I always expected life to be a bit more grand. A nice characterful house and some land, recognition for my creative contribution. Space enough for pets and family, and enough income to support and maintain them.
Instead I find myself in the launderette, on an overcast Sunday, swearing at the machine that eats £5 and will not start, sending passive aggressive texts to the owners on numbers that I can’t be sure will reach them. I read my book, and lose myself in a world of fantasy. I listen to the beeping of the pedestrian crossing, the surf sound of passing traffic, the repetitive rumble of the dryers.
I fold away dry things, walk back home along Sidwell Street, the odd slab of pavement wobbling and clunking underfoot, improvised weapons for a riot that will never come.
At home, I put the electricity key in the meter, accepted, I will not freeze at least. I close the door behind me. The ticking of a lucky cats waving arm, the only sound in the Sunday silence.
I’m watching the film Moses on my iMac. I’m very tired, and keep nodding off, Charlton Heston and the voice of God reawaken me each time. I awake a final time, headphones strangling me. I rip them off, and head for bed. In the bathroom, I look into a mirror. A younger me. The eyelids are seamless, sealed shut, yet still I can see.
I look through my bathroom door, I can see the bedroom beyond, lights flash through the X-ray windows. I float through the door. In the bedroom, I try, and fail, to get comfortable on the bed.
I set up a large remote control helicopter. It’s too large to fly indoors. It warns me of the danger, and I power it down. Arabic men rush to look outside. It is snowing heavily. They are excited. We go outside. In the souk, a startled white and tortoiseshell cat, spins on its head, and freezes, like a break dancer. We all laugh. I sit and stroke the cat. A Hindu man sits with me, and we all discuss the promotion of our friend to the British Museum. The Arabs want to use this connection. I think that these small, brown, men should start their own Masonic brotherhood.
I’m flying through an animation of London. The POV starts under the Thames, and flys along a corridor of supporting columns under major landmarks. There’s a secret symbolism here, a secret door that opens as perspectives align. I discuss this with a man in the street. He thinks it’s very 80s, and crosses the road. I follow him. I wait outside a shop. Through the window I can see it is mostly gaudy clothing for middle aged women. I enter, and head upstairs. I hear repeated noises. On the floor, many large, irregularly shaped slabs of wood. Each divided into a collage, animated gif portraits loop endlessly. Stepping over them, I see more erotic images at the far side of the room. The assistant tells me that these are not for sale. I ask him to bring one to the pub for me later. We sit, and view a 3D gif of The Persistence of Memory. I wonder why people don’t display fine art on their device screens when they’re not in use. We talk about this.
I stand up to go, and the assistant joins me. We walk outside, and down a ramp, complementing a young man on a bike for his sharp clothes. We enter a fast food place. My old boss serves a variety of spicy sausages in seed covered baguettes. He stretches a baguette, and wears it as a hat. We laugh. I walk into a market with S. We browse hippy clothes, and greet friendly dogs.
I’m still aware.
More aware, perhaps, than ever before. The atoms that make up my body reawaken to universal awareness. There is no separation. I’m a monad. We atoms are all one.
From this perspective, I can see that what I considered consciousness, or self-awareness, was a dim candle to the bright sun of this direct experience. I see my physical existence in four dimensions, the flow of matter and energy. Food that became my body, breath that kept me alive, output products as ripples in a sea of matter. I am a twisting worm in time. Fatter in the middle. I spin a helix around the path of the earth, and the path of the sun. These were my true limitations. Like a ripple on a frozen sea. Zoom in, and there are details in the helix, wobbles from this country to that, repeated fractal patterns of commuting and consumption. I am a waveform, a vibrating string. My habits harmonics, adding a unique timbre to my existence.
Like a wave, I was never really there. An emergent phenomena of matter in motion. Facing forever the direction of times arrow. Blind and blinkered by narrow bands of perception.
A canal, with a view from underneath. Glass windows into dark water. I’m in China, walking down a huge, ornate stairway in a hillside. It begins to rain. Thunder and lightning. On a rooftop, a man hits golf balls into the sky, and the balls are struck by lightning. I pick one up from the ground. It is elongated and deformed by the strike. People rush from the storm with umbrellas. In another rooftop, a second man hurls golf balls to knock the first guys balls out if the sky, before the lightning strikes.
