Monday, May 19, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: If paper only has two sides, what did I cut myself on?

“I’m suspicious of any story with only two sides,” was one of George Haus’s mottos. He was a private detective when he cared to flip the sign on his door over to “AVAILABLE.” An assailant always had a story, and a victim always had a story. Miracle of miracles, the stories never quite matched up. Miracle of physics, the scene tended to tell a third side.

In fact every little bit of forensic evidence, from an eyelash on a stairwell, to the smudged footprints in the flour, to the cleanser on the knife tended to tell its own story. Video cameras were decent storytellers too, but they had the nasty habit of not catching what happened before and after, or of recognizing whether something was planned, or of saying what was on someone’s mind while they had a certain expression – the camera just showed the expression. When it was down to a single witness arguing against a single videotape, George didn’t trust either side completely. You could barely trust a jury of twelve people with two sides, as the twenty-four perceived sides always boiled down to simplifications that sounded like nonsense to the private detective.

He always left before closing arguments whenever he attended a trial. He couldn’t stomach final arguments, as the truth never laid with either of them. It stood somewhere in-between their podiums.

He’d had lunch with more Independent candidates than he’d watched major candidates on TV. Two sides were simply too few for his round world.

For him creative thoughts, critical thoughts, emotional thoughts and reflexive thoughts were not comparable because they were always connected. They were sides around a whole, not a whole in themselves. In his experience, his mind was so complex that he didn’t understand how other people could think they had “types” of minds, as everything that was supposedly dominant in their personality types was dominant in his some of the time, but no element was in control all of the time.

Perhaps that’s why he was divorced. Twice.

Again, in his own words, “I do not have a right brain and a left brain. I have a skull with contents.” Those words would have been better if they had not been closing arguments at his first divorce, though the soon-to-be ex-Mrs.-Haus seemed to understand what he meant.

Those contents kept George silent much of the time, listening to absolutists and positivists that were so certain of their limited selves and their limited world. He listened partly out of pity, and partly out of curiosity, because there were always more sides. In fact the reason the sign was flipped to “UNAVAILABLE” so much of the time was because he had someone with a new side in his office, and the side needed to be examined.

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