a family friend." Nathan smiled again; the sad one that always made Elizabeth's heart clench, "Thank you for that. I know it meant a lot to her that you came. She loved you too. Both of them did."

Elizabeth looked up at the ceiling trying to keep the tear from leaving her eye, "I was so sorry that I couldn't make it for your dad's funeral. We were in London and I didn't hear about it until too late. I would have liked to have said good bye."

"You can go visit him while you are here if you'd like. He and mom are together. I made one stone for them. I can show you on the map where it is."

"Thanks, I'd like that. Should I go before you finish or..."

"Yeah. It will be tomorrow before it's done so you will have time to wrap things up here before you leave."

"Okay, thanks. I thought I might go by my folk's old place. And maybe the school. Just see how the town has changed."

"It really hasn't much. A coat of paint here and there, but really small towns are small towns right? We just sort of plug along."

"You haven't changed at all."

Nathan ran a hand through his hair, "A little grayer, a lot more wrinkled, I've changed."

"Maybe. But not in any important way. And the gray suits you. You always had gray in your hair from the marble and stone dust anyway."

He laughed, "Delphine used to say that. 'Are you going gray or just working too much?'"

"Would I have liked her?"

"No. You wouldn't. You never liked anyone who had something you felt was yours."

Elizabeth laughed, "I really was horrible wasn't I?"

Nathan shook his head, "I wouldn't say horrible, but I would say you were possessive. Do you remember how much you hated Claudia?"

Elizabeth covered her face with her hands, "I do. I was awful to her! What a brat I was."

"Yes, you were. And her only sin was dating Peter after you did. Years after you did."

"It wasn't years, it was only 18 months..." Elizabeth caught Nathan's eye, "I know that's not any better..."

Nathan laughed, "It's not. But you are who you are. So no. You would not have liked Delphine. But if it weren't for me you would have. Everyone liked her. She was a good person."

"Do you still miss her?"


"Were you tempted to call me after she died?"

Nathan looked at her, "I would be lying if I said no. I looked you up online a few times. Saw what movie you were making. Saw the two of you traveling the world. I knew that you hadn't changed. I hadn't changed. You were happy. That was enough."

"If only I had known the truth." She put her hand on the letter, "Do you think I'm crazy?"

"I think you are Elizabeth. Passionate. Dedicated. Determined. Elizabeth."

She gave him a half smile, "You didn't really answer the question."

Nathan laughed, "Maybe a little crazy. But it's your choice. You made it. Though you can still back out if you want. You know that."

"Yes, I remember. I remember when your mother showed us. Or I guess me. You already knew right?"

"I did. I always knew. You can't really be like my parents and keep your kid in the dark. Making gravestones is an odd job. Tying souls is even odder."

"Tying souls. I thought it was so romantic sounding."

"It can be. When you go visit them you will see the best version of tying. They chose to be tied to the stone. Dad waited for her there. For me to add her words. Beloved Husband. Beloved Wife. Eternity is not enough."

"And they will stay there until the stone wears away?"

"Yeah. Then they will move on."

Elizabeth smiled again, "What about you? Did you and Delphine choose that as well?"

Nathan shook his head, "No, Delphine and I never had children. The line ends with me. There would have been no one to do the binding. So she passed on to...well, where ever you go when you choose to leave."

Elizabeth looked at the package, "Did you open it yet? Does it have what you need?"

"It does. I checked it out. I just wanted to talk to you first. To make sure you were positive."

"I am. I thought it might fade away. But it hasn't. There were vows made. I took them seriously."

Nathan nodded, "I know you did."

She tried looking at the ceiling again but couldn't hold back the tears this time, "He promised me! He promised to love only me. Forsaking all others. He promised! There were vows made!"

Nathan reached out to wipe the tears away but stopped when she waved him off, "I'm fine. Really. I will be fine. Now."

Nathan went back to his carving giving her the privacy to compose herself.

"Did you see the story?"

"I did."

"Before you got the letter or after? I was hoping you would get the letter first so you would be ready."

"I did get the letter first. I tried calling you. Before. But I think I was too late."

"Yeah, I know. I heard the ring. I knew it was you. But it was too late."

Nathan nodded. "The stone's finished. I need to wait for daybreak for the tying. It's more complicated since you will be tied to a living person and only using the words as a bond. I'll need the sunrise to help."

