A needle of Hope
amid a haystack of Chaos.

Reality Shift #20: Meeting Katie

Created: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
19:44:05 UTC
Last modified: Friday, December 20th, 2013
05:52:02 UTC

Zack had been coding practically his entire life. It was his primary passion: Being able to commune with a computer so that it manipulates mere ones and zeros in novel ways that produce novel and beautiful emergent behaviors (called programs) both excited and fulfilled him. Every time he sat down with a clear vision of his desired creation and just started typing, uninhibited, focused, and enlivened, code poured out of his fingers as if he were channeling it, pre-coded, from a realm afar. Sometimes (OK, often!), it took even him by surprise.

He loved being a not-so-insignificant part of what he termed the Leading Edge of Change in the Cosmos, and being alive and in his youth at this particular moment when so much new potential was being actualized like few times before.

...


Zack led a mostly quiet life. Sure, there were family and friends, but he had a firm life mission and he was doggedly pursuing it now, in his youth. One summer day in June, however, he decided to venture out, join a Deep Thought meetup and hopefully meet intelligent, conversant people in the process. E.g., a local social group.

Scouring meetup.com, he found a group just a few miles north of him. The first meetup he could attend was that very June, just a few days away and he excitedly RSVP'd.

...

Three days later, Zack went to the meetup. He enjoyed meeting the folks and considered his initial meetup a success. He had listened to others and was heartened that not everyone in his sprawling metroplex was braindead, and he learned several new things he had never considered before.

At the third meetup he attended, he waited with baited breath for the guest speaker to talk about a recent conference she had attended. The meetup's host introduced her as "Katie, from Tulsa", a town roughly 4 hours away.

While she talked, Zack realized that she was certainly not a typical young woman, at least nothing like very many of his "peers" he had met in the past. His fascination grew as she expounded on ideas that he had found only a few of his fellow humans seemed to even be aware of.

...

Nf gur zrrghc pnzr gb n pybfr, gur ubfg gbbx gur sybbe naq gunaxrq Xngvr "sbe pbzvat nyy gur jnl qbja sebz Ghyfn" naq nfxrq ure jura fur pbhyq or onpx. "Va n srj zbaguf; jr'yy frr," fur ercyvrq.

Penc! Mnpx gubhtug. Bs pbhefr fur qbrfa'g yvir va zl oenvaqrnq pvgl!

Abg jnagvat gb evfx ybfvat pbagnpg jvgu ure pbzcyrgryl, ur nccebnpurq ure nf gur fznyy pebjq jnf svyvat bhg bs gur zrrgvat cynpr naq nfxrq sbe ure pbagnpg vasbezngvba. Fur fpevooyrq qbja n Snprobbx anzr bagb uvf qvaare erprvcg, gur bayl cvrpr bs cncre ur unq.

Yngre gung avtug, ubjrire, Mnpx jnf hanoyr gb svaq gung erprvcg. Ur jnf cerggl fher ur unq nppvqragnyyl guebja vg njnl juvyr ng n tnfbyvar fgngvba evtug nsgre gur zrrgvat.

Ur jrag ba zrrghc.pbz naq sbhaq ure cebsvyr. Vg qvqa'g unir nal pbagnpg vasbezngvba, nf sne nf ur pbhyq gryy, ohg vg qvq pbasvez gung fur yvirq va n fhoheo bs Ghyfn.

Zvssrq, ur qrpvqrq gb npprcg vg nf Sngr naq zbir ba jvgu uvf yvsr.

...

Several months flew by. Zack was getting accustomed to his new role at a web development shop and between that and his side projects, he barely noticed the Summer at all. He didn't even realize that 2013 was the first year he had not had a true adventure in as long as he could remember.

Nevermind. I'll make up for it next year, in spades, he promised his body as much as his spirit.

He had kept going to the meetups, once a month, except for the month of October. He was so hunkered down in life, he pretty much totally forgot about that one. Instead, he found himself exulting in the beauty of Nature, really communing with the planet, two miles high on Emmory Peak at Big Bend National Park.

In late November, he decided to brush up his résumé to see what was out there. All of a sudden, his inbox was flooded with recruiters emploring him to give their clients a chance.

Getting 5, 10 or even 20 solicitations for hire a week was not that shocking to Zack. Being one of the most skillful programmers in his particular language had its perks, after all. What was different about this time was that pretty much 80% of them were coming from the Tulsa area.

Hmm, that's strange. I looked for jobs there all the time in 2011 and *now* they're there?

