“I’m just saying,” Cheri was just saying, “We should have a fashion show! A party! Just some sort of event where people get to wear the formals they have hanging in their closets from prom or whatever.”
I nodded along. It was a slow morning at the circulation desk. Listening to Cheri plan things we wouldn’t follow through with was a great way to pass the time.
“I still have all of mine,” I said.
Cheri narrowed her eyes at me. “Are they in boxes?”
“No, I still play dress up with them,” I said.
But Cheri carried on in a tangent as if she hadn’t heard me. “See, a lot of people still have their old formals and wedding dresses, and they keep them in little boxes in their closets that look like baby coffins, like they’re keeping a dead baby in their closet.”
“Gosh,” I said.
“[My friend], for instance: I saw her wedding pictures once and I said she should get the dress out and show it off, and she said, ‘Oh, I just couldn’t take it out of the box.’ Can you believe that? Why not?”
I considered this. “Well, obviously, it’s because of moths.”
“Moths eat things like that, wedding dresses and such. Maybe they’ve already eaten the wedding dress and now they’re just feeding off the remains of older moths in a disgusting circle of life. Maybe you’ll open the box and find a wedding dress, or maybe you’ll find a self-sustaining moth nest,” I said.
Cheri pursed her lips in thought. “So it’s Schrödinger’s wedding dress?”
“Yes,” I said.
Perhaps you didn’t know Schrödinger wore dresses. It turns out Schrödinger was into a lot of things you probably aren’t aware of. Sometimes, it seems as if I live in Schrödinger’s house.
For example, when I wander downstairs in the morning, still sleepy with no plans for the day, I am greeted by Schrödinger’s guitar sitting on a stand in my living room, both in tune and horribly out of tune at the same time. I could play for awhile, but I won’t know which it is until I pick it up. Tuning is not my strong suit, and most days I’d just rather not know.
I turn on the TV, anticipating Schrödinger’s DVR, which both has and does not have new episodes of my favorite shows waiting for me, until I look at my subscriptions and collapse the wave function. Reruns it is, I suppose.
Schrödinger’s tea fills the thermos I mindlessly grab off the end table. Either I really did bring a fresh cup with me or it’s been sitting here since yesterday. The cup’s design prevents me from knowing the temperature of its contents without sipping them. Perhaps I’m not in the mood for tea after all…
Rather than risk it, I head toward the kitchen. On the counter, Schrödinger’s mail is either a stack of bills or a stack of handwritten letters containing wondrous good news. Opening the mail would spoil the surprise. A shiny circular among the letters catches my eye: Schrödinger’s store may or may not have good deals today. I try to decide if I’m going shopping or not. I suppose I could check my (Schrödinger’s) bank account first, currently both flush and wanting.
Scrounging for breakfast, I notice Schrödinger’s Tupperware sitting forgotten in the back of the fridge, the leftovers within simultaneously still good and swarming with black mold. I toss the entire unopened container into the trash, thinking “Lord, forgive my wasteful ways.”
I turn at the sound of a crash, which is either, both, and neither my cats breaking something in another room and/or nothing at all. I do not bother to look.
While tea steeps, I stand by the window but do not look out. On a Schrödinger’s day like today, when the sun is shining and the birds are singing – unless it’s dismal and the birds have already migrated south – why would anyone open the curtains and check?
When the tea (definitely fresh this time) is finished, I place a Schrödinger’s snack on a plate without looking at the nutrition label, thereby allowing myself to continue imagining that it’s not entirely bad for me. I carry them downstairs, past Schrödinger’s library books with interesting-looking covers but whose contents are both wonderful and terrible until read, past Schrödinger’s Netflix recommendations and Schrödinger’s used video games picked up for a song at Gamestop.
I carry the tea and snack into my office and turn on my computer. Ignoring Schrödinger’s news, both good and bad, I open a blank document and type up a few Schrödinger ideas, which persist in ambiguity inside my head but will be either brilliant or banal once I take them out.
I think about cats and boxes and physics and tea, and I write about dresses and funny Austrian names and other things besides, and I wonder what happens to a life (which is many things at once, including impossible to measure) when it’s observed.
As I wonder, time passes and the tea devolves into Schrödinger’s blend again.