“As I am sitting here in the shadows of our camp, just before last-light, and watching Holder brewing coffee–not in a pot over our fire, as he could do, but in the ‘coffee-maker’ in our ship–I cannot help but think how much more complicated human life is from that of my people, and my world. Much of it. I think, has to do with the thing they call ‘money’–their system of exchange of currency for goods, a custom I have learned in my travels is not limited to Earth or to humankind. Many worlds have ‘money’, and the humans have tried to bring all currency under one standard as they have tried to do with language. As yet, it has not worked. I do not think that it ever will, not completely at least.
Some simplifications are good–it is, in fact, easier to brew our coffee in the machine on the ship, and not over a fire. It takes less time, and is, I think, more efficient at actually extracting the coffee from the beans. Even some simplifications of language–I am glad that Galactic Standard exists, for it makes it easier for many peoples to understand one another. But I do not think it right that other languages should not be spoken–or sung, as is the case for the oldest language of my own people. It is not necessary for people to look the same, or speak the same way, or think the same way, so long as there is a common bridge to allow understanding.
Holder tells me that his kind once understood this better than they do now–and my kind once understood it better, too. I think that the simple truth of life is our commonality–our unity. All our different worlds are, when seen from a ship in the Sea of Stars, just small sparks orbiting around brighter fires that we call suns–many sparks, many fires–but all alike in life, and light. As we let our lives grow more complex, more complicated, we sometimes lose sight of this simple truth. Maybe we all should have spacecraft to lift us into the stars, so that we could see how tiny our great fires are, from out there. I am glad I have had the chance to see it, and to know.
Our fire is warm on my skin, and the touch of the coffee cup as Holder brushes it against my cheek–silly man–is warm as well. Simple blessings, like the simple–and yet not so simple–blessing of this man, and our love for one another.
Truth is simple, yes–but it can be complex as well. And that is not such a bad thing.
But, speaking of humans and how they complicate matters–there was once a human device called a ‘banana slicer.’ It did not last long, Holder tells me. Even humans know when things have, at last, grown too complicated. But, although we do not often have bananas, for they are rare even on Earth these days–we do have a banana slicer in our ship.
It is called a knife.”