Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How many angels can dance at the end of a sentence?

After work I was walking along the street, and, as sometimes happens, a random phrase popped into my head and I mumbled it out loud to myself before I really heard it. "I am as a god among angels."

Well, clearly, humility isn't a problem I face, but really, in this situation what I found odd was the context. I wasn't particularly happy with myself for any reason at all (no, I wasn't sad either). If you must know, I was thinking about how to get to the talk by the wind-power guy.

The obvious answer is it had something to do with the application materials I was mid-way through writing (a research statement (yes, it's finally done and sent off - NOW I can start working on the harder project - the homeless person challenge) in which much effort went into making myself seem excellentemundo, and the best thing since turduckens besides). Wokay, maybe the good ol' subconscious was pokin' some fun at me. But once I get onto the slippery slope of the-subconscious-did-it, there're so many other beguiling explanations.

Like the one involving the fact that I was going to attend a talk where I'd meet a whole bunch of like-minded people, some of whom were extremely competent at what they did (building windmills). Which I did. Only at MIT. (Or Caltech :) And the wonder of this place is such this happens on a daily basis - I literally walk among the gods of men - the people who are the best at what they do. This is a feeling I've had a few times here, but no, at that point in time it wasn't in my gut, where it'd have had to have been to explain that phrase.

Here's another one - it was kind of pretty right then, light snow on the ground crunching beneath my feet. I was ensconsced in my thick black jacket, and so were this couple who'd just walked past me arm-in-arm, and there was this sense of choreographed loneliness in a crowd. Like the scene from the City of Angels, the sound of the song of which might still have been running in my head (don't quite remember what I was listening to in the office). Again, probably not (too contrived).

And then why the phrase itself? I was pretty sure even as it wormed its way into my superconscious (yes, I obsessively navel-gaze and was thinking about it even then - it isn't just YOU, gentle reader, who gets subjected to this swill) that it wasn't something I'd heard in that form before, and a Google search seems to confirm that. Sure "[X] was as a God among men" is a common phrase, but what in my convoluted cerebrum elevated that last word to angels? And surely even my egotistical self wouldn't insert I/me/myself as the subject of that sentence?

But maybe it is all of these things, and others I haven't yet thought of. If my conscious brain could think of all this in the couple seconds I had before I had to take evasive action to avoid bumping into the bike heading toward me, it's entirely likely that the other sub-cerebellar 80% could do much more in hiding.

And WHY am I using obscene numbers of electrons to generate this? Well, I just think it's fascinating. I think the phrase has pizzaz, and creativity, especially in my business, is such a precious thing.

Thus endeth this ramble.

PS: This sort of post is why I don't advertise this blog (much :) It feels like home and I do whatever here, so it feels good not to have to live up to expectations...

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