Who was sitting there in the idiot box today? Relaxed, decked out in West African raiment, in a bandana to finish off all bandanas, smiling, calmly composed and supposedly glimpsing snatches of future. Who? Mama Ndjaye and Dadyou. Two middle-aged, I guess Nigerian, women getting their sooth-saying mojo on on Swiss TV. If it is so obvious does it even still qualify as a scam?
I watched in awe and perplexion as Mama Ndjaye told desperate Swiss housewives their romantic futures in elegantly broken German. “Be done with the past, once and for all, before you move on.” But this gem was not uttered until Dadyou [a name reconstructed from memory] smiling complexly, shuffled a sizable pile of shells and bones lying on a table before them, the two casual futurologists.
The camera switches to a Google’s eye view so the TV-caller can see for herself and tell from the disorderly arrangement of crustaceans “Yes, indeed, that is the corresponding constellation of shells!”
At a bargain of 4.50 CHF a minute, Mama & Dadyou shooting the breeze clairvoyantly. [And somewhere I imagine massive, middle-class Nigerian hand-wringing and animadversion at this catering to one of the more discumgogulated stereotypes.]
The next day is here yet again, implacable. We faced away form the sun for a few hours, stared out at the dark from the beginning, let our dreams drift there and now we are again facing the searing smile of sun. We splutter “The heat! The Heat!” True, it is like 2003 again, the climate change turned a few fractions of a degree worse, the Northern Temperate zones have become, what-have-you, intemperate.
Sweltering, scorching, flambéing hot. Cannot think straight. Metal surfaces become improv BBQs and nobody doubts that humanity has likely diddled the atmosphere for good. Too busy trying to think to the end of ones thoughts, inhale the next gulp of steamy, cutable air. So hot there is an official work stoppage and I spectrally wonder what is so wrong with all around public nudity? What is wrong with strangers lying in the shadows of tall buildings, oblivious to GDP, just perspiring and procreating? What harm would that do?
Internet advertisements appear to have had enough of their bannered, screen-side existence. For a while now, enjoying the benefits of animation and (Flashplayer?) they have begun to intrude upon their domestic host websites, distracting from the content as best they can. As though the content itself often was not already distracting enough by dissolving into instant commentary, a babble to accompany affected global events. Or: content my @ss!
These days though [mid july 2010, planet earth] they have taken their incursions (and their monomaniac battlecry of “Buy me! Buy me! Buy me!”) a step further. They do so by forcefully covering up the homesite with their own frantically animated surfaces and horseplay. In my lmtd mind, perhaps somewhat benevolently, I call this “disruptive”. The content supposed to be conveyed from the website to the user is disrupted by the interposition of advertisements. It is all the hapless Internet surfer can do, given this rogue info wave, is to focus her/his optical energies and pattern-recognize the little “X” and click it before the disruptive advertisement has so shape-shifted that that desperate click lands on the ad itself, plunging one into the watery depths of its own homepage on a newly opened tab.
Migros, advertising Primus inter pares of Swisserlandia, has taken this wish of commercial promotion, the will of the consumption champions to disrupt content, to its logical endpoint.
An orange trickster pig, name of Miggy, can be seen fiendishly grinning, hunched over an old-skool, push-stick TNT detonator-box, trying to stop its ear with its free hoof. The fuse snakes through the site to an explosively affordable payload of Migros produce & products. The lever is depressed and the content blows up in our faces, reduced to a heap of debris of broken sentences and image fragments. For a few moments the deep fantasy persists. Miggy has done it, the destruction of meaning in the name of consuming.
Then eventually, slowly, with a sigh of fake relief and apprehension and unmentionables, you detect or at least I do, the reconstructive “X” [in the upper left] and click on it.
Not that I actually care what the Tagesanzeiger has to blab about.
Perhaps people could melt in the sun like ice-cream. After all after dropping dead we don’t dry out, we liquefy, becoming a puddle of foul juices. Quietus, quiet juice. I mean what type of liquid would we become under this 35degreeC sun?
The heat, the heat, the heat. Listen to us, dazed and stunned, lobsterized, waiting for the evening’s benign thunder-crack and deluge. This July has sublimated us beyond even the level of bitching.
We simply wish to retain our human shape, not to be washed away by this torrid shower of Photons.
Heliophilia can be tough love.
I was going to write smthng, I think, about self-consciousness in DF Wallace and in McCarthy but it slipped my mind. There are crevices in consciousness on the other side of which, much darker and hotter, are the things we would rather not think about.
