Quantum Collapse

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“There are only two possibilities: yes or no,” Albert said to me.
We had been discussing my choices over a few beers. There were two women I could love. Which one was for me? I had two job offers in different cities. Which should I take? I wanted them all.
I thought about it. Choices were hard. “Why? Why can’t we have both at the same time? Like Schrodinger’s cat, alive and dead at the same time. We can have both yes and no at the same time.”
Albert shook his head. “Quantum collapse. Superposition only stays until someone takes a measurement. And that means once you see where you are, well, that’s where you are. Not in both places at once.”
I was young and determined. “I’ll find a way.” And I spent the rest of the night thinking.
It took more than the night. I read all I could about quantum mechanics, quantum collapse. I took trips through Hilbert space in my dreams.
I tried talking to kabbalists and gurus. I learned that reality is an illusion, but not how to see more than one illusion at once.
I tried drugs. They just made it worse.
Meditation. After a while, I could see the alternatives, but not clearly. And I could not live in them. I still ended up in one of the states, and not always the way I had seen. It seems that meditation also disturbed the quantum states.
I studied the different experiments. What caused quantum collapse? That stayed a mystery, but as I tried different combinations of electric fields, magnetic fields, suddenly, I found that I was seeing both states at once in my experiments. I found I was recording both states, but they were almost different “me’s”.
After a while, this stayed with me when I left the lab. This was great. I could tell when something was going to go my way, and choose that path.
I didn’t use this much. I met Lisa. I fell in love with her right away, and we became close.
But as things go, I still went places without her. Then I met Joanne. I fell in love with her, too. I agonized. Which one? Then, one night I realized. Maybe I could have them both! Each would be in a different quantum state, a different quantum world.
Some more late nights in the lab, and I found I could be in two places at once. I made my move and proposed to Lisa. And Joanne. I could have them both!
Meanwhile, my experiments were noticed. I ended up getting appointed as an assistant professor to both Harvard and Yale.
Now I lived in four quantum states, or more like worlds. Two professorships, each with two wives.
But I found there were limits. These worlds became indistinct; overlapping.
One day, got home, and called, “Linda, I’m home.” But Joanne was home. She overlooked it this time. But she remained suspicious.
I made the same mistake again, but with Linda. She wasn’t as nice about it. She’d call me at Yale. Or Harvard. After a while, she knew where I was all the time, and that I had no time for a girlfriend.
Then I composed an email discussing my research at Harvard – and sent it to a colleague in my other life at Yale. But, of course, that professor was only in one world; one where I was at Harvard. He contacted the department head at Harvard.
I had a very difficult time convincing him it was an error, picking the wrong email address.
And when I got home that day, the locks were changed. Joanne had gotten suspicious, wondering who this Lisa was. She never did find out, but filed for divorce, anyway.
Lisa, on the other hand, thought I was crazy and took me to a psychiatrist. What could I do? If I admitted that I was living in four quantum states at once, everyone would be convinced I was crazy. It is hard enough to convince another physicist that nature really is in several states at once, never mind a shrink who thought I was crazy to begin with.
He prescribed drugs. I tried not to take them. But Lisa hid them in my food.
Well, that Lisa did. The one where I was at Yale. The one at Harvard also divorced me. And Joanna in the world where I was at Yale also thought I was crazy. Must have been something about New Haven and Cambridge that made the women in each town think the same way.
The drugs had their effect. I got more confused. All the worlds overlapped. I could no longer keep them separate. I was crazy. I collapsed – I had my own quantum collapse.
But what happens to all the quantum states that are gone? I was never stable in any one of them.
I woke up in my bed back when I was a grad student. I was groggy; hung over. Albert was there. He looked hung over as well. “I guess we both had too much to drink last night,” he said.
I looked around. There were differences. Pictures that hadn’t been there before. Lisa and Joanne. In the other world, I hadn’t met them yet, but there they were.
I wasn’t hung over from beer. I had a quantum hangover.
But that night, I was back in the pub with Albert.
“There are only two possibilities: yes or no,” Albert said to me.
I looked down into my beer. I could see all the choices swirling in the amber liquid. Lisa. Joanne. Harvard. Yale. A Nobel Prize within my reach, if I could keep the states separate this time. I thought for a few seconds.
“You’re right,” I said, and raised my glass. “A toast, to the choices we make, and may they be the right ones.” We drank, but I felt more grounded than I had in years.

About the Author: 
I am a software engineer with degrees in Physics, and an aspiring writer