Elizabeth nodded, "'There is power in the spaces before and after.' I remember your mother telling us that. Use those spaces. I always tried to begin filming new movies at sunrise or sunset. Did you know? I can tell you the ones that flopped were the ones I started in the middle of the day." Elizabeth ran her hands down her legs, "That's when I found them together. The middle of the day. There should have been no power there. But it was enough to destroy me."

Nathan raised an eyebrow at her.

"I'm not being overly dramatic. Stop looking at me like that!" Then she laughed, "God I missed you. Thank you for this. I know you probably don't agree."

"It's not my choice. It's yours. I do feel badly for him." Elizabeth glared, Nathan went on, "Not that he doesn't deserve your ire, but this is a steep punishment."

"There were vows."

Nathan held up his hands in surrender, "I know. I know."

Elizabeth nodded.

"If you are going to take a tour you better leave now. You will need to be back here by ummm, let's say 4:30 so we can be ready for first light."

And with that she was gone.

Nathan picked up the letter and looked it over again.

Dearest Nathan,

I know you will be surprised to hear from me. I am hopeful this letter reaches you before the news of my suicide. I will explain when I see you but I need you to bind me to that worthless piece of shit husband of mine. Till his death do us part now.

I have signed this with my blood and my will stipulates that you should get a package from my lawyer with a bottle of ash from my cremation. If I remember your mother's instructions correctly that should be enough for me to come to you for the binding. I'm enclosing a lock of his hair and a few drops of his blood (don't ask me how I got it) in this letter as well. That should work for his part.

Talk soon!

All my love,

Nathan put the hair and the cotton ball with the dried blood in his mother's mortar. The poor guy really had no idea what he had unleashed. If he thought the tabloid stories about Elizabeth killing herself over his infidelity were bad just wait until he spent every day with her right by his side reminding him of what he did. She did not like people to take her things. And she especially did not like her things to allow themselves to be taken.

He stepped back and looked at the stone. Only one word. It was the only one he would need.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dead like me?

The past couple of years had not been the best for Julie. They had been, in fact, the worst years of her life. Which was ironic considering it all went downhill when she died.

She remembered the moment perfectly. She had been driving to work going over the 1,001 things on her to do list for the day when the semi-truck headed east bound did not see the red light and ran in to her brand new never even made a payment on it Prius headed southbound. As she saw the truck headed her way and heard the squeal of the tires and the blare of his horn she thought, "I am too busy for this shit today!" and then there was a flash of light and she was standing in front of a dude guarding a gate and checking a book that was balanced on a podium.



"What is your name?"

"Julie Fromentheyer."

He ran his finger down the page and hovered above a space, "Essence please."

"Excuse me?"

"Your essence. I need to collect it before you can move on. Just put it in the box right here."

He pointed to a glowing box at his feet. She looked closer. It looked like it was holding swirling light.

"How do I give you my essence?"

"Just drop it in the box. I've told you."

"But where do I get it from?"

He sighed deeply, "For goodness sake, you are holding it in your hand aren't you? Just put it in the freaking box!"

Julie held her hands up, "I'm not holding anything."

"You're not holding anything? What? Don't tell me you left without your essence? You can't just leave your essence behind!"

"Okay, great, but since I don't know what you are talking about you can't really get mad at me about it!"

He wasn't listening to her though. He had picked up what looked like a walkie talkie and was shouting to someone, "WE HAVE A CODE 48! I NEED SOMEONE DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!"

As soon as he had finished speaking there were three more people with him at the podium. There were two in what looked like contamination jump suits and an older woman carrying a very large pocketbook.

"Confirmed. She left her essence behind." one of the jump suited arrivals announced.

"Were you able to recover it?"

"Negative. The shell was still functioning so we were unable to clear the essence." the second jump suited arrival responded.

"Then she's all yours. Good luck." and with that he closed the book and everyone and everything disappeared except Julie and the older lady.

"What in the world is going on?" Julie asked not sure she would get an answer.

"What is the last thing you remember?" the woman rummaged through her purse and pulled out a small notebook and pen.

"I was on my way to work, and...oh crap. Am I dead?"

"Well..." the woman paused from her note taking. "You are mostly dead."

Julie laughed, "To blave..."

The old woman just looked at her.

"Like Princess Bride? I'm mostly dead." the woman just stared at Julie, "Princess Bride. The movie?"

"Oh a movie. That's right. You watch movies down there for fun."

"Down there?"

"Or up there. Or over there. Directions don't really mean anything. Anyway, back to your memory. You said you were on your way to work, what else do you remember?"

"There was a truck coming at me. He ran his light. I couldn't get out of the way. I thought about how I was angry because he was going to damage my car and I hadn't even made a payment yet, and that I was going to be late for work and I was too busy to be late."

