focusing too much on the things passing by.
birds going by, dead leaves sweeping past. people (anonymous to me) driving by in shapeless cars. me (anonymous to them) drifting in the distance behind them. stars rolling around at night. the computer fan whirring all day; stopping at night.
silence fading into sound. sound going silent.
the fridge motor really gets to me, its mechanical patter. those droning, empty sounds are the most rich, for me. i get sad when they stop. computer fans, distant traffic, the fridge purr. noises without codes, i need those to live. i can steep for hours in those, in the sounds passing by.
i liked touching this one brick when i was a kid. it was in a classroom and it had this rough texture, a wonderful thing to touch. it never moved…it was never going to fade as a result of my touching, but i knew the school year would end and i’d eventually change classes. so i thought about it a lot, the brick, the way it felt. i had this profound sense of loss before I’d ever left it.
i wondered how i would handle it, being in a different classroom, away from the daily routine of that particular brick’s texture. i’d run my hand over it, try to imagine what a different wall would feel like…but i couldn’t conjure an image or feeling. all i could think about was that brick, that moment; its inevitable absence. i couldn’t push my mind anywhere new or different. there was there and a weird nostalgia for the thing right in front of me.
i don’t know when kids, generally, start thinking about death, but i started then, seven or so. the need for sameness encountered the impossibility of sameness. loss became a reality.
it made me curious. when will i die? when will mom and dad die? every time we got a new pet, i’d look at it and wonder, how long? and when the pet died, i’d think back to the first moment i saw it…my memory spooling out like a tape measure, stretching backwards in time…and i’d dwell on that: this creature’s duration, its life a visible impermanence.
ambient fans, obdurate walls. the tender, breathing things.
sometimes the lack of meaning in it all is nice; the relief of codeless noises. existence as a brief and funny-sounding verbal pause.
i don’t know what i’m talking about, really. this is me just typing. this is letters passing by.
i read this in a book today. it made me feel feelings. this is from ‘death on the installment plan’ (and the ellipses are not mine, this is straight from the book):
“Ah, it’s an awful thing…and being young doesn’t help any…when you notice for the first time…the way you lose people as you go along…buddies you’ll never see again…never again…when you notice that they’ve disappeared like dreams…that it’s all over…finished…that you too will get lost someday…a long way off but inevitably…in the awful torrent of things and people…of the days and shapes…that pass…that never stop…All these assholes, these pests…all these bystanders and extras strolling under the arcades, with their glasses, their umbrellas, and their little mutts on the leash…you’ll never see them again…Already they’re passing…they’re in a dream with the others…they’re in cahoots…soon they’ll be gone…It’s really sad…it’s rotten…A wild desire took hold of me…I was trembling with panic…I wanted to jump out on them…to plant myself in front of them…and make them stop where they were…Grab them by their coats…a dumb idea…and make them stop…and not move anymore…stay where they were, once and for all…and not see them going away anymore.”
already they’re passing
in a dream with the others