A/N: I was staring at my lava lamp. I was also talking to the incomparable and always inspring Reyclou (the Dusty Bottoms to my Lucky Day). It made me philosophical. Blame her and the inventor of the lava lamp for the following.
Teyla tipped her head at Rodney curiously. "It is a what?"
"A lava lamp."
"Doctor McKay, I do not understand." The Pegasus native stared at the plastic capsule lamp with confusion. "I have read much about the volcanoes of your home planet and as I understand it, they are very terrifying, destructive things. I cannot comprehend why anyone would wish to have molten lava trapped under glass."
"No, no," Rodney replied, shaking his head. "It's not actual lava...they just call it that because of the way it looks."
Teyla turned back to stare at the strange orange formations that floated within the lamp. "Then what is this substance?"
"Water and heated wax," the physicist explained, enjoying the look of utter puzzlement that graced the ordinarily serene Athosian's features.
"Why would anyone wish to own such a device?" Teyla asked, reaching out a hand to gingerly touch the warm glass. "What purpose does it serve?"
"Well, none really. It's just a neat looking light," Rodney answered with a careless shrug before his expression turned somewhat thoughtful. "Although, sometimes I think life is like a lava lamp."
Teyla glanced at him, looking at him oddly. "Life is squishy and gives off an ethereal glow?"
Rodney couldn't suppress the wry grin that tried to spread on his face at her assessment. "Not exactly."
"Please explain, Doctor McKay. I wish to understand."
"All the little blobs within the lava lamp...they all seem to have somewhere to go. Up and down and side to side." He touched the lamp and followed on of the little bubbles of orange wax with his finger. "Sometimes they join with other blobs temporarily..."
The blob he was following with his finger melded with another one, illustrating his point as he continued on. "And then they separate again--slightly different--to continue their journey to nowhere in particular."
"They're all like people." He smiled somewhat bitterly. "Little blobby people."
Teyla watched the movement within the lamp with interest as Rodney drew her attention to another sphere of wax as it floated along. "They get together, they change, they separate, and off they go on their merry way. In constant motion and continually bumping into each other."
Rodney pointed at one particularly large ball of wax that bounced off all the others and all the walls without joining any of its brethren. "See that one? It just shoves all the other ones out of the way. It doesn't join up with them, it just keeps moving without merging and...well, people can be like that."
"But, I suppose the whole concept makes more sense if you're stoned," he continued dismissively, clearing his throat and turning away from the lamp. "Like I said, it's just a neat looking source of light."
The Athosian at his side watched the goings on inside the lamp with an unsettlingly strong look of insight written across her features. She looked back at him, reached out and squeezed his hand briefly before releasing it once more in a gesture of friendship and perception. "I believe I understand."
Rodney ran his hand through his hair awkwardly as he coughed unnecessarily. "Well, that's good."
"There is one thing I do not fully grasp though, Rodney."
"What is 'stoned'?"