"Oh. There we are."

"What do you mean there we are?"

"This happens sometimes. Here have a caramel." the woman reached in to her bag and pulled out a Werther's for Julie.

"Seriously? You are giving me a Werther's?"

"Well, yes, I have seen that people tend to like a candy to make them feel better."

Julie shook her head. But she unwrapped the candy and popped it in her mouth anyway. Her grandmother had always had Werther's in her purse and it actually did make Julie feel better.

"Okay, I have a candy. Now what do you mean, there we are?"

"You are mostly dead. Like I said. But at the moment of death, or should have been death, as your true essence was leaving your body you announced your pure intention that you did not have time for this and so your true essence popped back in to your body to keep going. See? You cannot announce pure intention to true essence and not have there be consequences."

Julie shook her head again, "No I don't see. I'm here so obviously I did die, right? So how can my body keep going. How am I not the essence of who I am?"

"Well you are you, of course, but there is a part of you, the part that drives you, that is your essence. Your essence is what keeps you going while you are there instead of here. For some people that essence is the love of their family. Or their charity work. Or their kindness to strangers. Or their love of animals. Or the fact that they really really hate people. Essence isn't always so good, but we don't see a lot of those people around these parts. We see the very good, the mostly good, the sort of good and the tries really hards."

Julie reached a hand out and the old woman put another candy in her palm.

"But see, dear, you, well your essence seems to be ummm, being busy. So it just stayed behind in your body and kept going. I would guess right about now you are sitting in a hospital room trying to make a phone call to work."

"So what does that mean then? What happens next?"

"You wait."

"I wait?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so. See now you need to wait for your shell to give out and release your essence. When that happens you can grab it and bring it back to the gate and we will go from there."

"The shell to give out?"

"Well yes, the shell." the woman paused for a moment, "Your body! Yes, your body. Where you were and where you essence is now. Your body was supposed to be deactivated by the truck, you see, but since your essence stayed behind it wasn't." the woman rummaged through her bag again and pulled out what looked like a smart phone. She slid her finger on the screen and Julie saw herself there, in a hospital room and yes, it was true she was on the phone.

The woman zoomed in on a medical chart hanging from the end of Julie's bed. "You are a medical miracle. They would have assumed massive internal injuries but you seem to have survived completely intact." the woman laughed, "Well we know that's not true, but in all essence it is!" she laughed again then noticed the look on Julie's face, "Too soon?"

"So now what? If the truck didn't kill me what will?"

"Oh normal wear and tear, even a busy essence filled with pure intention cannot make a shell last longer than, oh 100 years or so. They just aren't designed to last much longer than that."

"One hundred years? But I'm only 32!"

"Well, yes, it might be awhile. If you are lucky though, maybe your shell will have a massive heart attack or suffer from a catastrophic failure like a decapitation or electrocution! That would be much quicker!"

Julie was horrified. "This is me we are talking about!"

"Oh no, dear, not really. Not anymore. But you do need to recover your essence before you can move on. Those are the rules. One essence per customer sort of thing. You turn in the old one, you get to move along. You don't? Well..."


"Well you have a choice. You can wait for your shell to give out and grab your essence and try again. Or you can just give up and stay in limbo forever."

"Like a ghost?"

"Oh no, not like a ghost. A ghost is an essence that got away. Or was released maliciously. From the other help desk. They think that's funny. But no, limbo is you just well, stuck. Never moving along. Never going back. Just here. But not here, here, there is a place they will send you if you choose limbo."

"Why would someone choose limbo? If it's just nothing?"

"Truly? I think it's the people whose essence is laziness. They never did anything when they had their shell and their essence and them all in one place so it's very easy for them to imagine not doing anything for ever. But that's not really who you are is it?"

Julie shook her head, "No, I don't think anyone has ever used lazy to describe me."

"Then I would guess you will choose to wait for your shell to give out and your essence to come free."

Julie sighed, "I guess so. Where do I wait?"

"Oh you will have to wait with your shell. You wouldn't want to miss the moment."

"What do you mean wait with my shell? Do I get to go back? To keep living my life? That doesn't sound terrible."

The woman reached for another Werther's to give Julie, "Oh no, I am afraid it's not like that..."

And it wasn't. Not really. Julie floated along within reach of her shell while it just kept plugging along. Working on projects, meeting deadlines (ha!), making those car payments, always so busy.

