Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Garden of Forking Paths

I realized something today as I stood in front of the beverage section of the Twilight Zone: I am paralyzed by too many choices. Even now I still stand here, creating this post using my iPhone. Okay not really, and I don't have an iPhone, but in some other version of this world I do. Eventually I did pick out a bottle of V8 Splash, leaving behind the dozens of other choices.

I then sat down to by bagel, apple, and "juice" and attempted to read "The Garden of Forking Paths," all the while sufficiently distracted by the warmth provided by the sun that finally decided it had ignored Provo long enough. Needless to say, I didn't get much reading done, nor did I understand much of what I did read. I quickly read a summary online, and then went to class, hoping I was prepared enough. But no, not really. There was an essay quiz, for which I was able to produce moderately coherent ideas...at a very slow pace.


"The Garden of Forking Paths" by Jorge Borges presents the idea through a fictional short story that at every point of choice, time branches off into many possible futures, all of which happen simultaneously. These paths completely diverge or run parallel to each other, and sometimes they converge. While I am not sure about the many continuum of time occurring simultaneously (if there is anything I am not it is a physicist), the class discussion certainly sparked my interest. What about the decisions I had made recently? If I had been more prepared for class, perhaps I would have included some brilliant insight in my essay, which would have left my teacher weeping on her desk. Certainly she would have shown this insight to her husband in the English Department, who would have shared it with the rest of the faculty, leading to an offer to work with me on some book that will change the world and immortalize me...but that is in some other time continuum. In some other divergent forking garden path it is very probably that I did stand in front of the beverage section, iPhone in hand, unable to make a decision (but then I never would have read the text or been in class, making this particular post not probable, but let's not overanalyze anything). As I told my rommate about all of this, and said something to the effect that my choice of juice probably wouldn't have changed the course of my life, she provided this alternate future: "What if you had picked up some juice with cranberry in it (I hate cranberry juice, and she knows this), and the guy behind you in line was so impressed, because he loves cranberries, that he asked for your number, you guys dated and got married. Your marriage would be based on a lie!" So it's a good thing I didn't choose cranberry...or is it? Maybe my choice to buy that delicious, but surely calorie-dense cookie began my path towards 50 pounds of weight gain. But maybe my decision to go running made by path converge with another where I maintain weight (dare I mention lose weight?).

Whatever other possibilities existed for me in the infinite versions of my future, I am glad that this one includes graduation from college in a short while.

I am fast approaching a fork in my garden, and one which is more obviously divergent. Dietetic internship results will be posted on April 20th, at 12 am CST. Which means that at 11 pm on April 19th, I will be attempting to access the webpage, along with every other person that applied for an internship. So when I finally see the results two hours later, I will be taking my first step on the diverged path of my future.

6 comments:

JulieD said...

Katy, that was an AWESOME post. Much for the long wait. But what if you had made all the same decisions, but had left one minute earlier to go to class, and on the way you had been handed one of those insanely obnoxious fliers that are constantly rotating around campus, this one telling you of a career fair in the WLK RIGHT THEN, and you went and decided to completely change your major/degree/life? What then?

Katy said...

Holy cow! The infinite web of possibilities continues...Which means that in some other dimension/time continuum or whatever you want to call it, I am sitting in front of my adviser right now telling her that I have decided to pursue a career as a fortune cookie writer.

Donna said...

Very nice post Katy. We'll be anxiously awaiting April 20th. Right now though, I have to choose between the infinite possibilities of how to yell at my kids to go to bed.

Laura Bain said...

Katy! I showed your mom your blog one day and she said, "I loved reading that. Katy is such a nice girl, you know the type?" Haha! Moms are great :) You are too! We need an update by the way...

mz.swimprincess said...

i'm sure you've been counting down the days, maybe even hours till the internships are posted, i'll be praying for cali(even though i will only be here for less than a year, but those are minor details)

Gramps said...

Hi Katy,
Great photo to accompany your excellent comments.
Love,
Dad