Go up a Level

A STRANGE PART OF TOWN

Part 1

Often, when one walks off the familiar routes and into parts of town upon which one has never set foot, it can feel as though something has changed. It seems to you that all of a sudden you are greeted by strange glances at a street corner, or a pair of eyes traces your movements from behind a partially-drawn curtain. The doors to a pub seem to be closed in such a way that you are not desired to open them, and so you draw back from the door and are moved along, along a street which is there simply to enable you to leave this place as swiftly as possible and not to stick to the sides and collect like rubbish in a corner, not to belong here or to desire to belong here. Before long, the number of people on the streets has doubled and you escape nobody’s attention any longer, existing only for them as they assemble in groups around you, at places which make it difficult to pass them on the pavement and must walk in the road to avoid them, almost being hit by a truck which passes, slows down and stops whilst the driver and his man look at you impassively as you pass.

But in crossing the next road it feels as though the curious sensation has disappeared. Someone passes you on the street who tried to ignore you, other people are talking to each other without any knowledge that you exist. Now you grow secure having vanished from view, and you forget the whole experience as an imaginary aberration, and nothing more.

Part 2

Sometimes, when the sun is setting in a funny way, it can seem as though there is no way down this particular road that will not certainly meet with hostile resistance. You can also forget that there is always a point of least resistance; it is often a question of doing the right things in the right order.

As with a Chinese box you watch the way things move - their orders, arrangements, vectors, mechanisms - until the multiplying combinations offer up a temporary entrance. It could be something as large as the angle at which a car parades along the pavement in front of a group of teen-aged girls clustered in a doorway, or it may be as small as the momentary flash of sunlight reflected from a tenth-storey window as a wife shuts out the sound of an argument with her lover. At any rate, chance brings opportunities if you are willing to act upon them, though such sudden windows often vanish as quickly as they appear.

Go up a Level