Now thirty four years old. Only 66 years to go. Sixty six more years of watching her old body work and go through the motions of life. Sixty six years of nobody noticing that Julie had died and was no longer really there. Sixty six more years of realizing that honestly there wasn't much difference from when she was there. Only sixty six more years...

Julie thought, "Kill me now." and then unwrapped another Werther's.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Waiting Room...

The door opened and she walked through. The room was pretty full. The receptionist nodded in her direction, "Take a seat."

"Do you know how..."

"Take a seat."

"Of course but I was just wondering how long..."

"Take a seat."


The receptionist cut her off with a look this time and pointed toward an open chair.

She took a seat.

"She doesn't know." An older woman said as she looked up from her knitting.


"How long. She doesn't know how long it will be. That's why she wouldn't let you ask. Some people like to pretend they know it all. Instead of looking like they might not know something they'd rather you just didn't ask the question."

At this the receptionist loudly closed a desk drawer and shot a dirty look their way.

The older woman laughed, "Bang all you want. You still don't know."

"How long have you been waiting?" She asked.

"Oh a good long while I suppose. I never go anywhere without my knitting so I've been able to keep myself occupied though so it's not so bad."

She looked around the crowded room. "Are we all waiting for the same thing?"

The woman put down her knitting, "Well now, that's a complicated question really. Or I guess a simple question with a complicated answer."


"If you were to ask everyone in here there would be more than one answer. See that group over there?" the woman pointed with her knitting needles, "They think they are waiting for something completely different than that group over there," she pointed again to the other side of the room, "and all of these people right here? Well they would be surprised at the thought that they were waiting for the same thing as either of those two groups. And then there are a lot of people in here who never thought at all about it, and just walked through the door and took a seat. And yet, here we all are in the same room."

A younger man in a tied died shirt said, "We are all the same, man. All of us. But they don't want us to see that."

The woman nodded, "Yes, dear."

"Wait, who doesn't want us to see that?" she asked.

"Them, man, them." and with that he nodded off.

"Don't worry about him I think he's still a little stoned. But who am I to judge? I knit, he sleeps, we all pass the time."

She looked at the groups sitting together. They were all huddled talking in whispers watching the receptionist's desk and the door to the inner office closely. 

"They are waiting for their name to be called. That group is pretty sure there is a book back there someone is checking. It must be a really big book, or a really slow reader doing to the checking." the old woman laughed again.

"What about you? What are you waiting for?"

"Me? I'm just waiting my turn. But I have my knitting so I'm not bothered. I once flew all the way to Australia to visit a friend and by the time I got there I had a brand new afghan to give her as a gift. This was before they made you stop bringing knitting needles on planes. I would never be able to make that flight now." the old woman laughed again, "Isn't that the truth?" and she laughed even louder. 

She wasn't entirely sure what the old woman found so funny so she sat back in her chair and looked around the room again. There were a lot of people here ahead of her. She wished she had brought a book. She turned to ask another question but the old woman had gone back to her knitting. She noticed the knitting project for the first time. It was a lovely blue green patterned blanket. It must have been about done since it was draped over her lap, and pooled at her feet, and then trailed down the row of chairs, and over the lap of an older man sitting a row away, and draped over the backs of two other chairs to make a blanket fort for a young boy sitting playing with a wooden train set and then it trailed down the next row.

"How long did you say you have been waiting?"

"Oh a good long while. You might want to make yourself comfortable."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Okay so September is almost over and I haven't posted a single blog this month. This cannot stand so today you get a "I need a post, post."

I have written a few things this month, just nothing for here. I also worked on editing a short story to submit for publication. Even though I've pretty much accepted the fact that my sort of melt down completely precludes me from getting those 6 items in this year, there is still a part of me that's saying there are 4 well now 3 months left to get it done. I could totally do it. Maybe. But if I don't then I don't.

Looking at the rest of the year I need to handle a few things. Getting the remodel started. I am at a standstill right now and just need to make a decision. There are two companies in contention, a big one and a small one. The labor costs are less with the small one so I could get all of the work done. The hand holding would be greater with the big one but I would have to ditch redoing the downstairs bath. I am also looking at timing and the smaller company cannot start until later, but that's not that big of a deal because I also need to:

Paint the living room
Replace the carpet upstairs
Fix the fireplace
Sell or donate a bunch of older stuff
Set up the guest bedroom (furniture/decorating/paint)
Decide what to do with the boot room and the room of requirement
Buy a new dining room table
Decide on a grill and/or plants for outside
Figure out Sabbatical plans

I have a lot to do to keep me busy and still keep the house projects moving along.

