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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Toads are Frogs...and They Help Predict the Future

To clear up a question I know everyone has on their minds today - ha ha - all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Yes, it was one of those questions that popped up into my head that demanded an immediate answer. To clear up any remaining confusion, frogs are a very large group, of which toads make up a small portion. There are multiple kinds of toads, but they're still all frogs. I'm being bombarded with frogs lately for some reason. My closest friends have all been talking about them or sending me pictures of them over the last month or so, so I take the supposed coincidence seriously.

Most of you have never heard me say this before, but my birth father was called Frog for most of his life (a younger relative couldn't say his real name, and the garble ended up turning into Frog). I haven't spoken to him in many years. The last time we talked I told him I loved him and he hung up on me. He'd barely been involved in my life while I was growing up, and he was one of those people who felt women were nothing but whores, so it wasn't exactly a great loss. I was more than happy to be able to cut him out of my life again, and I think that was about twenty years ago. For all I know, he could be dead, which is a distinct possibility when I see these little coincidences line up this way.

It's not that I truly believe in psychic stuff, or precognition. Mostly what I believe in are subconscious signals and pattern recognition. I've written about this before, actually. There are just things that happen that you start becoming more aware of, and those things aren't happening by chance. I may see that there's a pattern, but I'm not able to interpret it because of its complexity, but knowing that it's there is enough to prepare me for things. If I look at it logically, I see what the end result is likely to be. Once things unfold you can usually see that there was no other way that it could have happened.

Maybe that's what it means when we talk about fate and destiny. Every action we take has consequences, and if we follow linear thought patterns and the likelihood of event progression, it's possible to see the future with some degree of accuracy. There isn't anything particularly mysterious about it usually, either. There's a song called, "Everyday is Exactly the Same" by Nine Inch Nails. I became familiar with it because of the movie, "Wanted," and the first two lines go like this:

I believe I can see the future,
'cause I repeat the same routine.

In most cases this is true. We know exactly where we'll be at certain times of the day, doing the same thing we did the day before. If we step that up a notch, though, we can look at a shift in our behaviour and think about every step that is likely to happen after we've done whatever it is we're thinking about doing.

Take, for example, a person who sits in a bar, a little angry with their love interest at the moment, and they're nursing a drink (perhaps several by this point). Someone walks in that catches their attention for one reason or another, and there's a spark of attraction. At this point there's a decision to be made. Does the person say, "F*ck it," and stay in the bar, or do they consciously consider their own limitations when it comes to temptation? Maybe they stay and allow time to pass just to see what happens. Well, predictably perhaps, the other person comes over to introduce themselves. Another decision needs to be made. Does the person tell them to get lost? Do they nod politely and turn away? Do they invite them to sit down? For each one of these actions, the results are pretty predictable as well. If they choose to invite the person to sit down, the door is now firmly open, and the likely ending of this story is pretty obvious to almost everyone.

So, is that psychic ability? No. It's self-knowledge, and knowledge of human behaviour. Somebody's cheating tonight, or is certainly tempted to do so. Most likely the partner will eventually find out, because guilt makes people do strange things, or if not guilt then arrogance in thinking they won't get caught. Someone cheats, someone gets hurt, and a relationship is most likely broken. It's the logical and most likely outcome. This, of course, is why I firmly believe that infidelity is inexcusable. I don't care how drunk you were, there were decisions made all along the way and you made the wrong choice at every turn. Whenever your conscience reared its interfering head, you chose to push aside what you knew to be true.

The same can be done when we're driving. We know what we're doing and where we're going. We know we're taking a risk by staying in the fast lane until the last minute, and then having to dodge over three lanes of traffic to make our exit. We're playing the odds that this time we won't get into an accident. Most of the time we're right, and we don't get killed. Sometimes our instincts are off and we get badly hurt, but for the most part we can see what's going to happen. We can also apply that to the actions of other drivers on the road. We choose to stay away from those who appear to be driving erratically. We know that if they have trouble staying in their lane, if we get too close there's a good chance they'll be swerving into our lane and crashing into us. It's not psychic, it's common sense.

So, how does this relate to frogs and toads? Well, I'm getting to that. Be patient with me since I'm still working it out in my own head. The father of a friend of mine is in the hospital right now. Of course, as far as I know he was never called Frog, but I've got fathers on the brain partly for that reason, and mine is called Frog (by everyone who knew him back in my home town). He hasn't lived there in many years, having walked away from his own family decades ago when I was still really young.

It's entirely possible that I'm latching onto frogs in general because of the whole father thing - that and father's day is coming up, which doesn't really involve me these days since I don't have one in my life, but it's still looming. I'm noticing the frogs more because I'm thinking about things that are related to them. I'm also considering the mortality of fathers right now, and wondering if my own father is still alive somewhere. Last I knew he was living less than an hour away from me, but I'm pretty sure he moved after our last conversation. He was working as a superintendent, but he quit and the apartment was part of his compensation for the job, so I doubt he stayed there. Some may consider me heartless, but I honestly don't care enough to be all that curious about his living state. Certainly not enough to go looking for him and have him back in my life. He's just the sort of misogynist I don't need hanging around.

As for predicting the future, I know he's going to die eventually, and when he does he'll be alone. He never married, and he spent his free time at strip clubs. It's possible he's already gone, or that he'll be going soon, since I can't see him having much in his life that's worth living for. If he was all that worried about having family in his life, he'd have been a bit more loving toward me, rather than hanging up on me those many years ago. By doing that he not only removed me from his life, but also removed his granddaughter as well. Maybe that doesn't bother him. I often feel sorry for people who have to die alone, whether or not they're associated with me personally, and I suppose I feel that same empathy for him. Still, whatever guilt I might have about that is overwhelmed by my distaste for having him back in my life, so it just isn't going to happen. He'll have to lie in the bed he's made, whether it's made out of lily pads or not.