Where the Buttocks end & the Hemotomas begin?

January 13th, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

… or My Sunday Skiing Accident

It seems like everything I write is an accident report, and I’m not even an emergency professional. Hopefully this is my last one. I am retiring from accidents, and the following is the beginning of an exploration of how.

I’ve got two very large hematomas on my rear end. (On top of never being able to sit still) I will not be able to sit comfortably for at least a few days, and since I am on pain killers my mental game is almost completely shot.

It could have been a lot worse.

Skiing this Sunday, I went up a ramp for a jump. It was my first time on that run, and I had no idea what was on the other side. My mental model was a flat elevated bank. I don’t know why. At the moment I got airborne, I realized just how wrong I was.

The Fall

Given the abrupt drop, I don’t think I could have landed anyways — not that a better skier wouldn’t have been able to handle it. The fact that my trajectory invariably resolved to a large rock bulging out of the mountain, made landing the least of my concerns.

fuzzy sketch. ~15ft from take off to landing.

When we were going up the ski lift, Mike told me of a cliff on this mountain that he almost accidentally skied off the previous year. “I almost died right there,” and pointed at it.

I thought about this as I cradled myself for the fall and in a short time which seemed like eternity, I came to terms with all of it — the blood and the snow, the bone and the rock, and sinew — for what use is there in protesting the inevitable?

not the slope i fell on. it's from my previous run. here to convey the terrain.

But I did protest (on behalf of my whole-ness) as best I could: I crouched; I lifted my hands to my head and let the ski poles stick out over my elbows forming a kind of cavity; I tried to take the first impact on my skis, which I managed, bending my knees to absorb; the second impact on the poles, and then I lost control. The skiis and poles went flying, my rear end significantly clipped the rock and I tumbled past it down the hill, futilely trying to account for my limbs and slow the slide.

When I came to, I didn’t know which side was up. I was both stiff and shaking and the only word that came out of my mouth was “fuck”. It came out loud, “FUUUUCK”. It came out in short sequences, “fuck, fuck, fuck”. And it came out with every breath until I managed to roll myself on my back and lose myself in the cold embrace of the snow. I didn’t see any blood and surprisingly, I could still move my fingers and toes.

Mike, who had been snowboarding behind me, watched me ascend and fall out of view. He appeared at the crest. A couple of boarders who witnessed my inglorious moment told him, “your boy ate it real bad, and probably needs the ski patrol.” Besides the fact that one of my skis skied on without me, there was no way I could make it down the mountain myself.

Damage

The ski patrol came, wrapped me in a stretcher and towed me with a snowmobile to the medical clinic at the base. They made sure I didn’t have any bone or spine damage and let me out of the bindings. When I reached around to palpitate my behind, I felt an unfamiliar bulge and another.

I asked to go to the bathroom, where I turned my back to the mirror and took off my pants. It looked like a pomegranate was glued to my left buttocks and an eggplant was attached to my right thigh. I estimated that a pint of blood filled each shape. My skin was stretched taught and reddish purple. Nothing else looked as bad or hurt as much as those two places.

It was then that I realized that my ass was so big, that I could not get my pants back on. Nor could I bend over sufficiently to take off my skiing boots. I walked out into the hallway in boxers with my pants dangling at my feet.

The doctor helped me with the boots and said these were among the worst hemotomas he has seen and they would likely need to be drained in a few days. He gave me a few Vicadin on the spot and a prescription for more, “you are going to need this.”

Hematoma

For the next 48 hours, I stuffed loose fitting pants with ziplock bags of snow or ice. I attached them with binder clips at my waistline to keep them properly positioned. I slept on my stomach with my rear elevated and iced. As I sit writing this, I’ve folded pillows into complimentary shapes. I’ve been using an ergonomic chair that shifts my weight to the knees. When I go to the bathroom, I dream about a squat toilet. (I record this because it’s important not to forget these pathetic nuances of dealing with basic necessities, to relate to the realities of old and infirm.)

i have reduced this image and obfuscated it to keep it appropriate.

Over the past three days, I’ve taken up valuable time from various people: Mike, the ski patrol, the mountain med clinic, the student health clinic, the ER. My department and graduate advisor have helped with health insurance, (an issue now that I have graduated.) I’m lucky to have this network of support. And I’ve been told by almost each of them of how lucky I was to have gotten off with the damage I have, from the impact I had. And the problem is that I have put myself and such people through this charade already several times.

