The sun isn’t effective because I use it. Rather, it can only be used because it is capable of an effect, of inflicting some sort of blow upon reality. The sun isn’t “used”; it is. –
Towards Speculative Realism: Essays & (Graham Harman)
[Good or bad, haven’t started to write about what is bothering: us and objects, a philosophy of objects tout court, why speculative realism seems to be running on empty, as one does on the dread-mill… a shared horror]
Seriously, what the bloodclot? At the rate at which I am losing and braking stuff [by no ill-will], I might well wake-up one of these morning and, attempting to scratch my head but not being able to do so, wonder where I left my body at? Though that leads you, dear reader, in the wrong direction. It has not been a matter of excessive, absurd intoxication that has occasioned my involuntary separation from dear objects, it’s been a hazy absent-mindedness that cannot seem to be overcome: the new New Balance running shoes [those natural-running types, which are just light and lovely and air tied together by bits of string, basically], the fab mountain-bike [which was bought at a most ridiculous bargain price, my guess is, at least 1:10, without any kidding or winking or any ironic-type gesture], which btw was anyway already my second iteration of a stunning „wire-donkey“ at a ludicrous price and last but the contrary of least, I almost daren’t say, my beloved Kindle [which in its German semantics quite appositely would mean „childlet“].
As for other possessions/objects/ commodities that I’ve lost in the course of the last 24 months, I’ve even forgotten about those as a self-protective psychological reflex, to alleviate my not altogether unreasonable angst, that sooner or later I will wake up stark-naked in a city I don’t know, whose [or whichs?] language I don’t understand and scratching my yet-extant cephalus as to where everybody and everything I ever knew went: can one loose on such a scale? Could I become the biggest, imaginary looser of all times? Given an opportunity, I probably could. But let us take it one forsaken object at a time.
The New Balance Shoes, a most dire loss for somebody, who, spuriously mayhap, considers her/himself a conscientiously consuming runner. It was the Minimus 10, which now can be bought for a nigh-risible 70 singles. As much as I mind-rake over consumerism, affluenza and all our civilizational dysfunctionalities, it wouldn’t seem that I, me, of all people could fall into the trap [rattle-trap?] of paraphilia, of love for an inanimate object yet with these sneakers I just about did. As you can read in some of the earlier posts, they actually let you feel the ground, the terra mater beneath your feet, so that, in running, there is a certain softened, distorted [pretend-play] of reconnecting with the mother-rock or even, temporally, historically, mythico-poetically backwards, with those dark complected, sustainability-savvy ancestors racing across the Savannah giving chase to the Assegai-punctured Antelope. So, no!, yes, sorry, those Minimus [no. Immortal-Soccer-Striker] I did loose. This is the level of loss which comes attached with an autonomic question: How do you loose [XYZ]? Where anything ≥ one’s own heart counts, in, ugh, common cognition, as good as un-loosable. One has to narrate the special circumstances that lead to the loss of such an object in order that it may not be just understood, rationally, but forgiven within the crypto-ethical matrix of commodity-fetishism or, what I would prefer to call, hypo-modern paraphilia [lest we forget we’ve never been modern]. Though an iPhone is probably slightly smaller than your heart, in case of loss it falls under the same standards of ethico-technifetishist confession.
And my slightly peeved rejoinder would be: I haven’t an iota of a scintilla of an idea. Worse, the M10 had been MIA for about two weeks or so before I even made a fully conscious acknowledgment of their absence. It’s incredible how long a semi-decent rationalization will hold up: they’re under the bed, they are under that cupboard over there, I left them at Sipho’s the other day [though I only ever wore them to the gym], any bloody pretext not to have to realize, that, damnit, I lost my best, most sublime pair of kickz. By any type of Holmesian whodunnit-rationality they had to be at either of the two gyms I frequent [National or Allmend]; yet, having been led backstage by one of the lumpy cleaning-ladies [the other one being on the contrary a phenotypicaly fine specimen], the bags there being uncelebratorily rummaged through, we couldn’t find them. The lady pointed out that the technician, after a fortnight or three weeks, relocated all lost-and-found[-and-lost-again, as it were] apparell to an undisclosed location. The technician. I tried to imagine this grey figure, never seen, keeping the gym clicking and humming in the background, disposing of shirt and shoes.
At any rate, I hadn’t the energy to follow this lead up, my paraphilia didn’t prove all that consuming after all. Not any Lamborgini-level cathexis to speak of. Nor did I, which was a good sign, fly into any type of tantrum [internal vs external]; I was calmly composed, accepting of my idiotic, self-inflicted loss and perhaps, god forgive me, already mentally eyeing the enjoyable prospect of clicking my way through NB’s site to find my next temporary, pseudo-romantic athletic symbiont. The one/two who take all the pavement beating, who keep the ground from flying up at my head. I’ll never know, short of many-a-reclined hour on a supernaturally comfortable synthetic-leather couch with a soothing voice in back, if there has been and is, mayhap, always an unconscious consummerist motive to my commodity-losses. But so now anyway, these shoes which were significantly a part of me even though we never formed any organic-type bond, have been recaptured by the wide, wide world whence we hail and return, hail and return.
