Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photons taking shortcuts in vertical temperature gradients

If you have been to visit you know that I have lots of windows. Fifty six on the first floor alone. Big healthy windows. Some smaller but still sufficient to offer a good look at the city. West, southwest, and southern views can be had without effort. Just look. A southeast or east look requires a stretch of the head, maybe even an open window. So how is it I have come to only look out of a one of the fifty six? A fixation now on a one that provides a directly southern view. A low southern view to be more precise. I have heard it said that if you look too far south you will surely find Hell.

There is little to see. A cleared lot the size of two city blocks recently appeared, almost front and center. Like a taunt. What existed before now removed. Cleared. And there is no new construction. No one treads, nothing moves. On the periphery streams of automobiles move in diametric directions. Barely audible. A few veins of trees separate and surround the asphalt and the occasional pedestrian. Presumably for affect. Like a frame, a border. A suggestion of normalcy. It feels as cruel ruse. Insult.

One morning finds the cars move faster than is typical. As if the great Player of games has adjusted the settings. Now they move as if they are on a highway and not a city street. Constant acceleration. Blurrrr. Or perhaps I lack the discipline necessary to properly integrate the imagery. Their sudden insistence defeated by my indifference. Or vice versa and I will not argue. I don't particularly care. I did not ask for the settings to be adjusted. Just so you know I would have the street be emptied, entirely deserted, rather than populated by lifeless things that move faster than I care to watch. I can no longer scrutinize. Blurrrr. They all are as good as dead. I struggle to imagine. This inanimate world outside my window gives me nothing.

A stick figure of a man crosses closely in front of the traffic. Too closely, I think. A bit cavalier. A bit aggressive, almost assertive. He makes it halfway across before the light changes and so he stops in the center island - a thin strip of pavement in the middle of four divergent streams. He looks drab from this distance. He is drab. Too drab a fellow to scrutinize. But he wavers, almost staggers about, in the center island for a long moment, his unsteadiness jarring amongst such certain scenery, such predictable movements, and I wonder if he feels tempted by the thought of extermination by automobile. It is thrilling to consider and then I realize I must quickly consider my response - will I avert my eyes if he chooses to step in front of the onrush? No, of course not. I will watch. I do watch, intently. Stick man's gallery of one. And I urge him to DO IT. I'll hear nothing. His finish will be a silent one for this audience. I need not worry about the unpleasant squish of busted flesh, the crackle of shattered bone. It will be entirely visual and visceral.

I have been silent ten days now. And counting. The last person I spoke to looked out my southern window and smiled deeply. We all hate adverbs but I choose deeply because it seems the smile originated in a place out of reach to most, certainly I could not reach it, and her smile also contained a loveliness quotient that I do not adequately know how to describe or quantify. If I possessed more courage I might label it as blessed. The night was warm, almost hot, and as we had just returned from a long walk, so were we. This was a moonless night and so of course somewhat dark. But lots of city lights interrupted, a few headlights, the deep breathing of a double decker tour bus. She stood and looked and she liked what she saw. Deeply, as I said earlier. For an uncomfortable while I watched her watch. Eventually I touched her shoulder, turned her head away, towards mine. What, I asked. Tell me. What, I repeated. Tell me what you see.

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