So, in aesthetics there’s a concept called “The Uncanny Valley.” You can read about it on the internet in a lot of places. It basically says that if you chart the relationship of “realness” to likability of something, instead of it just steadily going up there’s a drop when something is very-real-but-not-real. In robotics, specifically, there’s a huge dip in the likability of very realistic artificial things. For example, artificial limbs that move on their own are really creepy. “Toy Story” is great, but “Polar Express” gives you the willies. Instead of being better, they’re so good they’re worse.
Anyway, I think there’s a similar thing for the relationship of cuteness and reality. Case in point: do a Google image search for “morkie.” A morkie is a dog that’s half-Maltese half-Yorkie, and it’s so cute it looks artificial, and therefore isn’t cute at all, it’s just terrifying. See also: Ryan Gosling. So good looking it’s actually unbelievable. Blows my mind. I just don’t trust those people/things.
B-plot of this blog post: Wednesday someone asked me if I was engaged. I wear a ring I got for my 25th birthday on my right-hand ring finger that does kind of look like an engagement ring. (I like to think of it as a ring with which I could do serious damage if I punched somebody). Because of my total ineptitude with, you know, talking to other humans, I said no, and then when she asked me “Don’t you want to get married someday?” I said no because I don’t really like people.
More B-plot: My mom tried to guilt me into going to a baby shower yesterday by telling me that if I didn’t go, then nobody will come to my baby shower. I cackled laughing. What do I care if nobody comes to my baby shower? What does it matter? What would I do with a diaper cake? (Note: Diaper cakes are a real thing. It’s a sculpture of a cake made of diapers. This is something people want to get at baby showers.) In this imaginary future where I’m pregnant who says what I’ll care about or not care about? What kind of threat is that? Nobody will come to your baby shower. Ha. It’s like saying nobody will come to my funeral — what do I care? I’ll be dead.
Barely functional metaphor: I’m OK with all of this because it is all so far out of my realm of reality I can’t even begin to comprehend. A dolphin isn’t stupid because it can’t drive a car — it’s just not a problem a dolphin faces ever.
C-plot: Today I went to a lighting store. If you’ve never been to one (which, for thirty years, I hadn’t), it’s incredible. Completely overwhelming. First of all, it’s packed, wall-to-wall with lamps, sconces, mirrors and hanging light fixtures of ever imaginable shape, size and material. Indoor and outdoor, stuff made of metal, wood, plastic, mirror, crystal, painted-metal tulips, wicker, straw, glass bubbles … just, everything. And some of them are gigantic — like they belong in a humongous ridiculous castle house. Like I wrote, it was completely overwhelming, and I was completely overwhelmed. I just sort of doped around, wide-eyed and confused. I couldn’t remember the difference between anything I saw. I could only remember the lamp or dangling fixture I’d last seen. After about 40 minutes, I had to leave.
I started to have serious doubts about myself. I’m a 30-year-old woman. This should be the kind of thing that makes me all, I don’t know, happy or excited or something. It doesn’t. Do I have the wrong priorities with my life? I don’t care about lamps, just like I don’t care about babies or being pretty because I just want to be good at my job and work hard and get older and die proud of what I did. Why do I need a lamp for that? Why do I need to care about a lamp for that?
Would I be happier with my life/myself/the world if I was more interested in lamps? Are my lamp-shunning priorities ruining my existence?
Act three, where it all comes together: Fuck it. Lamps. And if they can’t handle it, let them riot. I’m not going to be pressured into caring about you. LAMPS. And if I don’t have to care about lamps, do I really have to care about all that other crap? All these things I’m doing “wrong” with my life. No. Not really. I don’t have to choose to waste valuable molecules of caring on stuff that doesn’t matter to me.
Resolution/takeaway message: Don’t threaten me with your beautiful-people-baby-lamp club problems, they don’t mean anything to me.