I’ve spent this entire week fighting with daylight savings time. It is almost impossible, I’ve found, for me to wake up at 6:30 in the morning when my body is certain that it is actually 5:30. So we compromise and wake up at 6:55, and by compromise I mean sleep through the alarm, wake up at 6:55, panic, skip most of my morning routine –including breakfast- rush out the door to make it to work on time.
This means that I collapse in a mound of exhaustion once I cross the threshold of my house in the evening. Needless to say I haven’t done any writing; that is until last night. A friend asked me to take one of those 5 minute quiz things.
I was supposed to “Imagine a vast desert, and in the midst of the “sea of sand” there is a cube.
The first task is to describe the cube, and explain all of the details of its aesthetic, size, material, and placement in the sand.
There are no right or wrong answers; this is extremely personal to your experience. Don’t rush, and be sure to elaborate on as many key elements that come to you…the more, the better.
The next task is to visualize a ladder. Where is it in relation to the desert and the cube? Describe as many details as possible. What does it look like? Is it big or small? What color is it?
The third step is to imagine a horse in this desert. Describe the horse…its location, and its actions. Is it in motion, or is it still? If it is in motion, where is it going? How does it feel, and what kind of energy is it giving off?
Now, there are flowers present in this scene. Describe the flowers, their colors, quantity, smell, etc. Where are they, in relation to the horse, ladder, cube, and sand?
The final question is to describe a storm that is now happening in the desert. Is it affecting the flowers, horse, ladder, cube or sand? What kind of storm is it, and how does it feel? Is it heading in a certain direction? Is it near, or far?”
Then I was supposed to read down through the description to find out what all that stuff meant. I didn’t do any of that. Instead I wrote this:
In a desolate desert nothing as far as the eye can see. Nothing that is except for distant mesas and a single cube. Now, its odd to see a perfectly shaped cube out in the middle of the desert. But this was no ordinary cube. This clearly man made cube measures about 3 feet… in… cube… was either purple or blue depending on the light and what is even more peculiar is that there was a industrial looking metal ladder sticking out of it. The wind picks up drawing your attention to the east. A Dust storm approaches and judging by the gaining wind this is going to be a bad one. You look around to find shelter from the storm by there is nothing for miles around except for this cube. Panicked with no other option you run over to the cube, it doesn’t look big enough to hide in but then you realize the ladder in the box disappears into darkness. And in the darkness you hear very mechanical noises. Looking back at the rapidly approaching storm you decide to take your chances down the ladder. Ordinarily you would not climb down a strange ladder in a strange cube out in the middle of the desert. Ordinarily you wouldn’t find a cube in the middle of the desert. So it all evens out.
You take one last look at the nothingness that surrounds you… except the mesas to the south and the gathering dust storm that blots out the sun to the east and you descend the ladder into the darkness of the cube. Down down down you climb until you start to see a faint light below you. As you near the bottom you hear and old man cursing in what best you can tell to be 1940s diction. You finally place your foot on solid… metal grate? This can’t be right! This coming from a person who just climbed down a mysterious ladder in a mysterious cube in the smack dab middle of a not so mysterious desert.
You turn around to see Slartibartfast fussing with an overly complicated control panel that is making all sorts of whizzing and bumping noises. “Confound it” he yells as smoke begins to trail from the controls… He turns around and greets you with “So… Where were we?” you stare at him unable to speak. “Ah Yes! The tour!” He turns back to his control panel reaches for an oversized lever with a very pronounced hard plastic red ball on the top. He looks back at you “You may want to hold on to something” Without giving you time to take hold of anything he pulls the lever.
You feel weightless for a few seconds then the unmistakable feeling of wind on your face lets you know you are moving. And the constantly changing stream of colors lets you know that you are moving quite fast. The colors are only interrupted by the occasional floating farm animal. There was a cow, some pigs and a very annoyed farmer who appears to have lost his cow and pigs. All the while Slartibartfast is looking out into the indiscernible strings of color as if he is searching for something. “Ah, Here it is!” he says as without warning he pulls the lever again causing you to stumble forward catching yourself on the rail.
You find yourself looking square into the eyes of a horse. He is a black thoroughbredy looking horse who had stopped munching on flowers to look up at the clouds and was very much enjoying himself until suddenly he was looking at you. So he was as surprised as you are. But horses are kinda dumb… so after a few seconds he went back to munching on flowers. “QUIT EATIN’ MY FLOWERS YA DANG HORSES!” Slartibartfast yells. The horse pays him no mind and continues eating. “Those are Tulalilies! Its my own personal blend of Tulips and lilies.” You think it looks like an oversized tulip with a stem coming out of the middle of it but he seems proud so you say nothing. “ I only see one horse” you finally say. “He speaks!” Slartibartfast exclaims. “All the other horses are invisible… that one is defective” he says as he glares at the magnificent black horse “Why am I here?” you ask. “For the tour of course!” he replies “why else? Now, if you’ll look this way you’ll see the opla valley with my beautiful, and hopefully award winning, Taluladasies. They are a Tulip, Lilly, Daisy hybrid. I love Tulips!” To you the mutant flower looks like you would imagine if someone smashes a tulip and a daisy together. You don’t see anything that resembles a lily. But again you say nothing.
As you go along for the ride in his little magical floaty metal cage you begin to tune Slartibartfast out. He has begun to follow a river as it winds its way through the valley. You follow it until it reaches the coast where he turns left to follow the coastline. You watch the ebb and flow of the water all the while he is going on and on about the algorithms he used and the physics he had to make up just to get the tides to work out right.
At this point you are tired of all the talking and wonder if the dust storm is over so you can go back home after all how long can one person go on about his award winning fjords. Then there is another turn and you find yourself flying over a desert. This is starting to look familiar. And there is a cube. With that same industrial metal frame ladder. The same ladder, it would appear, that you climbed down earlier.
You are brought back to reality as Slartibartfast says “Looks like a storm came though here. Ah well. Right back where you started” You stare at him in utter disbelief. “Yep just climb back down the ladder” He says. But I climbed…down…” He looks at you funny so you decide, after all you’ve seen today to just go with it.
You begin to climb down the ladder into the darkness just like before, only this time after a bit you begin to realize you are climbing up instead of down. And strangely enough you now find yourself back where you began. You step off the ladder on to solid ground. You stumble a bit but manage to catch your footing without a fall. You turn back to the cube, but its no longer there. Was it even there to begin with?
I borrowed a bit from Douglas Adams. I hope he doesn’t mind. (I know hes dead)
What’d you think?