Sunday, August 15, 2010
orwell wrote with profundity regarding the characters he could suppose based on the details of those he encountered. he sounds unafraid in his encounters, seeming to approach it all with an intellectual questioning, and a willingness to figure it all out. i have the questioning; it’s the willingness that often escapes me. i could be a detail-oriented person, writing essential lists of necessities for trips, or recounting in vivid splendor the sensory delights of my first kiss in a snowbank, or outlining the ideal attributes of the perfect cup of espresso. in reality, however, the one so eloquently and blatantly recounted by a down and out orwell, i am fastidious and neurotic, oriented only towards the mundane details like the end times of ebay auctions, the thread counts of some tire casing, the days since i last made love. this is ridiculous. in attempting to outline the details, the tiniest things that would put a reader into my soaking wet italian synthetic-leather road shoes on the side of a muddy, grassy bluff that juts out of one of the great lakes facing ontario’s wine region, i tend to forget the exact details that are important, and end up getting lost on the things i remember best. i used to photograph beautiful women without their clothes, preferably in industrial surroundings of decay and grainy spite, but the conceptual contrast was lost as soon as i got to frame. i spent the grainy real estate on the figure before me, and the background came in out of focus, unrecognizable, and ultimately benign. skin versus concrete doesn’t really present when skin is all one can see. i never did mind though...
to write within the details and come to some kind of inkling as to the identity of someone, maybe even the Self, one has to remember. unfortunately, a combination of sleep deprivation, obsession over the right place to deposit a two-year-old’s excrement at the right time, and the loose planning of the next meal has taken over my detail-detecting cognitive capacities. much of what i remember is out of focus and the texture of bisque.
through a glass darkly, however, is one of the best ways to remember, and recount, a story.
thankfully, i have only the attention spans for short stories, and tonight, only the attention span for snippets of character sketches, scene postulations, and what ifs. what if, after riding one’s bike for 70 miles in the vague direction of st. catharines, ontario, the bridge is out on the only road that allows bicycles and is going in a southerly direction? the sky opened, the protagonist laughed while donning a yellowing, clear PVC rain jacket, more duct tape than jacket, and the waves made the beach less than rideable. knowing he had been in trouble since he refused to turn around at a manageable halfway point, speculating that he would be home in many more hours and after much more self-imposed suffering, and at once aware and critical of the wetness of his carefully-planned matching blue and white kit, the protagonist furrowed his brow and made for the beach, hoping against hope that it would lead past the broken bridge.
next time, there will be grandiose descriptions of the grease patterns in my fingerprints, the 90’s-era pearl izumi teal (yes, teal) fingerless riding gloves i wore through everything, the rending crunch of gravel in my fancy italian riding shoes, the hopelessness of traction while carrying a road bike up a mud-grass bluff in said italian road shoes, the triumph of a snickers bar and gatorade for the exact amount of cash in my seatpack, the quirky disappointment of not pedaling all the way to a friend’s front door, the endlessness of the QEW monotony, the awkward return, long after dinner, in another man’s clothes, commando, and with a serious case of burning ass. next time.