Category Archives: Culture

… Is Not Gold

TreasureChestOkay, we have all been bombarded with advertising slogans and when it comes around to holiday time, the main event is perfume and jewelry. “A diamond is forever” and “Quality is Remembered Long After the Price is Forgotten” are two ubiquitous refrains from the world of luxury-item sales pitches. Naturally, advertising can run the gamut from  bending the truth to down and dirty lying, but recent events have convinced me that the whole of the jewelry industry is a fictional construct that is rivaled only by the lore of the world’s religions. And who here doesn’t believe in the power imbued in jewelry?

I admit, I never did. Fancy things hanging from my fingers, neck and ears just kept me from doing things that were active and fun. I never found the pleasure involved in passively glittering, as if a hunting lure for birds or fish. It is possible that some women find a kind of empowerment in being be-jeweled, but for me it was quite the opposite; limiting and inhibiting – maybe even as a control mechanism. Here, dear, take this shiny object and be content, this is how much I care (in value). And, over time, it hasn’t changed much as both a token of affection or guilt.

Marilyn and friends

So imagine the bind I find myself in, having inherited objects of desire and/or apology crafted in gold and precious stones from people I valued, people now absent. Yes, there is the sentimental factor, but, mostly, there is reversion to the material stuff. Plus, there is no placeness in it. And there the stuff sits, languishing in much the same way that it did when it decorated those who appreciated it more than I ever can. After a seemingly appropriate waiting period, it is time for a parting of ways. But how, with something that has such a commodious value? I headed out for “jewelers row” to unload the stuff.

In large cities there are diamond dealers, even diamond districts. An entire industry is built on the jewelry trade. That should be the place to go. It is like its own city within the city, an enclave of people who live and breathe gold. They fill entire blocks of four or five story buildings. The funny thing is that they all work in competition with each other but there is a symbiosis, a collaborative atmosphere. Their shops are separate but they come and go freely to other shops, and I get the distinct feeling that they trade among themselves and maybe even do group buying from the same distributors. Perhaps they are all related by marriage, as in a small town. I imagine that all the shop facades are joined backstage, like a false Western storefront set, and where many of the honchos are gathered around a table gambling with diamonds. I mean, they are worth way more than money, right?

Gold jewelry on display in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Some of the shops have fancy showrooms with lots of mirrors and crystal chandeliers, similar to casinos I have visited. Others are less glitzy and even more tacky than casinos. One had an office atmosphere with a line of desks (and a surveillance camera over each) and a counter more like you might see at an optician’s. The workers break down into the bosses, those who sell, those who assess, those who test and weigh, those who make or fix. The seven dwarfs may mine the gems, but there is definitely a hierarchical structure to the business of jewelry. I even heard an employee describe the man to see as not just a jeweler, but a watchmaker – a man of skill as well as know-how.

Mine

What did I come away with? It is all lights and mirrors and the only science, let alone alchemy, is the weighing and pricing of gold – not market price, but rather jewelers’ price. I was told a few times that the only value in the booty I presented is as scrap. How does one explain that thirty years before, just one of the items I held was appraised at four times what I was being offered for the entire lot today? Surprisingly, two potential buyers quoted the same amount for the “load”; the next doubled their matching bids; a fourth offered the same as the first two but for just three items, with no interest in the “lot”; and the last shop offered three times as much as the first two, but in three weeks, not now (this one must be psychic about gold values).

