It’s easy enough to look at a morning or an afternoon or even an entire day and to tell myself that I used it well–I’m not throwing away my shot–even if it wasn’t particularly memorable or daring or fun, because one of the many millions of things to which life could be analogized is a sum: of minutes, of days, of joy and pain and everything in between. And okay, maybe it’s oversimplifying things to say that the human condition = good stuff – bad stuff, because then that means figuring out what makes an experience good or bad or whether all of life falls completely into one category or the other (disclaimer: pretty sure it doesn’t). But the fact that we have memories and the ability to learn from experience means that on some level, we do experience life as a sum; perhaps a more sprawling and complex one than mine, but a sum nonetheless, as we collect months and years and memories in hopes of achieving that elusive critical mass required to swing and make an impact on some small piece of the world.
As we roll past the city lights on the 405, I wonder what, exactly, we are. By definition, we are just friends–the “just” is very important. We enjoy spending time together; we get along well; we are comfortable. We have accepted a status quo. But as I watch the other side of the freeway fly by, headlights streaming past like beads falling from a string, I am not sure this particular state of being is meant to last. But right now, Ben Rector is singing about falling in love, and I look straight ahead because eye contact during love songs would most definitely upset the balance we are trying so hard not to.
By the time we find parking, we’re late. We order separately, and it’s not until after we’ve joined the rest of our group that I realize we’ve gotten the same damn drink.
The toilet overflowed the other night for no apparent reason, and I still don’t know what’s wrong with it. I check inside the tank, to make sure the chain connected to the little rubber flapper connected to I’m-not-quite-sure-what is still there, because that’s the only thing I know how to fix. Fortunately (or not), it’s present and working perfectly.
We have a plunger, so I find it–and realize that I don’t actually know how to use it. I understand the physics of creating negative pressure, but now there’s a plunger in my hand and I’m suddenly uncertain; do you just use it once? Do you keep plunging and hope for the best? I Google it. More than ever, it feels like I’m playing at adulthood.
Enzymes catalyze reactions by positioning substrates in a favorable configuration. This is typically illustrated by two models–lock and key, and induced fit. The lock and key model suggests that the enzyme’s active site is precisely shaped to accept its substrate, while the induced fit model instead suggests that the active site changes shape upon coming into contact with a substrate, in order to bind it securely. So basically, enzymes echo all my unanswered questions about identity and relationships–are relationships based on a lock and key model, in which two people click just so and are locked into place, or on an induced fit model, in which upon coming into contact, two people mold each other–pushing back and giving in just enough to create a perfect fit? I know that I have been bent and molded and grown by others, in the same way that I see scraps of my own identity woven into the people I love.
A common tumblr factoid (thanks, I think it’s a great source, too) says you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. I imagine it as a giant Venn diagram–circles of five people intertwined and overlapping, life on life on life, pressing in just the right places to bind themselves together.