No time for dreams here. Days too consumed for the freedom of random night thoughts. Install, lecture, install, meet up. Classified. “International Guest.” There are moments when the conversation lags and my other mind creeps in. I forget to ask for takeaway and find myself staring at a heavy plate with egg on top. The light flickering in the underground court like a scene from Blade Runner. Minus the rain. I eat with a spoon. Everything now is about running on skeletal power. Conserve. Even Mad Max had to turn off the blower from time to time.
Time passes by the ratio of desk lamp to shadow creeping in from my right. The color in my apartment shifts from blue to gray to red, ultimately setting on white until the darkness wins out once again. Managing detail is what life on the road is about. There are many. Too many actually, and you know some will return home neglected. Pick your battles and win the war. Survive to fly another day.
Hotels for rent by the hour. Pregnant women smoking. What is it about these things that rakes us so? Is it because even those involved in the nasty bits know it goes against the flow? Against the middle, cultural tide of knowingly bucking the trend of complacency? Nails on a chalkboard lit up by neon on a Tuesday afternoon in the downtown area. Bankers in suits, students and hundreds of thousands of worker bees. But up those dingy steps awaits another world separated only by particle board, glass and secrets.
A chance to talk to students. Not something I take lightly. The job is to go too far then pull back slightly. Like the rays of a torch shining out into the night. Eventually the beam tapers off and you are left alone in the elements of the world beyond. The only illumination coming from your own power plant of emotion and idea. It can be a lonely, lonely place but it can also be the source. Of what? Of everything you have ever dreamed of and more. “We are all Buddhas.” Same is true for anyone who has the itch to inspire, warn or understand. Sometimes there isn’t anything out there, beyond the torch. Just darkness. And just when you think all is lost a firefly dances on the horizon signaling dawn and a new day, or idea or collaboration and your soul is sucked back into the light.
It’s okay to cry no matter the length of your beard. If you think you are in control in this mess you just haven’t read the instructions yet. But what you do is just keep moving. Pointing whatever it is you point. Pen, pencil, camera, brush. Take a step back. Understand that beneath the veneer of society is a living organism. Primal. Connected. The paint will eventually fade, but what matters is what is under the hood.
Outside the traffic sounds like water over rock. Steady. Time to point the nose downstream.