near Jemez Springs, New Mexico
December 22, 2003, 1.25PM MST
Samsung E715 Camera Phone
i had left boyfriend at the car rental place, only a block from his apartment. we'd spent a very warm thanksgiving in virginia with my family, but the drive to new york was long and wearisome. stop-and-go. mostly stop. we were tired. he did return-car stuff, and sent me home to unpack.
"home." i say it without thinking now. i suppose if i must say this, i will. the word primarily refers to boyfriend's apartment, where the two of us have been spending our nights. all of our nights. when we're in new york. i said this word aloud, to the dark, and to the cold and far west village block i was on. home. there was something about the cold air, whose icy hand was on the back of my neck, that made me realize this home was new for me, and not the home i have had for the last six and one half years, fifty blocks uptown. yet like breathing, or my heart contracting, making my skin flush against the chilly atmosphere, i still autonomically called the place i was heading home, even though, according to tax records, condominium authority, and my new york state driver's license, i was a guest there.
when i got to the corner, a woman asked me for directions. she wanted to know where st. luke's street was: she had parked her car there and was now frantic and lost in the village. i felt sorry for her, just traveling so far myself, longing to get back to my gorgeous city, and was ready to assist her any way i could. yet as she finished her story, she leaned forward in excitement. we were twenty four inches apart, and i was given a dose of her exhaled air, with no choice but to smell a strong odor of cheap red wine on her breath. the waves of dissonance between her appearance (very well-tailored), and her state (extremely drunk), paralyzed me, and the rosiness of my sympathy faded to a faint yellow, something like the street lamp we were under. adding to this feeling was the fact that she didn't seem to want to hear my reply at all, even interrupting me before i could tell her "i can't help you, i have never heard of st. luke's street".
as you all know, i never say words, or phrases, or sentences, or even cliches, with the intent of fixing their meaning to a particular thing. i am speaking very precisely, and efficiently, by layering several meanings into a single phrase. i sincerely wish to exactly elucidate parallel, but non-intersecting, thoughts, and it is one of our language's great powers that we are able to do this. of course, it depends on speaking to someone who will understand that when i say "minion" (in referring to a friend at the office whose responsibility it is to carry out tasks i assign to him) that i mean "underling" and "little darling", at once.
when speaking in multiple truths, the meanings gravitate toward each other, creating a wordless gap--inhabited by a spectrum of all the values of semiotic meaning that you could mean--between them that begins to give our language depth, and incidentally defines someone's creative voice. it is poetry in daily speech, and it is a wonderfully multivalent thing.
there is another reason to do this. the wordless gap i speak of, created by this intentional multiplication of truths, is the basis for all architecture, an act of creation and experience not, in any way, defined by words. architectural experience is not touched by language, and so language must delimit what the architecture is not (or, and sadly, more common, the unsatisfying way of describing a work of architecture by a pathetic name that does not begin to describe its fullness, if fullness is to be had). mentally absorbing those great pauses, we define our world in experience, long before we can get to any words. it is the basis for the cinematic experience, too, where time, sequence, and images can replace letters on a page or non-musical sounds from a larynx intended to say something.
jesus, when karen and i would design together, we would speak in the strangest, impressionistic words. we were speaking volumes in pregnant phrases. we would say a few of these, go back to our desks, and design worlds of roof structures, theaters, exhibitions, gardens for churches, churches, and anything else we could get our hands on. it was really efficient. i can think of only three or four others who i can do this with. yes, jennie is one of them.
the woman on the street breathlessly continued through my pause. "please, please, can you help me! i've walked all over and around and i need you to help me."
she kept saying the last part over and over. you. her emphasis on that word, the second time, pushed me clear out of mild indifference and very much into annoyance. she was speaking in multiple truths too, although in this instance she was using both ends of her phrase to communicate separate desires. she wanted to find her lost car; she needed me, in particular, to help her. what annoyed me was that i believed at that moment she was simply using the first truth to realize the second. that, by having me help her find her car, she would accomplish her ersatz goal of gaining all of my attention. it was both a plea for help and a ruse, and i did not find the spectrum of meaning very pleasing, and failed to see the diversion. i was really tired.
