Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Need a Minute.

I saw this the other day, and I got more jazzed than I've been about anything in a while. In this case, it was more the condition of the clothing and coffins that interested me than the condition of the bodies, but: Jesus, why does this do it for me?

I've been fascinated by dead bodies since I was little. As a child, I was obsessed with the skeletons and plaster casts at Pompeii and Herculaneum. I kept a copy of National Geographic with an article about it. I slowly destroyed the binding by flipping through and considering all the pictures, especially the Ring Lady.

I am strangely invested in the past: I am (maybe) more interested in it than I am in the future. Perhaps this is my weakness. I'll spend some Saturday mornings clicking through this site, enlarging images so that I can see lettering on windows and appliances, facial expressions, stitching on clothes. For me, the past is irresistible when there's a record of it--a photograph, a sound recording, a skeleton or (better) a weirdly preserved body--even if that record's not entirely reliable. I did seriously try for a career making half of the money I make now just so that I could flip through dead people's diaries and letters all day. (For the record, I'm now glad that didn't work out.)

As for my own past, I remember too much of it and consider it about as much as I consider what I'm doing in real time. (This is probably not true in reality--that would be incredibly sad--but it least it feels this way sometimes.)

Speaking of which, real time has been fucking me tough lately. I want to find a secret pause button so that I can enlarge and peer at some stitching or lettering. I've noticed the general acceleration more keenly since returning to Austin, because this place feels like a city-sized personal time capsule from my twenties. What intervened (New York City) was a blur: two and a half years of a certain routine (work, subway, gym) after years of little routine (graduate school, social life, part-time work). My memory from April 2007 to December 2009 bleeds and clusters. It feels like it didn't actually happen. Maybe this is excellent.

No comments:

Post a Comment