Lessons

So what’s the lesson here? Obviously, don’t jump without knowing where you are landing. Prepare for tricks by first studying a given run several times. Wear a freaking helmet.

But for me, the lesson is different. I get into these situations too often. If I learn that discrete lesson, new lessons will remain to be learned. And besides, mountains sports are inherently dangerous. The medical clinic was full to the last bed, like an inner city trauma ward, and some of the sights weren’t so pretty. Last time I went snowboarding, I fractured a rib and it hurt to breathe or sleep for almost a month.

So, I have decided to retire from mountain sports. Skiing/boarding is fun. It’s just not for me. I like challenging myself, which would be fine on a basketball or volleyball court, running or playing squash (though I get injured there too). An alternative would be to reflect and consider some behavioral remediation and generally tune down my avarice for risk. But since I actually treasure that aspect of my character, I am choosing to instead restrict the domain of activities I engage in, to those with better exercise/fun/reward vs risk trade offs.

Sore, but happy to have this off my chest, ./pp


Here are some photos of the progress:

Left Buttocks 1

Right Thigh 1

Left Buttocks 2

Right Thigh 2

I can leap onto a 10 ft platform ;)

April 4th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

toolroom

Curvas peligrosas – My first serious accident.

February 13th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

One months ago, I was hanging by the seat belt in a sideways car across the lane of a windy mountain highway in Mexico. Blood was streaming from my elbow. My thoughts were focused on the immediate there and then. Now it’s time for reflection.

Hwy 1 – Baja, Mexico. Jan 3rd.

For most of the longitudinal span of the Baja peninsula, the only paved road is a single lane highway with the lanes heading in opposite directions separated by a dashed yellow stripe. The most frequent sign on the side of this road is curvas peligrosas [dangerous curves]. As frequent as the symbolic are the more realistic reminders of the danger. These come in the form of variously disfigured and discarded vehicles, or the harder-to-spot mechanical entrails, such as headlights and shredded tires, but also dents on the guard rails and scars on the road itself.

From the way people drive you wouldn’t know it. There is a bimodal distribution of speeds on this highway. There were those I glimpsed on their quick approach in the rear-view mirror, swerving around me, and then gaining on the horizon in front.

There were others that were probably as eager to go that fast, but either because they were heavy tractor-trailers or dilapidated jalopies, they just couldn’t push it. These I passed with ease.

Four of us, were returning from a week long road trip in Baja. We had lots of ground to cover in two days. We were planning a layover in LA that night (Saturday), before setting out to SF the following morning. (Sunday) My friend had just completed a 6 hour marathon driving session, and handed over the controls to me in San Quentin, still 200 miles south of the border (Tijuana).

When I started the starlit ascent into the mountains past the valley, the road became windy. A flash rain passed and stopped. Most of the turns were marked well in advance, except for the turn that got me. Because of the change in elevation it was a blind turn and when I finally realized we were heading into a curve, it turned out to be too late. We were driving above 60 mph when I first caught the sharp turn.

Skid, Tumble and Roll

To our right, was a steep drop off. To the left was the mountain face the road was hugging. When I turned the wheel, the car swerved and woke David. As the tired lost traction, he screamed “watch out”. We were skidding with our right side forward, while heading straigh for the mountain.

I turned the wheels in the direction of the skid to regain traction. This jerked the car around into a left side forward skid, at which point I hit the anti-lock brakes so we would not drive forward off the cliff. During the skid a rock on the left margin of the road hit our back tire, and this was enough to send the car tumbling.

At that point, we had lost control. Just brace. All of the peices have been set in motion. Now it’s up to the physical model play itself out and for the peices to land where they may.

When we rolled over all of the windows smashed. I had my elbow resting on the window while driving. Now, I watched as my elbow compressed into a sandwich of broken glass and pavement.

When we toppled on the roof, I felt like my head was dented with a baseball bat. A weightless upside down hang during the tumble, I must have formed a body image coincident with the car’s frame. The windsheild shattered and I could see the road above me and a dark expanse beyond, without obstruction.

