Generic Dinner Time

Strike whilst the iron’s hot, that’s what I always say. Strike whilst the iron’s hot. The only problem with this being that nothing is hot anymore! Nothing has been hot for a very long time, nothing has been hot for a hundred thousand million years at least. Even then there was nothing that you could actually call ‘hot’. Not ‘hot’ as such. There were a few tiny thermal gradients here and there and so I suppose you could say that that was at least something. Very, very small thermal gradients – mere fractions of a decimal point – but at least that was something. That’s a bit of excitement, at least. ‘Hey guys, there’s a region of space 0.0000003° warmer than the equilibrium temperature just over there to the left, can you believe that?’ How exciting is that? I could write a feature article on that – that would drum up quite a bit of interest. That was hundred thousand million years ago though, don’t forget. Everything’s quietened down rather a lot since then. Not a lot happens these days. Entropy is a bitch really isn’t it? It’s not exactly what you’d call a barrel of laughs. Not exactly a laugh a minute. It’s not even ‘a laugh every hundred thousand million years’. It’s not even that…


When entropy sets in this bad it even affects your memory. That’s one thing I’ve realised recently (‘recently’ being a somewhat relative term, you understand). All my memories have started to run into each other, like dinners that all taste the same. So there I am trawling through my memories, looking for some of the highlights of my life, so to speak, and in due course I find something and start reminiscing about it, and then I realise it’s exactly the same as the last memory I was reminiscing over! The details are different but the flavour is the same. Always the same old flavour – and it isn’t a very pleasant one either. I can’t identify what it is exactly, but it isn’t nice. As I was implying just now, it’s rather like some institutional dinner that you start to eat because it looks nice – perhaps it’s bangers and mash or  lamb chops with baby new potatoes and mint or maybe it’s a liver and bacon and creamy mashed potatoes and onion rings or maybe it’s steak and chips and peas or whatever, but as soon as you start tucking into it, with the gusto that is born of your desperation to find gastronomic titillation after untold billions of years of tedium, then the next thing is that you are noticing that super-familiar taste, that taste that brings you down to earth with a bump, that taste that reminds you of every other meal you ever eaten at this particular restaurant…


So what we’re talking about here is what we might call ‘the generic dinner’. ‘I think I have the generic dinner please,’ you say to the waiter. ‘With extra gravy if you don’t mind.’ You spend at least half an hour perusing the menu but there was never any doubt over what you would order. You’re umming and ahing and all the rest of it but it was always a foregone conclusion what you were going to decide on. You always come into the very same restaurant at the very same time and you always order the very same meal. You always say exactly the same thing to the waiter – ‘I think I have the generic dinner, please.’ you say. The waiter says nothing but write down your order on a  gravy-stained notebook. He sniffs disdainfully and walks away – he’s only a figment of your imagination anyway – they have been no real waiters around for trillions of years! To pass the time whilst waiting for my meal I look at what my fellow diners have ordered. The lady to my left was toying with a limp looking salad – she was obviously not very hungry. She scowled as she caught me looking at her so I quickly turned my gaze elsewhere. There was no one else to look at however and my attention kept wandering back to her again, much to her evident displeasure. I’ve a feeling that she might be my feminine ‘alter ego’ but I could be entirely wrong in this. More often than not I am – wrong that is. I have a gift for being wrong…


Memory’s a funny old thing, isn’t it? My memory is, anyway! My memory keeps playing tricks on me – it keeps presenting me with some apparently meaningful event, something that apparently meant a lot to me at one time, but then when I look into it further there’s nothing there. It’s a damp squib. It’s a non-memory – it’s a non-event disguised as a bona fide occurrence. It’s rather like receiving a present that turns out to be made up entirely of wrapping paper and ribbons but with nothing actually in it. ‘I remember when all this was the singularity’ I declare grandly, to no one in particular. ‘Now look at it. It’s all gone to rack and ruin…’ No one listens to me, though. No one cares what I have to say any more. And no one here apart from me remembers the singularity, needless to say…







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