Monday, July 28, 2008

Schrodinger's Chick

A friend of mine tried to explain teenage girls to me once. He started out with, "How well do you know quantum physics?" Umm, well there are these quark thingies and... Fortunately he interrupted me before I could embarrass myself further. I sure as heck didn't understand teenage girls when I was a teenager, and I don't understand them now, even though a great many harvests have come and gone since then.

He continued. "It's like Schrodinger's Cat."

"Oh yeah, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and all that." I relaxed, back on slightly more familiar ground.

"Right" my friend went on, "there's no way to know the state of the item in question without observing it, so you can consider it to be in a mix of all possible states until you actually observe it and it resolves to a single state."

The light went on! Girls, and by extension Women, exist is a great many states all at once, and it's only when you open your big fat mouth and say something do they note that they are being observed and resolve into a single state. To wit:

You're hanging out with your sister, lady friend, paramour, soul-mate, whomever, and things are fairly amiable. This is too good to last.

Out of the blue she hits you with: "Do these jeans make me look fat?", confirming that you don't have to be psychic to know the day, hour, and minute of the apocalypse. "It's a nice world, and I'd rather stay in it for a little while longer" you think to yourself. So you mutter something unintelligible but vaguely upbeat and hope that something distracting will happen. Like maybe Hillary Clinton will burst into the room screaming "Oh my God! I love what you've done with the colors in here! I must have you on my committee!"

No such luck, and she fires the fat jeans question back at you, along with a look that says, "If you break eye-contact without giving me an answer you're going to be able to hit all the high notes in The Star Spangled Banner."

Now realize that up until this point her behind has been both narrow and wide, fat and thin, Humpty and Dumpty. But now it's going to resolve. And as often happens when matter changes state on a quantum level, it's going to release a startling amount of energy. Almost certainly in your direction.

It's the simultaneous need for, and abhorrence of, being observed that drives the teenage soul. The only question more terrifying than "What if somebody sees me?" is "What if nobody notices me?". Maybe that's why cell phones and facebook are so popular with the acne-and-hormones crowd. They get to see and be seen more often, but at a lower, less volatile, intensity.

* * *

They say youth is wasted on the young. Buuuuullshit. You can have it. I say middle-age is where it's at. I'm at the top of the bell-curve, and the view is spectacular.

I don't have to impress anybody - I'm already married. I can cruise grocery store with a terminal case of bed-head, in swimming trunks and mismatched plaid socks, and nobody will say a word about it. Heck, people under thirty can hardly even see me at all. Best of all, it's my generation's music they're playing in the check out line.

"Hey, Honey! Remember those shirts that were so popular twelve years ago? This one still fits!" My wife would say "Cool!" and congratulate me on the money I'm saving. No one who subscribes to Maxim can say that.

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