March 8th, 2020

NCC-1701 Nebula 2

Random Randomness

"What are you chuckling about?"

Common question, or at least a common variety of question. I'm reading something, in a book or on a feed or on my Facebook wall, and it hits me the right way and makes me laugh. Or chuckle. Or go "hmm" or "huh" or "heh" or "whoa." All sorts of reactions, for all sorts of things.

It hit me recently, and it's no great insight: what I run into in my media consumption can be any sort of thing. The battery-powered driving rig that gets turned via special effects into different kinds of cars for car ads; details in the background of 1985's Back to the Future that show how carefully constructed that film is; adorable animal videos; someone I'm acquainted with describing the process they're going through to transition; a surprising insight from someone smarter than me; thoughts on the news; thoughts on history; thoughts on the future...

...and while any of this might strike me as interesting, maybe fascinating, maybe funny, definitely in some way compelling, might it be too random to explain to the person who asked me "What are you chuckling about"?

I'm noticing this more. It's made me careful about small talk at work, because maybe what I'm thinking about is so random that the person I'm talking to will go "Huh?" so then I have to give context, maybe cumbersome context, and the thing I'm thinking about seems increasingly random and, out-of-context, pointless. What am I adding by bringing up the fascinating ways Douglas Adams could be funny about living with depression and grief? Or what I know about Portland's old streetcar lines?

Is it interesting, or is it just worth a "Huh?"