Stubbed Toes, Thought Trains, and Alternate Realities

I just stubbed my little toe on a old fashioned metal step-stool as I walked out of the kitchen with my cup of Earl Grey tea.

I wasn’t concentrating on where I was in relation to my environment. A not unfamiliar experience when I’m in the middle of a writing binge. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if it weren’t for the fact that we live in a small apartment. An older apartment constructed in an era when very few worked from home, and one bedroom units were for a rather transitory population. We’ve been here … (huh! This must be our fourth summer now. Which is a record for us – We’re restless spirits my wife and I) … and we’ve collected an impressive amount of stuff, all of which we use at points throughout the cycle of seasons. We negotiate around an obscenely small kitchen in a wonderful ballet or wild tango of movement, depending on our moods and what we’re trying to do in there.

So, back to stubbed toe. I think I was lucky, no nasty bruising or grinding of shattered bones, but sheesh, does it hurt!!!

My writerly train of thought has been seriously derailed and I have only a loose sense of where I was going with it.

I wonder if, in an alternate reality where I didn’t stub my toe, that train kept right on going and ended up somewhere astonishing. Which leads me to a concept I thought of a while ago about how an intrepid explorer can get from one of those alternate realities to another. Suppose, in one of those, (let’s call ‘em AR’s for simplicities sake) AR’s, someone invented a machine or a magic existed which could reach between the worlds to this one and snatch a person from just a gazillionth of a second ago, while the essence of themselves still exists in the present gazillionth moment. That way there would be no dissonance of the person suddenly disappearing from this reality, tricky to explain, and the person would materialise in the AR fully functional.

Ahh … but what if they already existed in the AR? Just swapping them between AR’s has already been done, so that’s out. Hm-mm …

What if the person landed in the AR in a new body? … nah, that’s been done too …

My tea’s gone cold and I think ice is needed for my toe. This idea’s going to have to percolate on it’s own for a while.


“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain”Aristotle

8 comments on “Stubbed Toes, Thought Trains, and Alternate Realities

  1. I love alternate realities. I think I inhabit one when I’m putting on a load of laundry, or browning something in a frying pan. One person, many roles: each is a separate universe.

    I used to conceive of decisions as being like a web – each strand, signifying a ‘this or that’ choice, led in different directions. Sometimes what you decided set the path along the strand, other times other people’s decisions overruled yours and you discovered yourself on a strand you didn’t anticipate. Perhaps in an alternate reality each of those different strands have come to happen, and the place you are standing in right now is one of millions upon millions of different places you could be standing – and are standing, somewhere else in the universe.

    I take issue with Aristotle: I think he’s set his sights too low. The path of least resistance does not usually lead to fulfillment.


    • Widdershins says:

      Alternate realities are some of my favourite things too! … I’m of two minds about the Aristotle quote, but mainly I think its a question of choosing your battles.


  2. S.P. Bowers says:

    Huh, I don’t think I can help you. I’ve never thought much about alternate realities (read a few, and enjoyed them, but didn’t dwell on the premise) I think I’m a little too much a narcissist. I don’t want there to be more of me.

    While I love the idea of there being places where I could find all my lost trains of thought, I’m unique and individual. (so is everyone, I wouldn’t want multiples of my hubby either, even though I love him dearly) I only want to exist here. Even with the possibility that my other selves were able to do all the things I wanted to but haven’t been able to. I don’t want them having fun without me. So I’m completely selfish. Am I weird? Does anyone else think like this?


    • Widdershins says:

      LOL … Probably, if they were honest … What if the two yous could do a Vulcan mind-meld catch-up at the end of the day? Did you ever see that Michael Keaton movie called ‘Multiplicity’? A comedy where he makes duplicates of himself, however, like making a photocopy of a photocopy, each successive copy isn’t quite the same as the one before. Interesting premise.


  3. In one of my ARs, I have five kids. I don’t think it matters if a story structure (right word?) has been done before, it’s how you play it out. You’ve got my brain running, thinking jumbled, inarticulate what if’s.


  4. jannatwrites says:

    I have to admit, I’ve never thought about alternate realities. Sorry I can’t can’t add anything there. I have stubbed my toe quite often, and can relate to the derailing of the thought train when it happens. Glad you didn’t break anything 🙂


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