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A RITUAL, DESCRIBED

Recently I have taken to going walkabouts in the tardé, (or ‘evening’ if you like,) so as to observe myself in my changing surroundings, at different times of the day. I had been used to walking in the mornings, and made this sudden change to my daily cycle after a heavy breakfast, which lead to a sudden insight into my own behaviour, which was followed by receiving a bill for the electric. I do tend to obsess somewhat over observing the ritual of daily routines, over how even slight variations within a dynamic system can produce quite dramatic effects, believe it or not. Not so much the famous ‘butterfly effect’ of chaos theory. This is nowhere near as elegant as that solution. Only a week ago, I found myself scouring the dusty corners of the streets, sifting for cigarette-ends for my collection at home. This activity was fully subsidised by the local council, and my research will be presented in a meeting at the ‘Ajuntament’, (or Town Hall, if you like,) some time later this life.

To move to the next discrete segment of my research, I altered the time-pattern of my walks, along with velocity, distance and direction. It seemed clear - to me at least - that I should pursue an orbital route about the place but without any strict rules or area of coverage, save for one caveat: I must not be seen. This is a private obsession concerning guerilla warfare, territory and paranoid delusion, the last of which is perhaps the most dysfunctional component in the desiring-machine. “An absurd obsession - he is mad!” you smirk over your goddamn dry martinis and SMART TVs. Well, I got fucking news for you sonny; if I wants to go walkabouts, with or without camouflage, is entirely my own business. Unless, of course, I get seen. But I’m really good, so whether you got a taste for dry martinis, sex on the beach, or whatever else it is that flicks your switch, you won’t ever know I’m there, and I’m only telling you now to make you paranoid yourself. Which is all part of my top-secret trout trout assignment anyway. Blip.

But, returning to the point of not being seen, I must clear some things up, especially for amateurs. The art of not being seen does not exclusively relate to disguise, deception, cover, camouflage or stealth technology or other conventional methods of not being seen. There is not sufficient budget with the Ajuntament, (or ‘Town Hall’, if you will,) to equip my person with stealth technology, especially given the record of my ‘type’ of research. Although I am decidedly interested in the invisible man theory of Plato, I do wonder if stealth might not be achieved by more, poetic, means. There are, after all, ways and means of disappearing into the background, or of becoming so absolutely insignificant so as not to be noticed. In fact, disappearing into the background - the street, the alley, the orange-grove, or just into your own life - is easier than you might expect. You can move naturalistically so as to fit into the anticipated randomness of events, and rely on the knowledge that nobody but yourself is interested in your life whatsoever. Attracting suspicion is all par for the course, but even though you may be noticed as you amble along the street towards the bakery, your presence will never register and thus, like a zebra among the grass, you slide in, and disappear.

And so, just as easily as you played a part in the natural order of events so as not to be seen, you are likely to discover the dangers of seven o’clock in the tardé in New Town: that in sliding into the long grass, you have no way to extract yourself - you have become background, only background...

Jim Broadband

Maig 16-th, 2017