Benja & lolChaos

“There is no chaos. There are only patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns. If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself. What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher. what we can’t understand we call nonsense. What we can’t read we call gibberish.

*There is no free will. *

There are no variables.

The bad news is we don’t have any control. The good news is you can’t make any mistakes.”

  • Chuck Palahniuk

“So, what? You just stare in a random direction and see an infinite rainbow of paths leading to all possible outcomes?”

Benja smirks. He’s half tempted to say yes.

“Nah,” he says, shaking his head. “That would be exhausting. Like living in a constant hallucination.”

He takes a bite of his burger, dark eyes fixing on the brunette across from him. They’re at the OiNKSTER, of all places, a burger place that looks like an out-of-place barn in the middle of Los Angeles. It’s an off hour, at least, and the place is basically empty. Still, Benja and his present company are doing their best to keep voices low as they talk. He takes several moments to chew, mulling over his words and thoughtful as he considers.

“So it’s kind of like this: there is a park in my neighborhood. To get to that park, I could take the most direct route, which is straight down my street, make a left at the STOP sign, and there it is. Or, I could go the opposite way down my street, make the next right, then the next, then one more, and drive back a ways to reach it.” Her eyes stay on his as he speaks, the woman nodding along. He continues. “But I could also go up my street the first way, make a right, make the next left, two more lefts, end up there. Or I could… ignore streets entirely and just hop people’s fences to get to the park in technically the shortest distance–this last one might cause a lot of issues but it also might mean I avoid people seeing me leave my place to get there in the first place…”

A shrug.

“Anyway so like, depending on how long I need to take to get somewhere can have an impact on what makes the most sense–like what if I have to leave now but I’m not allowed to be at the park for 20 minutes? What if I’m meeting someone but showing up early will make me look like a weirdo? What if there’s a class or an event ahead of whatever I’m doing and I’ll be in the way if I show up too early? And then what if I get it in my head that I have to spend that whole time traveling to that park, instead of just leaving late? Then I would need to take a much longer, more indirect route, in order to arrive there when I should. And it just may happen that in taking the longer, more indirect route to get to the park, something along the route–let’s say a stray dog–catches my eye. And in my mind I’m like ‘dogs like parks, so I’ll take this little homey with me before I take it to a shelter or whatever later.’ So I take this unexpected dog–this dog I would not have otherwise come across–with me. And holy shit! The owner is there looking for the dog, because they go to that park already. And even though I don’t actually know the owner, and I’ve never seen them or the dog there, somehow my connection to the park for some completely unrelated thing links me to them and it all just kind of blends into the events that unfold. And maybe in giving the owner back the dog, some random truth or other information is revealed. Maybe the owner is somebody important I need on my radar. Maybe they offer me some unexpected trinket in exchange for finding their fur baby. Maybe they mention something in our brief exchange that triggers some next feeling or moment.”

“This is all sounding even more complex than the rainbow patterns thing,” she admits, laughing. “I think I’d go insane.”

Benja can’t help but laugh along.

“I think I’m just really bad at explaining things. Anyway, yeah. It’s not random and it’s not glowing paths. It’s… intuition, mostly. Some sort of weird awareness. A lot of following my gut and deviating from course. It’s, uh… It can definitely feel chaotic, but I’m starting to think there is no such thing as chaos. Everything is a big freaking puzzle and we’re just here to put the pieces together, however we can.”

She smirks, continuing to watch him. “So what got it in your head that you needed to go to this park anyway? What’s the original goal?”

“That’s when the street vendor with the tamales gets there,” Benja says with a huge grin. “Gotta get 'em fresh!”

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