Saturday, February 19, 2011

Purple Pixelated Macaws, Want, Choice, and the Wheel of Fate

Purple Pixelated Macaws, Want, Choice, and the Wheel of Fate

Sadly, my Maine Coon, my dearest little buddy, remains missing. It’s been a full week, and I’m already grieving in anticipation of the worst case scenario. I woke up early this morning and drove around fruitlessly in my pajamas, unwashed hair lank on my forehead, make-up-less, teeth un-brushed, looking for her, calling her name—until after a few hours, I realized that searching for her is this way is nothing but an exercise in existential, Waiting-for-Godot-like torment.

Last night, as I was sacked out in bed sobbing, Mr. Typist came in and told me that I should go log onto my favorite MMORPG, as he had bought one of my main characters a gift. I was hit with a sudden intuition. “Did you get me that Hyacinth Macaw?” I asked hopefully. He smiled. I slumped shakily to my computer to log in, and sure enough, there it was…the vanity pet that I had been lusting after three years, an extremely rare “drop” in the game—one that has a less than one percent chance to be looted off of the Bloodsail Pirates in Stranglethorn Vale. I don’t know why I’ve always wanted that pet so much, except that’s rare and special. Having rare and special things makes me happy, even if those rare and special things amount to nothing more in the end than a few lines of computer code that make up the numbers and pixels that create the light vibrations of “purple” and “blue” in the shape of a slightly oversized and gawky parrot. (And it was a fun, momentary distraction from my grief, even though it does nothing but hover there and look pretty.)

Why the hell am I babbling on about the Hyacinth Macaw? My point, and I do have one, is that lately I have been caught up in maelstrom of Want. Aside from wanting Zooey home, I have been waiting for and badly wanting something else in particular for several months that has been very slow in coming. Upon recent further examination of this object of want, I have realized that my desire itself is based on illusion. My want is not based in any sense of reality, but in a fantasy that I have built up in my heart and head about what this thing might do for me; what it might rescue me from; the person it might make me into. When in fact, it’s no more real than the elusive Hyacinth Macaw; something that is valued not for its inherent worth, but only for its manufactured rarity and for what is projected onto it. A false economy of desire. And it’s something that is not even in my grasp yet, and may not ever be. The receipt of this thing depends on numerous factors involving fate, chance, and more mundane variables which are now completely out of my control—the same factors that helped Mr. Typist come across the rare Hyacinth Macaw on the in-game auction house at just the right moment before it was snapped up by someone else. And it’s something that, if it comes my way and I choose to receive it, may only make me mildly happier, or distract me for a brief period of time. It may turn out that the power of my own wanting is far more pervasive than the power of the thing wanted.

Life is made up of complex interactions between choice and chance. Control is an illusion. And no one makes it to where they are in their lives based solely on self-determination. We all are brought to where we find ourselves by an interplay between choice and chance, between decision and fate. And sometimes choices are driven by a want that has more to do with illusion and dreams than hard-core reality, and maybe that’s okay. Maybe without making “bad” choices, we can’t reach the place we’re meant to get to in our lives.

--Kristen McHenry

P.S. If you are so inclined, please ask whatever sky or earth or flying-spaghetti -monster god you commune with regularly to help Zooey get home safe. I am so heartbroken right now. Thank you all for your good wishes. I have will detectives on the case shortly. She is mircochipped and all of the shelters in the Pacific NW have been alerted that she's MIA.

This is what she looks like:

Missing since February 12th from 2200 block of NW 59th in Seattle.


Jo-Ann said...

Your last paragraph is perfect. Especially the line, "And no one makes it to where they are in their lives based solely on self-determination". But then again, maybe I am just whole-heartedly sick of marketing schemes and plans that imply if you dont do it right, you wont succeed. Well, I'm all for doing it wrong for awhile... maybe what I thought were "bad" choices were the best there were.

Jo-Ann said...

forgot to say that I have a candle lit for Zooey. Keep us updated... she'll hear us calling. J