"go to the restaurant on the corner." i pointed it out. it is a warm and welcoming place that belongs to the neighborhood, and is in turn one of its centers of gravity. boyfriend and i eat there as often as possible. "they are very friendly and will take care of you." i used my most compassionate, calm, and firm voice. they would help her. they would help her.
i'm too tired right now to parse that phrase. but i will say that i helped her in many ways, by telling her a single thing. there was no reason for me to be snippy with her, simply being too tired then to help her myself. so i sent her on her way, with the satisfaction that i had given her a true, friendly set of statements, all designed to alleviate her anxiety, yet turn her attention elsewhere.
i kept walking. i parked my little language lesson for the day and turned my thoughts back down the street. home. i looked forward to getting to the apartment, because i was tired of sitting in a car, and tired of standing on a cold street, yet now, my attention directed back toward my original objective, i suddenly felt that i had already gotten there. my baby and i had traveled so much in the last two months that home is wherever the two of us happen to be, together. home is us-together, and not any fixed thing. it is a set of rooms, houses, hotels, bathrooms, clubs, cities, airports, first class cabins, automobiles, and restaurants that seem to move around us and our love. that is home. and for once in my life, once, i don't have to ask strangers how to find it.
literature = fiction vs and + nonfiction
architecture = representation vs and + construction
Charles Street, New York City
December 11, 2003, 5.28PM
Samsung E715 Camera Phone
architectural model on a CRT monitor, New York City
December 9, 2003, 9.26PM
Samsung E715 Camera Phone
as you may have heard, i bought a new phone. i just transferred all the numbers. why have picture phones been blessed with the worst, most encumbering software imaginable, especially as the feature set has expanded?
the old telephone, the second one i have owned, is scratched, and sits like a scarred elder next to its newer, smaller friend. it is twice as heavy as my new phone, and so it sits next to its sibling as if it is fatigued by its own weight. or perhaps the weight is emotional: after all, it has seen and heard so much more than its cousin. it heard me break up with one particularly vicious malicious guy when i realized we weren't even friends, much less lovers, and it heard him call me back right away, saying that he hadn't received closure yet, bizarrely calling my second love (the second star) names he did not deserve. it has listened to many fights with friends, even the ones unspoken. it recorded hundreds of appointments for haircuts, voting dates, date dates, sex dates, and dinner dates. it has heard me say "i love you" to a lover for the first time over a telephone. it heard me speak to all of the three terrors, and it helpfully remembered their numbers. it has heard me speak to my mother about many, many things. although it has stayed maddeningly silent at times, it has mostly helped convey very happy news, such as new projects and affairs of the mind and body. it delivered, for an hour, my boyfriend's voice from singapore during our first telephone conversation.
yet at the moment it is utterly useless: its number, and its name, has been transferred to a new phone and by a new cellular service provider, as if its soul, having passed out of its old body, simply took hold of a new baby avatar to continue its long life, leaving behind an empty husk two and a half years out of date.
in short, my lifeline has been reincarnated. but it does not quite remember everything it used to know.
i delete the numbers after i type them into the new phone, so i don't duplicate my efforts. it's a very cleansing process, much the way that a change of apartments offers the beneficial incentive to discard all of the clutter one has accumulated over the six and one half years one has occupied a rent-stabilized apartment in hell's kitchen. with the change of telephones, the revolution of the wheels of technological progress tend to destroy numbers that are no longer of use, are out-of-date, or are irrelevant. some numbers are erased and never transferred. some get typed into my mac's address book, but are kept there, and therefore ensconced in my be-synched ipod, because i have no use for them except in the case of an unforseen, yet unlikely, emergency.
now, the task is nearly complete.
the last one to be deleted is entry number 79. he is the only trick whose number ever stayed in my phone for more than a week. it was the only number that made it from my first phone to my second phone, yet it was never used. the number was carefully kept in that phone, the way one keeps a dried red maple leaf or newly picked orchid bloom in a pocket full of coins and keys. his number, and the connection it implied, was like a fragile precious amongst all the loose clanging things that get you somewhere.
like my second phone, this number has long outlived its usefulness. yet i hesitate to remove it. like Phone's consciousness, i also do not quite remember everything i used to know, especially after periods of my life that are clearly transitions from one embodiment to another, and so removing the last number signifies my entry into a new stage of living, one that surrounds me with loving friends, loving family, and loving boyfriend, with room for few others. it means a commitment to upgrading my life's rolodex, as boyfriend puts it, surrounding myself with those who wish to contribute to my happiness, as i do to theirs. but i linger on this one entry, perhaps because i am hesitant to make this commitment to my improved self. or, perhaps, because i am unsure whether the possession of this last number would, in some way, not contribute my continued happiness simply by copying his telephone number: it is not always useful to forget one's former self.
West 54th Street, New York City
December 1, 2003, 8.52PM
Samsung E715 Camera Phone
This is just a little samba
built upon a single note
Other notes are bound to follow
but the root is still that note
This new one is just the consequence
of the one we've just been through
As I'm bound to be the unavoidable consequence of you
There's so many people who can talk and talk and talk
And just say nothing oh nearly nothing
I have used up all the scale I know
That in the end it's come to nothing
oh nearly nothing
So I come back to that first note
as I must come back to you
I will pour into that one note
all the love I have for you
Anyone who wants the whole show
Ré Mi Fa Sol La Si Do
He will find himself with no show
better play the note you know
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.