Friday, August 22, 2008

from The Book of Random Access


Sanitise your shoes here! Lightweight scooters to fit in the boot of your car. You'll love our Halloween trick-or-treat bag. [modern] folkloric evidence [may not] reflect how the holiday might have changed; these rituals may not be "authentic" or "timeless" examples of pre-industrial times. Halloween was perceived as the night during which the division between the world of the living and the otherworld was blurred, so spirits of the dead and inhabitants from the underworld were able to walk free on the earth. The tang of coffee, the cold, bright morning air, makes you feel alive. Dazzling sun on car windows on the A52. I feel good, I knew that I would now. James Brown is dead. The A52 is gridlocked. Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, they've all come to look for America. They've come to sanitise their shoes, to buy new scooters, to look for England. I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes. Resonant rumour of sun, impulse of summer. The tang of coffee, the bright morning air, and I'm dreaming that the lost children walk again in the sun, as close as pain, unreachable as those in pain, as all-pervasive as waters rising over the crumbling shores of the eastern counties; fields under water after centuries, the contours of the land made strange. And yet some say that time is like a small harbour on the Atlantic coast, a sea breeze tugging the sails. Let's go, and look for the living; longitude and magnitude, master mariners all.


Outside, it's well below freezing but the coffee in here tastes good. SMS: Hi, hope u r feeling OK. Looking forward to seeing u 2morrow. Love Dadx. Everyone I know leads a life that has no time in it. Not literally, of course, that would be impossible. But a three hour journey down the motorway, a meeting, catch up on some emails, then head to the hotel and prepare a presentation for tomorrow? The Christmas trees in the car park and faery lights on the bushes have voices like female TV presenters; low and musical, authoritative, but ultimately insincere. I know it all. I'm learning to leave my history at the door and to think uncontrollably at the most inconvenient times of the world my enemy, my friend, my teacher. It's a state of mind, home. From my hotel window I watch a car with dark windows take the corner very fast, almost losing control, then screech off into the night. The position and the velocity of an object cannot both be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory. The very concepts of exact position and exact velocity together, in fact, have no meaning in nature. Ordinary experience provides no clue of this principle. My enemy, my friend, my teacher. It's her I'm thinking of. Without her I'd be nothing. A speck in the infinite. Of course, the behaviour of matter and radiation on the atomic scale often seems peculiar, and the consequences of quantum theory are accordingly difficult to understand and to believe.

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