I also need to get back in to a workout routine. I've had a really hard time getting back to the five days a week at least an hour a day where I was. Why is it so hard to keep up the routine and so easy to drop it? I think I am just going to restart my program from last year, paying extra close attention to if or when my shoulder acts up so I can switch it up before anything bad happens. And I think I have decided to change the way Brent and I are eating. We will see how that goes, but I won't start that until after we get back from Michigan this weekend because...Dimo's.

So October looks to be busy and the months that follow aren't going to lighten up at all until Spring and maybe not until next year this time.

All of that assuming that November doesn't leave me scrambling for an ex-pat situation!

Seriously...that can't really happen can it??

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


"Well that's a little morbid."

"You think so? I guess I can see that, but I always thought it was kind of romantic."

What triggered this conversation? I told Brent I loved him when I picked him up from work.

Okay, so saying I love him wasn't the morbid part. Let me back up...

One day last week when I picked Brent up from work I told him I loved him when I kissed him hello. He asked what brought that on since it wasn't drop off. I had to stop and think about it and asked if I never said I love him on pick up and he said not often, but always on drop off. I replied, "Well sure, always on drop off. That way if something happens during the day you will always know the last thing we said to each other was I love you."

Which he said was a little morbid.


I picked it up from my parents. My Mom and Dad always left each other with a kiss and telling each other that they loved each other. It was the way they lived. And they did it because you never knew, you could get hit by a car and die today. That is actually my mother's go to line. You can make all the plans in the world but you never know, you could get hit by a car. You shouldn't leave things undone because you never know, you could get hit by a car. And most importantly you should never leave someone you love without telling them that you love them because you never know. Her obsession with this came to her in the worst way possible. My brother Mark died after being hit by a truck when he was a little boy. She knew what it was like to have plans for someone and not be able to see them through. So her worry was real. You never know.

But I still think of it as romantic. Not in the flowers and chocolates style of romance. I am not that person, as you all know. But in the taking care of your partner style of romance. If something were to happen, if I were to get in a car accident, or have a heart attack, or any number of sudden death situations, how lousy would it be if the last thing Brent and I said to each other was nasty? This way he would be left with the last thing I said being, "Have a good day, I love you."

Which then after talking about it he said, "I assumed you thought I would be the one to die."

"No, I was thinking me. You are at work, I'm the one out here with all the cars."

I'm not sure if that made it less morbid or not...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A round and a round we go...

A few months ago a friend sent me an intriguing message. He wanted me to participate in a very small experiment he was running. Basically he wanted my take on a niche group. A bunch of people who believe something out of the mainstream. Way out of the mainstream. Flat Earthers to be exact. Go to their forums. Read their arguments. See how they interact with other people. What did I think? And if nothing else I would be able to get a blog out of something there, he was sure.

He was right. I did get a few blog ideas. Of course it was during the wasteland months so the ideas have just been sitting waiting, thank goodness the world is flat so they didn't roll off.

Okay, I'm kidding. I wasn't a convert to the flat earth belief system. But it was interesting to read their arguments why they believe what they do and why they feel they have the science to back it up.

Now here is where I come totally clean. Though I believe in science; I trust science; I think science holds answers to questions we haven't even thought of yet; I am not really good at that type of science. The stuff that incorporates advanced math. I have a degree in accounting. I like that sort of math. Cross footing makes me happy. But when you start adding in letters and imaginary numbers and complex formulas? It all starts to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher in my head. The only thing I was good at in Chemistry was lighting the Bunsen burner.

So understanding that when they would talk about how "of course the earth is flat because of lmnop+qrz-lto=ronger's theorem"* I would hear Waa...waa...waa..waa...waa...But they were convinced. And it looked really solid. And not at all what we were taught is right. So of course I balanced this with reading pages that were put up specifically to show why they were misapplying ronger's theorem** and that clearly it showed that waa...waa...waa....waa...waa...

Even though I didn't understand and couldn't follow along with the math and science on those blogs anymore than I could on the flat earth ones they made me feel better. Because someone out there was showing why they were wrong. Why it wasn't true. Why no matter how much they wanted it to work it didn't. And I took comfort in that.

