This is the best surviving picture of last night’s walk through the fog. Lately, there have been quite a lot of foggy days, and I love taking routes that differ from my everyday commute. If I have the time, I try and get deliberately lost. And I explore this new, other city in which everything is transformed. Far away objects have often vanished completely, while distances between you and the things that remain are impossible to judge. Noises are softened, yet you encounter sudden weird intense bursts of smell: pine resin, petrol, rotting leaves. It’s like walking through a dream, or a surrealist painting. You start to expect some strange beast behind every corner. Maybe my personal favourite city monster, the petricore (that you can recognize by its scent like wet asphalt). But the atmosphere, so radically different from the waking day-city that envelops you on your way to work, is impossible to capture in a photograph.
My addiction to list-making is flaring up again. (Which might or might not mean I’ll soon be writing more short stories.) Lately, I’ve come to realize that good band names often make good names for spaceships as well (e.g. Nada Surf, the Mars Volta). Since they tend to be multilingual compounds, and also (more often than not) quite interesting references, I blame M. John Harrison’s Empty Space trilogy. Besides, his “invasive code” is so well written that last night I dreamt that a white paste the consistency of baby food was coming out of my mouth, and a childless acquaintance suddenly had a daughter… It was pretty uncanny. That said, one of my favourite passages from Empty Space is “Renoko self-identified as human”. (More rights for entities traditionally identified as non-human! Down with anthropocentrism!)
I don’t drive. However, I use driver’s hand signals to communicate with them. Whenever a car stops to let me cross, I raise the hand to them that isn’t holding the bag of books or TARDIS travel mug to say thankyou. I don’t ever see other pedestrians do this. I think I got this from my dad, watching him drive, and I thought this was a nice way of showing respect and appreciation.
I’ve been so busy I even missed this year’s Halloween post. Well, ghosts and monsters are around all year, so maybe we should break with another tradition.
I’ve been gone long enough for wordpress to have logged me out. I imagine some sort of doorkeeper, a hellhound or a dragon, turning its massive head away as if it won’t recognize me, just because I stayed away too long. (At least I remember the password.)
In case you’re wondering where I am – something huge and indescribable has swallowed me up, and no, it’s not Twitter. (But you can get fleeting glimpses of me there, as I’m flitting about, carrying huge stacks of paperbacks, mumbling to myself). But I’m well, and enjoying myself immensely. It’s just… I may be some time.
I will be back, soon enough. I guess I’ll even drop by from time to time to feed you pictures and other snippets. See you soon, I hope.