We came to a rest on the opposite lane of the highway with our belly exposed. The sounds of crunching metal and sparks came to a stop. The only sound the car emitted was a periodic squeak from the rear windshield wiper. Only the windshield wasn’t there. The wiper was futilely wiping air, and dislodging the remaining fragments of glass.

accident_schematic

David immediately asked, “Is everyone ok?” It was reassuring to hear a voice, as I was deathly fearful for our lives. My elbow was numb and I felt a warm trickle on my hand. A “yes” escaped without much thought. I regretted it immediately, hoping I did not speak too soon. Amanda and Rupa also said yes.

How Do I get out?

I turned the key and killed the engine and climbed out first, through the broken window. Time matters. Is the car on fire? Is there a vehicle barreling down the opposite direction? Rupa stood upright in the sidways car and said, “How do I get out?” She was standing on David. I stood on a large rock that lay by the car and lifted her out.

As I turned to set her down, David’s head popped out, “How do I get out?” When I lifted him also from the same rock, I realized that I miscalculated his weight, having practiced only on Rupa (100 lb) and we collectively fell backwards, onto broken glass and rocks by the side of the road. A shared pierced my pants and sliced my buttox.

When I stood up, Amanda pleaded, “How do I get out?” The quiet only underlined how calm we were. The situation was not for panic, but clarity and immediate needs. Amanda was less than a week out of foot surgery and brought along a crutch for the trip.

As I set her down, David asked for his shoes. I recovered a pair with Amanda’s crutches. And used it also to fish out Rupa’s and David’s glasses after they both said, “I can’t see.”

The group now shod and seeing, I recovered our flashlights and headlamps and armed each person with a set.

Mixed with the adrenaline was the elation of being alive. It felt that we were connected in this understanding — that our lives were handed back to us — and it had a calming affect.

When there are enough immediately obvious tasks, you don’t need to think. Yet while I acted mechanically, pulling items out of the car, trying to wedge the foot of the crutch in the catch of the glove compartment to free Amanda’s passport, I had time to realize that I was probably not going to make it home tomorrow, when I had an appointment with my research advisor. We had agreed to meet for a final review of my paper before submission, and it was a moment I had distracted myself from anxiously anticipating, by having gone on this road trip. And I felt seriously bad. I felt this wasn’t an excuse. I wished I could just escape through a teleporter, as if this was all a dream. And when it settled that it wasn’t, I realized how clearly this accident was my fault and that I needed to own up to it. The fact that it was pointless to face my friends an apologize to my friends right there led to more regret. We were all delayed, from work and school and our regularly scheduled programs.


Powered by Google Earth Hacks | Map Details | Create your own!

Are you ok?

A truck pulled up and a Mexican man asked us if we were ok — yes. needed an ambulance — no. had called the police — no, can you please call? had flares for warning — no, do you?

He spoke clear English, yet, while talking to him, I was still lost to a mechanical focus. I walked around the car to discover that the battery cracked and had leaked all of the fluid. There was so much car part debris on that stretch of road, that I had a hard time determining if it was all ours.

While Amanda, who is a nurse, grabbed the first aid kit and reviewed my elbow situation, Rupa and David were pulling accessible items from the car. There was blood everywhere. All over my body. All over Rupa’s white blanket. A blood smeared pillow lay on the road.

Did these bags of camping supplies and food matter anymore? Were we going to lose them? I had paid 70$ for a special Mexican insurance policy that Amanda looked up on the internet. David was calling the 800 number listed on the printout. Amanda made sure there was no more glass in my elbow, poured some antiseptic and applied a temporary bandage.

The cops arrive

The cops arrived, but their behavior was surprisingly casual, almost bored. Given that it’s Mexico we’re a little lost on protocol, but we figure a tow truck has probably been called, and we’ll have to figure out some ride to a near by town. Some paperwork to be signed here, some more followup tomorrow.

After 20 minutes of chatting to us and on their radio, the officer walks over and says.

“Ok, let’s go. Can one of you drive?”

“Are we getting a tow truck?”

“If you want to wait 4-5 hours for tow truck, be my guest, but I’m not interested.”

“You mean ride this car sideways back to town? Will you follow us?”

“Yes, let’s go.”

One push from three of us set the car rattling back on its tires.

Since the battery leaked the fluid, the car wouldn’t start. The officers pulled over a car and told the driver to jump us.

When it purred and started, he said “Put the stuff back in the car.”

Under the conditions, it was an amusing proposition to drive this totaled hunk of metal down the highway. Where the windshield wasn’t busted, it was contorted, giving the road a Daliesque feel.

