If You Could Read My Mind…

Dearest Rachel –

I think I’ve told you a couple of times about how easy it is to write by dictating to Siri. Rather than bothering to find every letter on the keyboard, I can just talk to her, and everything shows up pretty quickly thereafter. Sure, there are moments when I have to stop and clean up punctuation and grammar – and I have to stop after every couple of sentences anyway, since it erases everything I’ve said if I go on for too long without pausing – and her autocorrect function doesn’t always hear me properly when in comes to my word choices (which, given my vocabulary, can be understandable), but otherwise it’s a pretty efficient way to write.

However, there are sometimes when I’m not even in the mood to talk, quite honestly, even to her. Certainly, by the end of the day (even a day where very little is happening, like yesterday), I wasn’t really feeling like speaking much. Which is all well and good for human interactions, as the boys are just as happy to hang out in another room, watching anime separate from me. Meanwhile, I can sit in our bedroom by myself, watching my own things and speaking to nobody – but I have to say something in order for Siri to write it down.

It’s at times like this that I wish that I could simply plug the phone into my head, and have it read my thoughts. It’s amazing how much races through my head, especially at the end of the day, while I’m lying in bed waiting to nod off, and if Siri could read my mind at that moment, I could get so much more done in terms of writing. I could also have a much quicker – and more accurate – record of my dreams if it were to record them as they were happening – although they might lack a certain amount of color from the re-telling, as I try to make sense of them, and probably punch them up a bit in the process. And, to be quite honest, there are times as I’m either trying to drop off to sleep or pull myself out of it, when I’m just not entirely capable of sufficiently coherent speech.

Aside from that, let’s not forget those times when I’m laying in bed and trying to dictate to Siri, and my arm starts to fall asleep from holding the phone up. It’s not very comfortable, let me tell you. Neither is it at this time of year as the ambient temperature seeps into the bedroom from outside – I may have enough blankets and quilts to keep me warm at night, but sticking an arm out to reach the phone (let alone holding it up in front of me while I dictate) essentially throws off the covers, as the rest of me feels the cold as it hits newly-exposed skin. Would that I didn’t have to bother doing that in order to even pretend to communicate with you.

Of course, for Siri (or Alexa or any of those other household artificial intelligences) to be able to do so, it would have to be possible to do so organically; we would have to be able to know each other’s thoughts ourselves, every bit as well as we can hear each other speaking to us. Which, of course, we can’t. To be honest, this is a human failing that has been bemoaned by husbands and boyfriends since time immemorial, as the great question posed most famously by Sigmund Freud, “What do women want?” would be much more easily answered were such a skill widely available. Any man that has wondered if there were additional levels to a sigh or a look, and worried that they might be in trouble for not knowing something that she clearly thought he ought to, knows what I’m talking about – although, ironically, you were either much more transparent than most females, that much easier to satisfy, or that much better at suppressing your disappointment, either from me or yourself. So I won’t necessarily say I felt like I was missing out by not being able to read your mind.

Come to think of it, it probably wouldn’t be the best thing if we could hear everything everyone else was thinking. For one, it would be absolute cacophony until people could get used to it, as we humans are thinking all the time – although you could argue that some do much less than others. We would be hearing everybody thinking out loud all around us; we’d barely be able to think for ourselves in the middle of such noise, let alone focus on the one whose thoughts we wanted to understand.

And then, there’s the bleedover of the thoughts that each of us have that go unexpressed for good reason. Some of them are just impulsive, passing thoughts, images and ideas that form instantly upon seeing or hearing some stimulus or another without any real concentration behind them. They might be embarrassing in the lack of real consideration behind them, but ultimately harmless. But then, there are the darker, or more carnal thoughts we have toward others, that we really don’t want anyone – least of all, those specific others – to know about. They may come from either end of the love/hate spectrum, but either end – unless the other feels the same way – would be dangerous to reveal to them, let alone the world at large.

That’s a lot of risk to sacrifice on the altar of convenience, when it comes down to putting one’s thoughts into words for the world’s perusal. Best to leave things as they are, I suppose, and write what I can while I’m thinking about it, rather than dreaming of a world in which there is no privacy, no unexpressed thoughts, no means of diplomacy or any of the other white lies of omission that forms part of the mortar of civilization.

Can you read my mind, honey? Might you be angry or disappointed in me if you could? Would you still keep an eye on me? Would you still wish me luck?

I’m pretty sure I’d still need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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