Before he typed up a mass denial letter, however, he remembered, Hey! Doesn't that girl named... what's her name? Katie! Doesn't Katie live in Tulsa? So he decided to hold off and just see if any of the offers took off. If nothing else, he figured he just might be able to get a raise at work. Some of those offers were really good.

Faced with so much potential change, Zack started meditating every day, something he had not done in several years. He would meditate on his future, where he should be in early 2014, and the best path, for at least 5, usually 20 minutes every day.

Most of all, he just wanted to change the space/time trajectory he was on. If moving to Tulsa did that, well, all the better.

...

By mid-December, he had been batting recruiters off left and right, even in two cases having to turn them down, because he just wasn't ready to relocate right then.

Something felt off, different. His spirit guides that had virtually been screaming Get out of Dallas! NOW! now seemed to have quite the opposite opinion, and he was flummoxed. Waiting on major decisions always seemed to pay out for him, so wait he did. He figured he'd wait until his apartment's lease expired in February the next year.

When the monthly philosophy meetup time arrived, he was more than a little relieved to have an excuse to focus on something besides pending Life Changes and programming.

He was pleasantly surprised by the synchronicity that the major topic of the lesson would be, of all things, changing one's trajectory in space/time through focused meditation.

That is just what I'm looking for, he thought to himself.

...

As soon as he walked into the meetup room, he knew it was no normal meetup: Katie was there. She was back.

During casual conversation with her after the meetup, he heard her say something about living "down the street." This puzzled him, but he pushed it out of his mind for later.

That evening, he made sure to ask for her contact information again. He took the sheet of paper she wrote it on, wrapped it around his drivers license, and made sure they were both secure in his pocket.

Since he didn't want to take any chances this time, on his way home, he made it a point to stop at a Jack in the Box and send her a friend request via Facebook and sent a quick email.

And it worked! She sent him back a reply that very night, something he hadn't expected.

...

They conversed via email for the next couple days, but her previous statement that she lived in his city kept gnawing at the analytical side of his brain. So he asked her if she lived in Tulsa at present, and if not, had she moved recently.

No, she declared. She had lived in Dallas for the last 13 years.

How can that be POSSIBLE!? Zack wondered, glad he was already sitting down.

He immediately went back to her meetup.com profile, but now it said her location was "Dallas, TX", where before, he could have sworn he had vivid memories of it reading, "Tulsa, OK".

Weird! he thought.

He then went to a different page, a list of the past meetups with the avatar icons of those who attended. To his utter disbelief, he saw Katie's avatar in every single meeting he had gone to since June.

That just can't be right! Was I *blind*?! Am I going crazy? Did she just RSVP and never attend? His consciousness screamed, as it raced to find a logical reconciliation to this paradox.

But try as he might to rationalize it, he had a vivid memory of looking at that same attendance list just six weeks prior, in mid-November, to chart his own attendance. He remembered quite specifically seeing her avatar icon attached to the September meetup she hosted, but not seeing it on any of the others.

And it's not like I could [easily] not see such a stunning young woman! My genes pretty much determine that I take notice.

...

Bemused and bewildered, he decided to write this story, changing the names and locations.

He knew from experience that reality shifts can and do happen to him, but never nearly this big. He figured if nothing else, Katie would find this story amusing and part of him hoped she took it as a purely fictional short story.

But there are so many questions.

He is pretty for sure that he shifted in reality, because, just a month prior, he was very dismayed when the Supreme Court refused to hear a NSA spy case, while on December 16th, he heard something quite the opposite when a federal circuit court declared the spying unconstitutional. He can no longer find any mention of the Supreme Court's dismissal in early November; it's as if it never happened.

His main questions to Katie are:

  1. Did she RSVP for a lot of meetups that she didn't attend?
  2. Has she experienced any anomalies in the fabric of space/time in the last 3-8 weeks?
  3. Did she relatively recently turn down some opportunity in a city roughly 4 hours from where she lives?
  4. She certainly doesn't remember seeing him more than twice before, right?
  5. If she saw him more than twice, did she ever see him acknowledge her presence with as much as a smile?
  6. She certainly never engaged him in conversation between that event she hosted and 15 December, right? Right?

It would certainly be easy for Zack to gaslight himself and convince himself that he is a delusional fool who needs to get his head checked (which he'll probably do, just in case). It would definitely be easy, and certainly safer, to keep this to himself.

Under no circumstance should he relate this story to Katie, part of his consciousness is telling him. That'd just be too, out there, right? Still. He's not one to play it safe when there's an opportunity for adventure, so he's pretty sure he's going to send it to her.