Tom, in your most recent letter to that most noble of men, your friend Jake, you refer in passing to electrons. You were on your way to making a larger point about biology and men and women and your own implicit threat to blow yourself up if this faithless and possibly non-extant Sarah doesn’t call you for the love of God. Would you believe that, in the middle of that manfully restrained existential howling, the electrons caught my eye?
Your electrons, and our shared domestic climate, put me in mind of one of my very favorite quantum mechanical phenomena: entangled pairs.
Entangled pairs are particles that have interacted briefly but profoundly, such that a state of quantum superimposition occurs; they then become separated. Despite their separation, however, they remain aligned in their behavior and attitude, and no matter how many miles or light years you put between them, the actions of one will remain sensitive to the actions of the other. When the spin or momentum or any aspect of one particle alters or is altered, the other particle, no matter how far in the universe it has traveled away from its quantum partner, will instantly – instantly! – alter itself to remain in correlation with the other. Einstein didn’t like this: he called it ‘spooky action at a distance’ because it was vaguely impossible to conceive of in that confounding quantum mechanical way, and it furthermore had a taint of blasphemy, in that it seemed to undermine the sacred truth that nothing – nothing, Tom – can travel faster than light. But you see, what is traveling (and by traveling I do mean teleporting) between the particles is not some “thing” but information, which would suggest that information is literally unsubstantial, which is definitely a thing to consider when you’re stoned in the Nevada desert next week.
Funnily enough, like you and Zeke, you and I also met very briefly years ago at a mutual friend’s wedding, do you remember? It was a very happy occasion; the weather was atypically sublime for the time of year and the place. It didn’t seem like weather at all—it seemed more like our collective joy for our friends, themselves well and truly entangled, manifesting as sunlight.
Anyway, electrons, as you no doubt recall, expel energy to drop down to different levels of orbit around the nucleus of their atom. When you and I clomp down our gritty staircases to street level, what do we leave behind in our stifling aeries? You are in LA and I am in New York, both cities of glittery reflective surfaces and casual celebrity and urban heat island effects and aspiration. I like to think of us climbing back to our personal and secret orbits at night, where, despite our being thousands of miles apart, the concentration of Fahrenheit around us lets us share our own spooky quantum state, a state of Trop, or say a state of enTropy, where we vibrate at a higher, desperate energy, entangled in this mutual endeavor, pacing in our underpants, leaving sweaty fingerprints on scribbled papers, wishing we had vices strong enough to relieve the pressure a little, or at least add a veneer of glamour to the thing.
On an unrelated matter, as your friend in quantum entanglement, allow me to observe that in recent photographs, it appears that your beard has grown a mite robust. Surely that can’t help with the heat?
A.C. DeLashmutt is a Virginian living in New York. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's, The Washington Post, theNewerYork, Flash magazine, and elsewhere. She also writes plays. Follow her on Twitter @acdelashmutt.