This particular entry is a smidgen too much about me, tbmg, instead of stuff more generally related to the conditio humana but cut me some slack [Apple Dictionary: the part of a rope or line that is not held taut; the loose or unused part: I picked up the rod and wound in the slack.] I haven’t done this in a while.
The second object of affection is/was the bike: a 21-gear, serious-duty mountain-bike, which was bought in exchange for 300bucks but must have been originally tagged somewhere up in the 3k environs. If you live in a small town like LU [60k people w/o the separatist ‘burbs] it is the everyday beast of burden par excellence, a trusty companion that compresses the micro-urban spatial bubble as compared to using public traffic. At least out to about 6 or 7 clicks, not to mention the labyrinthic, traffic-less city core. Distances to this or that bar/restaurant/shop start popping up in one’s head in terms of M.S.P [minutes spent pedalling] and one quickly forgets about the huge temporal investments that unaided bipedalism requires, even in a town this… petite [to claim the term „city“ is a bit…folie de grandeur, a not altogether untypically Swiss character trait]. A body-tool consensus and thought-pattern is rapidly established, you forget it could be otherwise. Yet, at the same time, at least in my case, the tinytude of the town leads to some rather risque transportation behavior; at least for somebody who suffers from heavily selective wannabe-amnesia. Not ‘forgetting’ the helmet [which is headless enough], not running the red-lights [which I’ve managed to work out of my system], not using pedestrians as moving, human slalom-poles [it’s not just summer yet]. No, what eventually occurred to me is that I will not suffer inclement weather on my bike. Thus whenever the temperature took a dive [e.g. at dusk] or the grey skies next to Pilatus began to precipitate or some other meteorological source of discomfort arose, I would chain my bike to the next sheltered pole of impenetrable thickness/material and switch to the trusty, blue-white VBL. Like that, on a dime, without feck or thought, I’m afraid. I did however always make a very concerted effort to memorize the exact location of the bicycle. This worked well for a couple of weeks until it didn’t. So now I’m bus- and feetbound and once again can appreciate the human scale of the urban cosmos much more than I should like to do. It is all of ten minutes for a cup of mocca at Soprano’s, one way [we, Homo Helveticus, call this „bitching at a high level“]. I still now and then think of distances in terms of M.S.P until, with a minutely sorrowful pang, I realize it will be M.S.M [minutes spent moseying]. On the sunshiny side of this loss, LU has thus been transformed into a huge surprise-box within which I have to constantly keep my eyes peeled for sooner or later or sooner my beloved bike will pop into view, resentful in its rustiness, locked to an indestructible stanchion. I look forward to this day fondly.
Finally, surely most difficult to swallow in this trifecta of material loss, the involuntary destruction of my Kindle. For a while now, why?, I’ve been carrying around outside the black, fake-leater case. Suddenly, it had seemed to me both clunky and anti-stylish and I had no trouble putting its protective properties out of mind. Plus then also I acquired a NF backpack whose support is so thick-foamed that it seemed to offer all the impact-safeguarding my electronic symbionts would ever need. Again, the willfull misunderestimations one [I] will engage in, given half a shot. That particular day of the Kindle’s demise I even toyed with the thought of putting it back in the protective embrace of the original casing and yet, on pure, splendid caprice, decided against it, sticking it instead into the stylishly thin laptop-compartment on the inside of the NF’s central volume, right up against the back-bracing pads of deceptive absorption capacity.
The thing holds/held 69 books, at least three of which I am deeply embroiled in at present. I sometimes looked at the device and tried to imagine it being the very top, the front page of a huge pile of sixty-nine books, any of which I could CONTINUE reading at will. [This is important: skipping to a page in a real book is easier than doing so in a Kindle; Kindle to me is more purely about reading, one page after another, attentively so, than a book is, which you can easily skim and jump around in.] I sometimes imagined the Kindle as a slowly growing book but also, simultaneously, as my outsourced memory, as it held/holds within its clipping files, all those text passages which my former self considers interesting, insightful, entertaining, somewichhow worthy of note, etc. Now this is a device I truly, if not love, then appreciate, know to value, feel the incipient bonds of a personal connection with. My Kindle. On my Amazon account it shows up as „T’s Kindle“ but I’d rather think of it as „The Kindle who is with T“. Except, of course, that it is no longer, not in a meaningful way: it lies here beside me on the table, but it can’t signify to me any more, poor Kindle, poor me [b.o.h.l.]. I think I overestimated its robustness by an order of magnitude: a technological object is only as strong as its most fragile, integral component. In an e-book there are not too many elements that are more significant than the screen and the screen, it seems to me now, is about as rugged as butterfly wings. Am I making excuses? I never want to find out. In that bus, in that moment of zero-thought, a no-zen zen, as I leaned back against the thorax-high handrail [why so high?], I think in retrospective, I heard a small pop or crack. I imagine on some level I must have realized what had just happened. I certainly did at the Bourbaki when the screen’s upper half lit up in a rectilinearly lined mess, a vertically, greyly, blotted-out fragment of that elderly reading lady, which is otherwise some sort of screensaver for the e-paper.
Then, Ricard still sloshing around somewhere in back of my cranium, I didn’t loose my composure but a seriously saddened sigh did escape me. A gutted moan for my inanimate, symbiont comrades lost out there in the wide, wide world.
A sigh for all the things I lost in the forgetting. And am yet to loose!