TMC, Necronaut Chairman, writes about his protagonist observing in one of the tube’s turnstile foyers, an escalator lying around dissembled into its individual steps for repair/maintenance. He had until then always only perceived an escalator as a whole thing, one continuous, rotating loop where a discrete step, in as far as it exists, is only defined by its position in the sequence. Like sons and fathers in a line of ancestry, one succeeding the next down the generations. But here lay the escalator, separated into its single elements, like a dead animal perhaps, its sequence of rotation/procreation broken.
It is a powerful image; I can see those corrugated, dented, blackened steps lying on their side, like peculiar molars or shovels.
In the concourse. On a marble floor.
But then yesterday evening, the 16th, after dayz of infernal heat, just as it was about to be broken by a downpour, the horizon dark orange and grey waiting to unload, Mc Carthy’s image met its equal. I did.
On the other side of the bridge, spanning Station and Schwanen, I could make out a huge truck towing a gigantic, one-piece white structure. It was the biggest monoform piece of anything I had ever seen towed out in the streets.
[There are those intervals that I experience, of total innocence. My mind meets an object it does not know, an object it cannot even place within its existing matrix of knowledge and so begins rabidly scrambling to analyze/recognize/make-sense-of said object. In a certain regard these are peaceful moments despite the frenzied cogitation, some of the few times I am free of B.S.]
Eventually I honed in on the hypothesis that it is the megamorph arm of a fun park ride. I considered this for a moment then shot it down when I realized that there are no fairs in town this time of the year. I did all of the above pedaling my hi-tek, future-kissed Scott mountain bike.
I was moving closer and yet the thing at the back of the truck remained monoform. Eventually I discerned 45degree bends at either end of the huge, axial object. The shape raced through my neural network, I imagine to remember having felt, in search of an appropriate match
I had to bike some more to get closer because proximity is also memory.
The signal found its correlative or however memory may work and the monoform object became definite not just in terms of geometry but its meaning: it was an escalator. Presumably still is. One white, enormous, shrink-wrapped (of all things!) escalator. Not a disarticulated series of steps but ONE whole object. Which was like a club to my head, this fact that elevators get lugged from A to B just like any old piece of furniture rather than being assembled, in situ, by skilled elevator technicians. From the 8.5 million pieces they consist of.
I cycled by the escalator kitten-eyed and jaw-dislocated. What it all amounted to was reality communicating “Daaah, that is how Tom put it but it could also be like this: seamless, whole, comprehensible as one. Consider the escalator, Themba. Ride it out of the cellar of irony.” I did, have done so for a long time.
And now I can take another cognitive shot at athletic competition that ends on the last point played (e.g. Badminton, Tennis, etc.). It is one of the few activities in life in which closure and culmination fall together, that in fact cultivates the two in such a clear form.
In this consideration it has similar virtues as sex, except that instead of a partner one has an adversary. And the (mini-)climax is paired with a (mini-)anticlimax, the little death of the competitor.
Which sometimes in nature is taken to its extreme when the female after finishing sexual communion, finishes off the male.
Sport ist Mord, maybe, sometimes. But let me reiterate, in Badminton and Tennis it is, first of all, closure and culmination.
The death of David F. Wallace keeps bothering me at an existential level. I keep carrying around with me the feeling that I will now never understand the world as well as I might have. In an interview Wallace said that the best of literature made him feel unalone. And so now in a certain impossibly-hard-to-justify way, I feel alone.
Given that he made my engagement with the world and literature more meaningful, his departure is threatening.
I read and re-read his books for succor and solace. I even have develop a mild-case of P.I.J.A.D (post- Infinite Jest anxiety disorder), a vague disquiet that I will never again read anything as entertaining or insightful as that book. Justified or not.
I await the unfinished “Slow Kings” with bated breath. I ultimately miss a man I never met. Knew a little tiny bit but never shook prolific hands with.
 By the powers vested in me through creative writing, I hereby declare this word to exist.
 First among equals
 Ingenious this, because alluding to Piggy (from the Muppets Show), as well as Migi (the street-level moniker of Migros)
 An excessive love of the sun. Helio means “of or relating to the sun” and philia you already know.
 This wordplay works easier in German; the translation of T. McCarthy’s “Remainder” is titled “8.5 Millions”.
 Mostly culmination, sometimes even climax.