Albert Einstein @ Berlin – 21st century
I finished the equation with another Greek symbol and stepped away from the blackboard. I might finally have solved it. My eyes examined every number and letter looking for possible mistakes, like a hungry dog waiting to be fed. Still unable to find any errors, I stepped back a little further and sat down behind my desk. I took off my glasses, placed them on top of the desk and bent down to untie my shoes. I noticed that my hands were numb and full of chalk stains after the intense scribbling, and changed my mind about taking my shoes off. In a strong sense of empathy towards my hands, I felt in some sort of way that they deserved a break. Even though I was quite certain about the fact that hands in its self, were unable to feel anything at all, I still found it puzzling how quick I unconsciously had attributed them human agency. Guess this must be the basis of religion.
Feeling my thoughts beginning to drift away, like snowflakes in the wind, I rose up from the chair and crossed the room over to the window. Looking down at the parking spot I saw a woman standing all by herself. From what I could tell was she likely waiting for someone. Or something. What’s her story? I wondered. How incredible it is to think about that the only thing we have in common is just the fact, that our pasts have led us to exactly this area of the earth at the exact same time. I tried to analyze her facial expressions and body language in order to gain some insights, but they didn’t reveal much. Like a cucumber forgotten in the back of the fridge, she seemed left alone and almost lonely. Unlike most people in a similar situation, she didn’t scroll aimlessly up and down at her smartphone, something I kind of admired her for. Just standing there and waiting, letting time pass by. Nothing more, nothing less.
A blue Ford pulled up, just as I noticed the first raindrops hitting the window. Her face lit up. She had probably felt the rain coming down as well, and was more than happy with the timing. Perhaps the driver just was someone special. It was hard for me to say. Could be both. As the car drove off, I turned around and looked again at the blackboard. This time from a slightly acute angle. I went over what I had written three times, but unable to think clearly, I decided that I needed a good, strong coffee. The coffee machine stood in the break room, which was just a minute walk down the hall from my office. I had for some time lobbied for access to my own caffeine supply, thinking that my scientific achievements would deserve me such luxury. Thanks to the bureaucratic processes at my university, I still hadn’t succeeded, and I was now forced to pace down the hall every time I required a cup of black water. Exposing myself to people I wasn’t particularly fond of.
“What you up to, Albert? I’ve heard some rumors about you being on the verge of a great discovery. It’s difficult keeping track when you are locked up in that office of yours all the time. I can’t recall seeing you in weeks.”
“I’m just grabbing a cup of coffee,” I answered.
With no intent to stop, I moved purposeful, like a student running late for class, towards the break room. If not answered or interrupted in some way, he’s one of those guys who can go on talking for ages. Maybe that’s all dialogues are. The thought struck me as lightning just at the moment I approached the coffee machine. Maybe conversations are nothing but monologues, which keep getting interrupted. If people could choose, they would probably like to go on forever talking about themselves or something else they care for. But once in while, this other person shows up and they want to do exactly the same thing, so it all degenerates into a fierce power struggle we like to call dialogues. What an interesting thought. As a Cambodian reservoir during monsoon, the coffee cup filled up and I went back to my office. Standing by the door, taking a first, tentative sip of my coffee, I again gazed at my equations on the blackboard. I still couldn’t spot any errors. I might have solved it. Maybe it’s perfect.