It was around 9 pm, and, after reading my granddaughter Makayla her bed-time story, I was lying next to her in bed while she drifted off to sleep.
The bed started jiggling.
After the moment it took me to process the reality that the bed was jiggling, I came to a vague conclusion that Makayla was fidgiting and making the bed jiggle.
Now, if the jiggling had lasted more than a few seconds, which it didn't, I'm sure it very soon would have clicked for me that some force other than my 2-year-old, 24-pound granddaughter was making this trundle bed with its heavy wood frame and built-in drawers, not to mention the 130 pounds of weight that I added, shake. Given a few more seconds of shaking I might even have thought, "Oh geez, earthquake!"
However the event was so brief that as soon as it was over my brain deleted it and tossed it into the recycle bin.
So that when I finally returned to the living room and the rest of the adults cried, "Did you feel it?", I replied, "Feel what?"
"Earthquake? No, I didn't feel any....Wait...Earthquake? "
Of course at that moment the light bulb in my brain snapped on and I realized:
1. That it was an earthquake that shook the bed, and
2. How utterly preposterous it was to think that little Makayla could have been causing the shaking.
And yet while it was happening I'd accepted that very idea.
After thinking it over and talking it over with the others (Maria, Tommy, Tom, Jen, and Justin, none of whom could believe that I didn't know I was feeling an earthquake), I came to the conclusion that, since I've never experienced an earthquake and had not the least expectation of encountering one, at the moment of the event the thought of an earthquake did not enter my mind. But I had to give myself some explanation, no matter how illogical, for the shaking bed. Because otherwise the event wouldn't have made any sense, and for us human beings things always must make sense. Things that don't make sense don't register in our brains. So we make everything make sense. Even when it doesn't.
I once saw a movie called "What the #$*! Do We Know?" about, among other things, how our reality is shaped by our perception.
I thought about this movie after my jiggling bed experience; specifically I thought about a story told within the movie about how when Christopher Columbus' ships appeared far out on the horizon the natives, though they were looking right at them, at first didn't see the ships because they'd never seen or heard of ships before and so their brains had no idea of what to do with the images.
I think my inabliltiy to connect what I was experiencing to "earthquake" must have been related to the phenomenon of Indian's inability to see the ships.
But then, what the #$*! do I know?