David took on the challenge of driving and I played side kick in the passenger seat. His glasses doubled as safety goggles, but to prevent the cascade of broken windshield in my face (which happened with every discontinuity in the road) I had to keep my head outside the passenger window.

Military Checkpoint

Within 20 minutes, we approached a military checkpoint. We thought being a hobbling wreck followed by a police car might get some special treatment, but the military were not phased. They had their orders. “Step out of the car.” They gave it a cursory inspection for drugs and whatever else and sent us on our way.

We drove what turned out to be 45 miles into the city of Ensanada topping out at 30 mph, with an ever growing tail of cars behind us, who were hesitant to pass the cops.

In town, the cops gave us the signal to follow them and immediately ran a few red lights.

Across from the police station was a motel. The clerk on duty said he wasn’t surprised to see us at 4AM, since they get a lot of business from the police station.

While David and Amanda waited for the insurance inspector to arrive, I took this photo in the bathroom.

Lucky to be alive Farewell car

I took a long hot shower. The water initially pooled crimson from the cuts on my elbow and buttocks. After a self application of neosporen and bandages, I tucked myself in a corner and went to bed.

When we woke up, we were still stranded in Mexico, still uncertain about the fate of the car and our prospects of returning home. Amanda suggested we check if we were sore, since it’s very common for people to suddenly tense up (even rigidify) during accidents and remain stiff for days.

Instead of sore, I felt very relaxed and optimistic that morning. I was lucky to be with people who remained calm and cooperative throughout the accident. Lucky to have friends that cut their road trip further south into Baja short to ferry us back across the border.

A happy tingle of adventure mixed with the rawness of the reality of how close I was to a pulverized carcas had I not worn my seatbelt.

My confidence as a driver was shattered, and I asked myself several times when is going to be right time to appologize. Ironically tristan had called me a “champion driver” the day before, when Amanda asked.

After spending the following night in Pasadena, we rented a car for the last leg to San Francisco. When he got tired of driving, Dave gave me the car on Interstate 5. Last time I was behind the wheel, the car ended up sideways, (and it was my first real accident as a driver.) I made sure to ask if they trusted me behind the wheel, and when they said yes and so comforted me, I apologized.

House Party in Chile

November 22nd, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

My friend Felipe took me to a house party in Chile. We arrived at 2AM and it was still just getting started. There was lots of mayhem. The ages of the party goers ranged from 22-24 as those were the ages of the brothers celebrating their birthday. Every possible space was occupied, either with people or empty bottles of Pisco and Coke. Mud was tracked everywhere about the house and the backyard was likewise overflowing with commotion. The music was loud and there was some groping. All of this is along the lines of the expected. What did surprise me was that the parents were present.

Dad was greeting party attendees when I came. And mom was hanging out in the kitchen with some of their friends. I kept noting their behavior. Most of the time they contained themselves in the kitchen, but when things got too loud, dad would emerge and turn down the nob on the stereo, or close a door that wasn’t supposed to be open. As soon as he retreated, it would all go back to the original state. But he didn’t seem frustrated.

I told the birthday boy/host that I had been to house parties like this in the United States, but they usually coincided with the parents being out of town. He seemed puzzled and replied, “I would never think of throwing a party like this when my parents are away.”

Now it was my turn to be puzzled, “Why so?”

He turned serious, “Then who would clean up?”

Phone Numbers

July 23rd, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Everyone in China has a cellphone, so I need a cellphone.

I go with Zack, who’s helping us get settled. He did my fellowship to China last year, and is going to leave to Taiwan in a week to do it there this year. He studies psychology at Berkeley and specifically cultural impacts on cognition, so that’s how he gets to swing this serial international thing.

You get to pick your own cellphone number from an available set, but you have to flip through a three ring binder where they are written in by hand. It’s semi-meticulous bookkeeping, as it only represents that they may still have this number which they have to shuffle through the whole pile for.

Next to each number is a different price because better numbers cost more money! Lucky digits are 6 and 8 and they drive the price of the number up, while 4s bring the price down. To get a sense for the significance of the number, 8 consider the fact that the olympics are starting at 8/08/08 8:08pm

I got, 150 10 900 940. I kinda like it and it was cheap, since it’s got a 4 in it. To me and probably to you, it’s good because it’s got more 0′s consequently easy to remember. I wonder if lucky numbers are easier to remember for Chinese, though remembering cellphone numbers is pretty useless.