Which leads me to what my friend was fascinated by in the first place. The interactions with the people in the group. The Flat Earth people are true believers.They really believe the earth is flat. They aren't doing it as a put on or a joke or to be ironic. They firmly believe this. And they will show experiments they've done that they feel prove their point. The religious ones will quote bible verses to show that they are right. The I only believe what  see ones will talk about places where you should be able to see the earth's curvature and cannot so obviously it's flat. The government conspiracy ones will talk about how it's all been set up to...umm..I really was lost here, I'm not sure why it's a big cover up or what the point of pretending it was spherical when it's flat would be, but there were reasons! But the part that really captured my friend's attention was that the people who were hostile and rude and, honestly, ignorant sounding weren't the Flat Earthers it was the people who would go in to their forums and their pages to call them stooopid.

He wondered why that was. Why did people get so hostile? Why were the Flat Earth people so calm? What was going on here?

And it is interesting to see. And totally different than a lot of the science/non-science arguments discussions. You will see the same level of heat and insults flung back and forth between anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers. You want to see real venom? Look at climate change deniers and climate change realists go head to head. They will rip each other apart. But not on the Flat Earth boards. The believers were really calm and the interlopers were the rude ones.

And I don't really know why. I have a guess. I think it's because they are so far out of main stream society that the only way to get people to listen is to be calm. To present their science. To show their experiments. And if they are calm then maybe people will listen. And as for why the other side was so angry? So rude? Well they are being told that what they believe, what has been taught to them as pure fact with nobody doubting it since the dark ages could be wrong. And that's a little scary.

See I think it's the people who see ronger's theorem*** laid out on those sites and have a moment of doubt who get the maddest. They are the ones whose foundation has been nudged. Me? I wasn't angry at them because I didn't understand their science anymore than the other science. And my faith is in the fact that there is no way a conspiracy this big with this many people who would have to know could have been kept under wraps for this long. I believe in the power of people to not be able to keep a damn secret, especially a juicy one. So I didn't get mad. I don't believe they are right so they aren't a threat to my belief system.

That's what this experiment led me to think about. Belief systems. Groups. Belonging. Feeling special. Feeling smart. Feeling like we know something that other people don't. That's what I think is behind the Flat Earthers. I think they like feeling like they know something other people don't. That by stepping out of the mainstream and deciding that they are right and everyone else, and I mean EVERYONE else, is wrong they are special. And they have a group of people that feed that belief. That agree with them. That tell them they are right. That everyone else is being duped.

How bad can your day be if you know that you are better than everyone else? That jerk you work with who thinks he's so smart? Well he believes NASA and the big round earth fallacy so how smart can he really be? He wouldn't even understand ronger's theorem**** if you wrote it out in crayon on the back of his lunch sack. But you, you are special. You saw through the bullshit and were able to form your own opinion, based on science you could see yourself. Not the spoon fed stuff in your text books. You are a genius. And part of a very small select group of people who also see the light that is coming from a much smaller and closer sun than everyone else thinks we have.

And it's also why I think you don't see the same calm with the climate change deniers or the anti-vaxxers. They are too big. There are too many of them. They have people they can find easily to stand with them and rage against society. The Flat Earthers don't. And the stakes are different. I don't care if you believe the earth is flat. I think it's odd, but I don't really care. It doesn't affect me. But if you and a hundred of your friends live in my city where my friends are now having babies don't get vaccinated? Yeah, I care. If you are a politician who actively fights against finding alternative fuel sources because the money from the lobbyists   you say the science on climate change isn't there? Then yes, I care about that. If what you are doing has an actual effect on my life or the life of a friend? Then I care on a different level. But if you believe that somehow the world is a disc yet doesn't ride on the backs of elephants who are in turn on the back of a giant turtle then well, okay, you get down with your bad self.

So the stakes are lower. Which means they get left alone, mostly. And the people going in a railing against them give them just enough of a touch of persecution to make them circle in closer. Which is good because we don't want anyone getting too close to the ice edge of the earth.  Brrr... Yes, I'm mocking them a bit, but this is what they believe so...

And if you read all of this knowing what you know about me you can see that I can see a lot of religious group think parallels in the Flat Earth people. They believe something that makes them special. They really want you to believe it as well. They are sure that the world is picking on them for what they believe, and in some cases are absolutely right. Because they can find others who think what they do they feel more secure in what they believe. But they are only on the level of a smaller religion right now. Once they get a little bigger they will want to start legislating what they believe like the climate deniers and the Evangelicals.

And then I will have a problem with them.

But until that point it was interesting. It was different. It shined a bright spot light on an area of my life that I am lacking in education. Not the Flat Earth part, the BIG science stuff. Like ronger's theorem.***** I really should look in to that one.

*not the actual theorem they used
**absolutely not the actual theorem
***still not the actual theorem
****yeah, you know the drill
*****did you really check?