Is there anyone in this world more mysterious than Anonymous. Famous and infamous, ageless, timeless, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, offering wisdom, advice, encouraging words, although not always, occasionally going out of their way to brazenly insult, perhaps as a challenge to see what kind of a person we are, perhaps as a way to toughen us up, to balance our sense of ourselves, of other people, to let us know that not everyone will be kind, so we must strengthen the muscles we use to deal with adversity.
Although, so far, all the things Anonymous has had to say to me have all been very polite, kind, and thoughtfully thought-provoking.
Anonymous is a very curious soul, and loves to ask questions.
So, Anonymous asked me: If you were stranded on an island, what are the three things you would take with you?
Now, I could just give a straightforward answer. I am capable of doing so. But why would I do that when I can take a detour.
When I see or hear a question like the one above, my mind splits into levels of thought:
Level one sees and hears exactly what is being asked. It is the one who gives straightforward answers. A bit dull really, at least to the other levels it is.
Level two is highly suspicious of questions and immediately starts processing the words to find a hidden meaning, to try to understand the motivations of the querent, their reasons for asking such a thing. Such a difficult level to deal with when all someone wants to know is if you want paper or plastic. But these days paper means you are eco-friendly and plastic means you’re an Earth killing psycho. So, this level has its uses.
Level three. We’ll skip that one. Shiver.
Level four never hears or reads anything properly. Words get jumbled, confusion ensues, often filled with mirth. Typos are brilliant! And misconstruing things is the name of the game. Fun, but not helpful.
Level five never pays attention to anything, except pizza. And even then, the pizza often gets burned because it forgets it put the thing in the oven!
Level six is checking for correct use of grammar and typos. Annoying level!!! Nemesis of level four.
Level seven loves words. Loves to play with them. Roll them around on its tongue. It does not always get the pronunciation correct, but that does not matter to it, that is a problem for level six. Level six pisses all the other levels off!
Level eight is a philosophical place of existential pondering, and such… whatever such may be, etc. Wastes a lot of time, but there is always a reason for everything, including wasting time for time is never wasted, as time does not truly exist. Let’s move on shall we, or we’ll get stuck here. But what is here… shut up!
Level nine is a very silly place. Nudge nudge, know what I mean. Nothing to see here, move on, move on, quickly!
Level ten argues with everything. Quick, run, before it starts arguing with this!
Level eleven tries to please everyone, and therefore tries to find the most attractive answer which will be loved by all. Good luck with that!
Level twelve… Okay, I’m bored of the level thing now, and there are far too many of them to list, some of which I do not have access to. I may never have the pleasure, or the horror of visiting them. Blessing or curse, I do not know.
So, to answer the question, which is not easy considering most of the levels are vying to be the one to answer it. And some of those answers are so ridiculous I almost used them. One level suggested that I jumble several of the answers together. Guess which level that was.
Putting aside the more philosophical aspects of this, like the notion that we are all stranded on islands, desperately trying to make contact with each other by scribbling messages in bottles and throwing them into the sea of life, hoping someone will get them and come to our rescue, or visit us, or just send us a reply.
Putting aside the reason behind my being stranded on the island in the first place, either deliberately by me, or someone else, or accidentally. All of which would change the answer.
Putting aside whether I intend to escape or stay put. Whether the island is miles away from anywhere else, or just off the coast, attached to land by a bridge, in the ocean, a river, a lake, a duck pond, whether it is a sandbank, deserted, inhabited, tropical, an iceberg, small, large, full of mosquitoes, lizards, monsters, cannibals.
Putting aside all the complications I can find, and focusing on giving a simple, straightforward answer… which is really difficult because there are many variations, and I need more data.
A: Electricity, Internet access, computer.
I would have answered my very nearest and dearest, but until I know what kind of island this is, and why I am am there, I am not going to put them in danger.
What would your answer be?