Saturday, February 23, 2013

It Came From Another Dimension

Scientist talk about parallel universes, places where everything that can happen has happened. There are other versions of us in these places, people who live the same lives we do but who have made different choices.

It comes up in science fiction a lot. I saw it on Doctor Who once. The Doctor and company visited an Other London, where people rode around on airships and everyone had cool cell phones. It was great until the robotic Cybermen showed up and tried to upgrade humanity by removing all our fleshy bits.

But we’re not talking about Doctor Who today. We’re talking about a real problem:

There is a universe just a short span from ours that threatens our well being.

And, ladies, the walls between dimensions are getting thin.

I know because I hear a voice in my head sometimes, riding behind my eyes, telling me what to do,
“You should be cleaning your home with all natural cleaners,” she says. “You should be eating more greens. You should have a little garden patch in the back where you grow your own tomatoes and a few herbs. You should take up couponing. You should organize the pantry. You should redecorate the living room. You should buy cheap t-shirts and alter them yourself to look like the expensive, fashionable ones at the store.”
and I can hear as plain as if she’s in the room with me: this is my voice, ladies, but it isn’t me.

She’s an Other Me.

I'm hearing the dimension-spanning echoes of a wiser, better me from one of those parallel universes. Somewhere in these vast and infinite cosmos, there's a version of me that got off her ass and planted that butterfly garden I’d like to have but don’t want to work for. She's got the housework under clockwork-precise control, she’s budgeted for early retirement, and all her leftovers reheat well.

The Other Me crosses over sometimes.
She’s the one who drives to the craft store and does all the shopping there.
She uses my Pinterest account when I’m not looking. Later, I look at her pins and think "What the hell? I don't have the time or inclination to do ANY of this stuff,” but I keep looking because, well, she likes the same stuff I do!
More than once I’ve realized halfway through a delicious dinner that I have no conscious memory of what took place in my kitchen during that meal’s construction.

Sometimes I can almost see her house. I look at my home and I see things, like out of the corner of my eye, and they’re not really there. I tell Matt about how someday I hope to have the house in order, how I hope to take care of the mess. “What mess?” he says. “I don’t see anything wrong here.” I don’t know how to explain that our house just doesn’t look like the Other House.

I’m not alone. I’ve asked my friends. They too hear the voices whispering sweet temptations and maddening impossibilities.
“I bake cookies and make healthy after-school snacks for my kids and the neighbor children. We give homemade food gifts to neighbors for Christmas,” said one friend.
“I am thinner, and I can wear things I used to,” said another. “I have a fabulous yard. I am so amazing I make my own cross stitch patterns.”
Still another said, “I have dinner prepared and the table set when my husband walks in the door. I am wearing an adorable apron with matching heels, and he has never been so impressed with any meal in his life.”
I am these things, they told me.
I do these things.

All the dreams were similar, no matter how many women I asked:
We cook organic, delicious, nutritious meals using seasonal ingredients (from our own gardens). We create our own blue ribbon preserves (again from our gardens). We plan perfect, thrifty grocery lists each week, eschewing all pre-packaged, chemically-enhanced products. We lovingly pack excellent sack lunches for our husbands and children (including cute little notes of encouragement on handmade stationary).
We keep our homes impeccably clean. We maintain linen closets full of crisply folded linens tied with ribbon, little sprigs of lavender tucked in the bows. We have seasonal decorations (“changed out promptly,” one friend says), including a seasonal tablecloth (“lovingly ironed weekly,” another friend tells me). “The toilets clean themselves,” one friend added. Dishes and laundry never pile up because we have a system: it only takes ten minutes a day. We have plenty of time and energy left to workout! And we don’t sweat! We look fantastic!
We can see it so clearly! “This,” we think, “is my true, inner self speaking to me from my subconscious! It’s the self I would be if I had more money, more energy, and more time!”
It all sounds so wonderful!

It’s not wonderful.
It’s not your true, inner self.

It’s a trap.

You see, ladies, there’s a parallel universe not too far away from ours where the robots are winning. No, not the Cybermen.
In this Other World, you’ve been replaced by a Stepford Wife, and she is speaking to you.

It’s the only explanation that fits.
That’s why they never sweat.
Because they’re robots.
That’s how they clean the house in ten minutes a day.
Superhuman speed. Because robots.
They’re in perfect shape because they were designed that way.
They’re never stressed because they’re unfeeling robots with no emotions whatsoever.

This isn’t science fiction, ladies. It’s real. The invasion is already underway. This trans-dimensional rift is getting wider and the Evil Robot Usses are trying to get in and every day you listen to them is a day the robots win.
Don’t listen to their lies.
Don’t let them upgrade you.
You are perfect and amazing and awesome just the way you are. And so am I. 

Because we may be disorganized, we may live in flawed houses, we may blow off the laundry to watch another episode of Doctor Who, but you know what?
We defeated some soulless robots today.
And for today, that’s all that matters.

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