Are all of our experiences self-referential? And, if they are, is the concept of a new experience a paradox?
These are the kinds of questions that a mind with too much time alone starts conjuring up.
I had breakfast this morning with an acquaintance. He is a long-time resident of Mexico, and I enjoy getting together with him for breakfast once a week to compare life notes.
We have not done that for a couple of weeks because both of us have been traveling. And thinking about our respective futures. In Mexico. And elsewhere.
On my drive back to Melaque, I glanced across Navidad Bay with its compass-perfect half circle. And thought of -- Oregon.
It was an odd connection. Even though the sky had what could be an Oregon battleship gray overcast, there is little about our bay that has a Pacific Northwest look.
Sure, there are the same rocks that give the Oregon coast its rugged beauty. But Oregon's beach seldom has temperatures in the 80s.
And then it came back to me. The contours are different, but the view had the same feel as looking north to Lincoln City from Boiler Bay. The details are all wrong. But the feel is the same.
Of course, nothing is mere feel. Before I decided to move to Mexico, I had given serious thought to retiring on the Oregon coast.
I am not a beach person. But the dog in my life considered the beach to be the one of his best experiences. Through him, I saw and experienced life's adventures in a way I never would have done on my own.
My breakfast conversation had undoubtedly unleashed those memories. And the local bay was there to give some self-referential context.
I know the experience is not unique with me. I often hear tourists say things like: "Yes, Norm. The Eiffel Tower does look like the television tower back home Dubuque." Or "Who knew your cousin Marion looks just like Mona Lisa?"
And I chuckle. Not with my usual uppity ironic sneer. But out of recognition. Because my minds does the same thing.
After all, wasn't that Miss Marple's schtick? Solving crimes with references to personalities in her home village?
It is how we make sense out of life.
But back to that paradox question. I don't know the answer. After all, as I learned at breakfast, I don't even know where I am going to be in the next year.
And that is simply fine with me.