Everyone has a cellphone, and many people have very fancy phones which seems to always be out and played with, for tv watching, internet surfing, or playing music. I’ve seen one that’s worn like a wristwatch accompanied with a small bluetooth device.

Text messaging is ubiquitous, especially among students, since it’s cheap. I later learn that China Mobile made 1.2 billion US$ from text messages during the last Chinese new year. Take what you will.

I had to purchase a ~35$ (220RMB) handset since my US carrier did not unlock mine. I see advertisements for gold plated/diamond studded hand sets for more than my US salary — not that that’s saying much. I’m a graduate student.

A week of introductions …

June 25th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

7:40AM everyone’s on the bus in time. We’re sleepy and in probably our best shorts, but excited to see what the Ministry of Science and Technology has in store. Ushered into large conference hall that is overly formal yet has a dusty grey feel to it. We’re seated as if it’s going to be a 40 person panel discussion as each of us has a personal mic — the kind you press the button to activate and then the light indicates you can no longer talk without talking to the whole room. There is a cup on each table with a lid and the waitresses come around to serve tea, which is refilled more or less every time you take a sip.

The six hosts of the morning affair arrive in suits and ties and take their places at the podium in front of the stage. There is a representative each from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese National Science Foundation, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The is a Science and Technology Secretary from the US embassy. These are long institution names, and they get repeated a lot. This is an official press conference style meeting. Feeling is we’re here for show. There are photographers and photographs. Immediately we’re invited to the stage for a group photo. The photographer seems a little disappointed in our inability to self organize according to height for the photo, this is in contrast to our Chinese counterparts who are remarkably good at self-organization.

Return to seats. Short speech from each panelist. Each solemnly reiterates and thanks every ministry name involved on the US and China side. We are told about the beginnings of great collaborations. Some phrases I recorded verbatim:

“I commend the students and professors participating in the summer program with the unwavering help of [names of ten institutions]. You are the ones that will light the torch of science and technology collaboration. Together we shall conquer the sorrow and step out of the shadow caused by the disaster [sichuan earthquake] and rebuild our homeland.”

Two alumi of our program are invited to give a speech. They remarkably follow the format set by the hosts of contentless thank yous. Then our attention turns to the man with the powerpoint, who we are told is Mr. Li. He excitedly announces “This presentation has a 100 slides.” … and probably a million words. This pattern repeats at several other future visits, (as does the content , since it’s all from the national statistics office whose job it is to make such master presentations from which all others are assembled.) He reads through the entire presentation with his eyes and finger fixed on the screen of the laptop, tracking the text, starting from “Introduction to China: Science and Technology Development”

I doze off and imagine the powerpoint theory lesson that made this all be, “Every slide needs to be interesting! You must insert a logo, at least one other image, a graph, and a table. Fill in all empty space with bullet points. Make the text small so you can fit more of it in. Something must twirl.”

It has statistics about science investment, 5 year plan meeting goals, graphs about attainment of targets (with strange metrics like, high-tech independence is at 41% up from 26% just 5 years ago!) This is done for every science related discipline/field/administration/whatever you can imagine. I think the presentation strategy is to overwhelm us with thoroughness, and we are overwhelmed. The stresses are that China wants to move up the production value chain and bring technology and innovation to the fore, and that it’s doing it here, here, here, … and here.

Once he flips the last slide, the meeting host announces, “That’s all for this ceremony!” And like that, they disappear.

We wander unremarkably back on the bus which chauffeurs us back to the hotel at 11:30AM. Good bye. Enjoy your first day in China. See you tomorrow at 7:40AM! This feels delightfully unrewarding and sobering.

First Impression of Beijing

June 23rd, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

Dizzyfyingly huge new terminal at the airport.

I fill out my arrival card in red ink — only pen I had on the plane — but the immigration official reprimands me, “You should use black pen next time.” I’m flattered by the possibility of a next time, and maybe this accounts for my reply that the red ink’s in honor of China.

On the ride to our hotel at the Institute of Mining Technology, it’s hard to make out anything country specific. Everything is new. Airport terminal, new. Cars, new. Big highways, new. New trees. New grass. Shiny electrical infrastructure. The whole scene is assembled from fresh pieces. We drive by the Olympics stadium, the birds nest and the water bubble, and within 10 minutes arrive with our bags in the lobby.