I keep the deformed ball, and walk to work with a friend. He claims A started working with us twelve years ago. We’ve only been working together for eight years. I enter a shopping centre, browse some duty free woks, and ride the upward escalator. At the top, wheels propel me across to another escalator, this time made of soft play materials. I scramble up it, thinking of Alastair Sim.
I’m on a career experience. R and I are on a farm. He shoots time lapse video of andromeda setting over a shitty field. I discover the locals have a word for shitty fields, they call them ‘Bisbys’. I share this with R. He reminds me that was a nickname for someone local we used to work with. It explains a lot. He was full of shit.
We walk to meet other workers, discussing our previous experiences. This is the third time we’ve been to this farm. I’ve been to another one also, not too far away. We see the H brothers clearing a field. This reminds me of other times I’ve worked away from home. We agree it’s a great company we work for, that allows us to do so much stuff outside, to help the local environment grow. To do work beyond the boundary of the business.
I’m walking with a group of anarchists. We pass the Eiffel Tower and some black vehicles and planes. We steal them, for our cause. They belong to Russian Bolsheviks inside a nearby building, having a meaningless discussion. They are all words, and no action.
We arrive at a park with many vehicles. I sit in a yellow sports car, waiting for the owner. He arrives. I steal a new battery for him from another car. This is what we do. Property is theft, and theft is proper. I talk to the owner while I take parts from another car. I tell him how I hear voices, and see shady figures telling me that my actions are saving lives.
I’m stood in an empty building. Everything has been stolen. Blobs of shit are everywhere. Two large dogs try to come in. I throw a shitty sponge at them. Their owner appears. The dogs are friendly. I take them outside to play. I throw the shitty sponge for them to chase. It hits a parked car, and showers everything in shitty blobs. Everything is tainted with shit. The smaller dog has a horse as a friend. I go back inside. People help to strap me into a weird commode. A head restraint holds me in place. I look up a hallway. Easter eggs coated in viscous feaces cover the floor. Everything is shit. I have a vision of an ageing band, manipulated by a coke covered alien manager. His head, a bannister, on a white powdered stairway to success.
The bucket in the commode is nearly full. I free myself from my restraint. Walking uphill THL brings me clean underwear and socks. I search for the stolen black machines, that are the key to the revolution. The key that stops the shittiness of everything.
Cars slip by on wet, black hole roads, stellar plateaus in rainbow oil spills on the dark surface. Cars glide to a slow halt. The mother gets out. In the bakery, we talk.
A dusty blue cat, wraps himself around a vase like a scarf, eyes like LSD. Other cats come in, they are memories of him. They lay on a field of sofas, filling the visible space. I climb up to the shelf with the vase cat. I open a window. I sit on a tray that rotates and floats outside, above an earlier scene below. A girl with red hair and a scarf, friends going for a drink in the snow. Music plays. I spin in time.
I see a whole story. My life so far. But I see it from the wrong direction, I’m looking back in time. Travelling that way, I see key points that lead to heartbreak. I slide my car in front of the bakery. I tell my younger self not to talk to EG’s mother, or to stroke the blue cat. Only sadness will come of it. My younger self doesn’t want to listen, to me or anyone else, without an explanation, that he is incapable of understanding from his perspective.
I’m outside a club. S has driven a comedy van there, like a mini clown van. It has a bar in it. He fixes us drinks, that we plan to take inside. He borrows the van from the Wants man, who parks it outside his house. In the club, I talk to two smartly dressed black girls. They love rock music, and guys in tuxedos. I tell them they are unlikely to find both in this rock club.
I’m at EG’s house. I’m planning to grow some magic mushrooms. A friend doesn’t think that’ll be allowed. I plan to cover it by growing edible mushrooms too.
Her dogs vie for my attention. One eats a dried magic mushroom. The other, a German Shepherd, dances with me on two legs, flexing his muscles. He becomes almost human, his fur now sparse sequins as I scratch his back. EG appears. She wishes I’d scratch her the same way. I give her the attention she needs. She wears blue, sequinned, underwear.
I spin above on my record, the same sad tune destined for eternal recurrence.