Monday, 7 November 2011

Recovering from the opportunities of 1980s or, "There is playdough in the chill-out room,"

Operator: Here we are, I have this connected for you now, it should run fine at least for the next few days.

[undoes cap and wipes finger around run and re-covers, smiling to no one in particular, a little C shaped gesture of the head]

Recovery is usually straight forward, there might be a few odd sensations here and there but don't worry. The medication you're on now will dull any pain, but more importantly it will subdue that feeling your getting.


Yes, the pins and needles. I spoke to a lad the other day described it as being like his nerves trying to make a fist or a shadow-puppet or something. Obviously that's  not what is really happening, and the sensation is all wrong because the signals can't be coming from where you think they are. Obviously.

[Wipes upper lip and sits down carefully, as if this action, of all the others that will be performed today is the one that will be observed, marked]

[Takes a small breath and allows features in face to wind up in a familiar way that comes before beginning the routine, speaking the words that have worn their way through time and observance. Familiarity is not comforting, not in this case, but it drives time and responsibililty as if on a belt and that does make things easier, one it's started it's as predictable as the morning news.]

[Does not say anything]

[There is a restaurant nearby, it is nearly full, only a few tables in awkward places between walls and fixtures, next to the toilets and beneath a speaker are empty, or at least occupied only by inanimate objects, possessions, shopping.]

Narrator: so where is it, where are they coming from?

Operator: Somewhere else, that's all the matters, some Other place. That's what is most important, they come from outside. It's a binary thing.

Narrator: But surely there is a gradient?

Operator: Not in this situation, not in most in my experience, the cut makes it pretty clear.

[A young couple are standing in the doorway of the restaurant, not yet committing to entering as if they can hang onto the moment before that decision is made, before the social armature swinging like a boom comes round. They stand in that dead space at the top of the arc, assessing whether it will work to enter this place to eat, whether it will be awkward, perhaps sharing a table, at least having to excuse themselves as they step past people already in mid flow of conversation, and food, protecting themselves further with protective laughter, fork gestures, protecting against an elbow in the back or a scarf knocked from the back of a chair. To enter into all of this is so much. The wind tips, the boom swings over and they enter, uncertain as to whether this decision is their own but by then it hardly matters, reflexes kick in and they are enveloped]

Operator: You're going to have to learn to let it go.

Narrator: let it go?

Operator: Yes.

[wipes lip again]

There's something that was there, but now it's elsewhere, it's in the Other space.

Narrator: That's ridiculous, it's in a space here, it's in a bin at the back probably, in a yellow bag and on a trolley,waiting to be moved again.

[Begining to obviously sweat, looking damp]

It's more active than me, and that's the problem, it's still part of me, the gap means nothing. I'm full of gaps, you're full of gaps! The thing that's me is monster.

Operator: ...

[shifts weight as if to get up, then repeats action in reverse, brings it back. Like a man in a bar racking the pool balls, that little flourish, getting more pronounced as the evening moves on, the more pitchers, the more won games, the more hopefully threatening stacks of 50p's on the edge of the table]

Now, look self image is a delicate thing, but you can't dwell on it, you need to understand...

Narrator: I do understand, you don't understand at all. I have gaps all through me same as you, that object out back, making its way in the world, that's still part of me, just like my primary school education is part of me, the way I learnt to form letters on those exercise books with the extra horizontal lines.

[Tries to stand but can't, sits down, sits up. rubs hands together, looks down at the beads of sweat on the backs of each hand. Watches one  droplet of water run off one way, and then another a different way. Blinks.]

There's just a blur that gets thicker in places, has some dense points, collision points, tight enough that I can sit on a chair with them but it's still all a blur, there's no line that says this is one thing and that's another.

Operator: But there is a line...

Narrator: No, no there isn't! We put the line done afterwards, and then forget that we did so, or at least try and forget. This is why we have courts for example, they spend day after day doing this activity that ends with a line being dropped on the ground and everyone trying hard to forget they just put it there. Day after day telling some poor soul that he transgressed while he looks at his feet and lies through his teeth that he knowingly did it as if there was a sign there.

Nothing categorically ends, well it does, but that category is what we put down. You know what though? that categories have been getting blurrier and blurrier themselves, mixing in with all those things they were meant to keep apart, like you've microwaved your ready made korma too hard and for too long and it just got up off that ceramic rotating plate and ate your face!

Operator: But division is what makes things work, you can't have a machine made out of jelly, the gears have to be distinct from one another, otherwise the energy wouldn't get anywhere.

Narrator: Rubbish! I love jelly, and the energy runs more efficienty through that than it does though the drive on a lathe, all that energy lost in a slipped belt, in the wearing of bushes, and the whole thing is making it self redundant all the time anyway, bringing on it's own obsolescence while continually looking the other way, pretending it can last for ever and it will harness all these kinetic and cultural forces in it's steel for all time. The jelly is far more efficient and it embraces it's own demise with no pretence, with dignity.

Operator: This is a very stressful time, you can't expect to adjust straight away, that's what we're here for, to put these systems in place to ease the transition to your new life. It's not even you new life, it's just your life.

[Wipes hands on down sides of trousers from hips to just above ankles, bending forward with head still looking straight ahead at all times, settling back. Leans forward to fall back on the old phrase]

Everything's going to be fine!

Narrator: I know it will be fine, I know it will be seamless, it's the seams which are false! It's the myth of the seams that are making this so stressful, they make you think you should know where you are but you don't. I mean, one doesn't, not "you" personally. The map isn't bloody there when you look down! I'm going to learn to accept it if it's the last thing I do! I'm going to learn to be overjoyed when people put their fingers in my food and leave them there, I'm going to spread myself out all over the place and just ooze and throb, it's going to be wonderful, I'm Whitney, I'm Chaka Khan, I'm every woman! I'm ready for the dream time, melt me!

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