I think the most optimistic people in the world are the ones who believe in infinite realities beyond our own, the people who can look at tragedy and pain and cats who haven’t been fed yet even though you’ve only been away 5 goddam seconds, Moira, and say “well this definitely sucks, but there’s something better out there” I like that optimism. I like thinking that, as horrible as things may be working toward being, there might be other universes in which all this isn’t happening, or it has all already been solved or my phone died, or the cat managed to open her own food bag.
I like thinking about what those infinite parallel realities are like. What tiny and enormous and baffling differences are there that make their worlds so different? Where does one path diverge from another, and what did that divergence do? What happened to get the cat fed?
Somewhere among the infinite copies of me spread across infinite realities is one whose cat didn’t just shove the wifi router off the tv stand like an adorable little earthquake given form. That means there is also a version of me that didn’t fall off the couch trying to stop this inevitable tragedy. That also means there is some version of me out there that hasn’t had a new layer of awareness of their own mortal failings instilled upon them because their reflexes were too slow from years of typing and napping instead of jogging and dodging javelins hurled by strangely-armed enemies. I envy that iteration of me.
Is there a me out there that finished her Thai food last night? If interdimensional travel were also possible for that version of me, then is my leftover Thai food in danger? I will prepare for battle.
If we consider the boggling notion that there are infinite variants of ourselves spread across endless realities, then it is not unreasonable to conclude that somewhere out in the wild reaches of possibility, there is a version of me whose hair has already dried. I can gather from this existence of this strange aberration from my own reality that this version of me probably didn’t set a timer for 10 minutes and end up taking a half hour nap right after waking up this morning. This me seems more of a go-getter than I’ll ever be. Who just wakes up and gets started? What awful discrepancies are there between the me I know and the me that would wake up and skip the buffer sleep? Is this version of myself even more morally destitute? What fundamental parts of my personality are altered in this other reality? Is the type of me who would jump directly into the shower also the type of me who would do more than just joke about buying a squirt gun filled with rattlesnake venom for use on slow walkers at the grocery store? What about me and this other me keeps us respectively a harmless library fungus and a fully fledged sociopath?
Knowing that these parallel iterations of me are possible and all actively considering what it means that there are so many of us, is there even one out there, just one, that is excited by this thought? Is there a version of me that can look at infinite versions of us, infinite variants on the same base parts, infinite opportunities for the same unfortunate things to happen, and think “wowzers, that’s really cool.” No, probably not. There’s a point at which we have to draw the line between conjecture and total impossibility. There couldn’t be a me out there who is excited by there being more of me. I don’t think that’s allowed.
However, it’s fun to think about what all the other versions of me are up to. Are some eating breakfast, or sleeping, or prepping for a difficult phone call? And what about all the other parallel reflections of people I know, or don’t know, or talk to here, or scowl at. What about all the other versions of my cat? Is there one out there that didn’t knock over the router and fall asleep in the warm spot it used to be? Maybe.