Anyone who knows me has had to listen to my rants against technology, despite my making my living with it. But a recent flu helped me nail down what exactly I object to most. The insistence on the binary. Computers are so literal. Most of us grew up hearing stories of how machines would take over, becoming smarter than us. What's become apparent is that we are simply growing more to think like machines, in the binary, no shades of grey. What makes us human-animal. We get impatient when we can't get an answer right now, or the answer isn't definitive. No need for machines to take over, we're almost them. Human-machine.
I was astonished by how much the flu laid me down. As with everyone else who got it, it seemed to work with whatever they were prone to, a customized presence in the body that stayed for a brutal three days or so, then left slowly, reluctantly. Every time I'd try to get up, I'd have to lie down again, and wake up a few hours later wondering what had happened and where the day had gone.
Of course, this was completely excellent for the pets. Yes! A human lying down all day. For 17-year old Dimitri, it meant a full body of places to rest, from chest to feet. For 14-month old Bodie the pup, it meant many opportunities for surprise licks (dead sleep to wide awake via tongue is a very favorite sport).
But at some point, when I was at my sickest, they stationed themselves in a perfect harmonic convergence, one small old one at my feet, one large young one at my head. I was vaguely aware of sighs and then nestlings, and a large paw draped over my own sticking out from beneath the covers. There was a deep stillness, and I slept as if carried on pillows by animals, through a gentle path that ultimately let me back to health.
The crux of it was the floating, then rising, then licking, petting, more floating, gazing, then deep sleeping. All nuances with no edges, all without any "parameters," "settings," or "end date." Just drifting. A guest in the house of animal.