Now we’re back on the channel I thought I was watching. It’s a grey cement slabbed building with a fruit shack on the side and lots of parked/piled bikes. Students are making merry and loitering since it’s the last day of exams. A young girl asks me to sign my name and hands me a wad of cash wrapped in brown paper — supposed to last for the next two months, but doesn’t — and then asks for 10 RMB back as a deposit on the keys to my room. Says to meet in the lobby at 7:40AM.

My single room has THREE beds but no internet. Each bed is one third the size of my lofted nook in SF however. I push them together to make a master bed by the window. As I move the beds, I uncover mounds of sunflower, pumpkin and roasted watermelon seed shells — the work of previous occupants. I hide my wad of cash behind the radiator. (It’s no longer there as it is spent.)

Note about energy efficiency of hotel — after opening the door, the key is placed into a slot by the door to complete the electrical circuit. When you leave the room and take the key, the circuit is broken. So you can’t leave the AC blaring while you are gone. This also renders your refrigerator useless. All of us (fellow fellows on the hall) independently come up with a strategy to permanently close the circuit so that we can leave anything on while we are gone, such as chargers, rather than be constrained by the key nanny.

Hearing Chinese everywhere feels unusual. Feeling big eyed, confident and timid. Some of us trickle to the lobby or to the steps outside. Others are still trickling in from delayed flights. Jonah, a paleontologist, hands around a bottle of duty-free scotch. Sleep finds us soon and Ambian helps overcome jetlag.

Tokyo in 24 hours

June 20th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

I’m writing this on my flight to Beijing. I’m glad I got a day layover in Tokyo. It gave me an opportunity to recall our year long voyage of to the United States from Russia in 1989, through Austria and Italy. Other immigrants, after 1990, had stepped on the plane in Moscow and disembarked in New York, receiving the full impact of the cultural transition at once, and at the same time the illusion of a seamless transition.

I had the same opportunity now, to prepare for the culture shock of Beijing, by getting a dose of culture shock in Tokyo.

As I rode the escalator to baggage exchange, I saw a couple that were on the same plane as me from LAX speaking Japanese. The guy made a long drawn out exhalation of relief inserting the English phrase, “Well, back to reality.” For me it was the other way around.

The first amusement was in the airport bathroom. I had expected the bidet — the buttocks washing contraption. But I didn’t realize they had thought of adding a button to electronically generate a masking sound for “embarassing bathroom noises.”

» Read the rest of this entry «

Wake up early or rehearse your singing …

June 5th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

I hope these cultural amusements do not stop. Today, we received a schedule for our first day in China. Following evening arrivals from 15 hour flights, we are expected to:

> Please meet at 7:40 am on June 16 at the lobby of hotel to take a bus to the Ministry of Science and Technology. The latest one would be invited to sing a song on the way. : )

What a public affair, and at the same time, what a great idea?! The public character of the punishment is a collective deterrent for future lateness but this also serves to increase the individual alertness in the over-sleeper.

Since I’m an over-sleeper this is likely to be me. And since I don’t have a singing voice, I choose to see this as a reward in disguise — I get some institutionally controlled practice for the inevitable Karaoke evenings while having the privilege of providing amusement for my peers, while saving face because “I’m only doing this because I have to”.

Question, does anyone have song suggestions for the occasion?

» Read the rest of this entry «

Small World Potential

May 27th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

So you run into someone you know unexpectedly — total coincidence! It’s a small world, right?

Well, if *your* world is small, perhaps you should go out and meet new people. Because you see, the world didn’t change its size based on who you re-met. Instead *it was you who spent your small world potential* by churning through the same social orbit.

By contrast, every time you meet someone new, you increase your small world potential by seeding the possibility of re-meeting this person. I postulate that with practice, it’s possible to accumulate this potential and use it like rocket fuel to overcome gravity and propel oneself into stable orbit.

This way, you no longer expend small world potential, but derive energy from the motion of the sociolestial spheres. In practice, this means that you can stop having a home (gravitational constraint) but live as a fully potentiated large world nomad without wearing out welcomes, rather bathing your perpetually grateful series of hosts with your comet tails and new found interconnectivity.

This thought crystalized when a certain character was described to me. Not everyone has this capacity. Incidentally, this [character](http://blog.titaniumdreads.com/?p=796) is now staying with [us](http://blog.langtonlabs.org) for a month.