I’m attracted to air, in all its forms, rain, deadly smoke, horror movie fog, darkness, and blue skies. The stars twinkle at night, but they don’t offer answers. In the city, I can’t tell how life is doing. The asphalt and concrete cover everything up, and the little plants that do grow are watered by sprinklers. I suspect that we encounter made-up surroundings in the same way that we encounter made up people. When I visited my parents’ house, their lawn was dead. It was refreshing to see something real. Socrates was the wisest man in Athens, but when he found out, he didn’t believe it, so he walked throughout the city asking people philosophical questions, and when they answered, their responses were only things they had heard—not things they had thought about. I walked into my parents’ house.
“Would you like to go for a walk, mom?”
“The news said it was dangerous.”
“You can’t believe everything they say.”
“Your sister said the air quality is at a dangerous level.”
“Appealing to authority?”
“Would you like something to drink, Andy?”
My dad was squeezed on the couch, watching a news program suggesting the end of the world would happen in 2020. “This guy has had three accurate predictions in the last 30 years; he doesn’t prophesy willy-nilly.”
“Has he made any false predictions?”
“Speaking of the end of the world, I recently watched a documentary on aliens. The military has radar and video footage of spacecraft defying gravity.”
“That stuff is made up,” my dad said.
“I think Vic Beattie is right.”
“That man is a lout—no education, believes everything he reads in a book. Every time I go to church, he has a new video he shoves in my chest.” My parents keep watching, glued to the TV. I wonder about the meaning of it all. My dad lives for his morning coffee and so do I. He grunts when he eats things and he likes to tell bathroom jokes.