So despite all the pretense of acid tests and digital scales, the monetary value of these “forever” baubles was fairly low. Of course, all that overhead has to be factored (and I didn’t even see the bodyguards), and also the price that the jewels could possibly fetch in the current retail market and then subtracting the age-related style deflation – well, being a seller in a buyer’s world – you can see where I am headed with this. Just like a casino, you can’t possibly beat the house. Since the game is made up and controlled by the dealers, you can’t compete. The only “forever” with jewels is the endless supply of suckers who keep the industry afloat. The family jewels is a hoax. Except for those whose families are in the business.

gelt

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Tears for Eydie

eydieThe one time I saw Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme perform in person was when I was assigned to review them for a local newspaper – “resigned” more accurately describes how I felt, although, as a freelancer, there was 25 bucks in it for me. And I’m sure my piece (my memory of it is completely gone by now) dripped with appropriate dollops of snark that I, in my under-30 years, felt it necessary to bring to any discussion of this beyond-satire, cufflinks-and-sequins duet that my parents, with that odd pride of a common Jewishness, would have kvelled to have seen. Frankly, except for casual but pointed mention now and again in conversation, referring obliquely to a kind of generic, Vegas-y, Rat Pack-y form of entertainment long since departed (the seismic shift in taste and demographics tilted the continent, rolling all such acts to Branson), I hadn’t given much thought to Steve and Eydie, not presuming that they were dead, exactly, but simply no longer “here.”

So, then, how to explain, to my surprise, my getting misty at the news of Eydie Gorme’s death, at 84? For one, I suppose I felt sorry for Steve Lawrence’s loss of his partner of more than 55 years. (Couples like that should go together, in some freak mid-song microphone electrocution accident, with no survivor left to look unbalanced and incomplete – “Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Steve and” – or uncomfortably stapled to a new and younger partner – “Please welcome, Steve and Gaga.”)

But that wasn’t enough to bring tears. Nor was my latter contention that Gorme was a decent and powerful singer who was diminished by the style and patter of the duo’s act, and choice of songs, placing her in the same kind of novelty niche in which one could find Keely Smith, another exceptional singer lost in assumed persona. That Gorme perhaps never got the full respect that she deserved was enough to make me sad, but not wet-eyed.

What I think it was that affected me was the sound of another door slamming to the past, and the loss of another beachhead that my parents held on the current shore. Gorme’s death made me feel like my parents were, in a smaller sense, dying again, too. As each touchstone of their lives goes by the wayside – be it a person, or place, or action – my parents recede. Saddening, too, is the realization that the past is getting bigger, like the universe expanding and, like the universe, with increased velocity. Don’t believe that the past is set and that the future is mutable; it’s just the reverse. The past is a place, and its placeness is altering by the minute; since so much of it is forgotten or confused, and so much of it we make up to suit our needs, the past is a place with rubbery borders, malleable signposts and a populace that looks different every time we look to them for something we need.

To watch video clips of Steve and Eydie young is to see my parents young again, and to be reminded that they are gone, along with Eydie now, and their time. And to realize that we were young like that, too, and that the slippery slope between now and then is greased daily. As I watch the touchstones of my parents’ generation disappear, I notice the unraveling at the edges of my own. I would like to think my review of Steve and Eydie was kinder than I think it was; it being in the past, I can alter it to make it so, even if only in my mind. I think I will.

eydie-gorme-steve-lawrence

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Being Tankful

tank pairHaving been a city dweller most of my life, for me fuel delivery was never an issue. It was just there on a need-to-have basis. For a spoiled westerner, fuel for heat, hot water and cooking appeared magically from a pipe in the street. When natural gas arrived on the scene for central heating in the early 20th century, I can recall my grandparents talking about how nervous people were to have it piped into their homes and it took some convincing for them to welcome it. A hundred years later, it is a fact of life, and people are asking for more of it to be harvested. More and more, invisible energy to keep us in the style to which we have become accustomed.rusty tank

Recently I have decided to chuck the annoyances and unpleasantries (I mean, how much are we supposed to put up with for the ideal of convenience?) of the city and go to a more natural, rural area. In this new environment, one detail that strikes home right away is that you are now responsible for storing your own fuel. What an instant lesson in energy usage; you can get it but not easily, and in getting it, you have to keep it on hand on your property in a tank – a hulking, sometimes rusty container about the size of a buffalo. Well sure, you pay for it either way and if you don’t pay, you don’t have heat. But your consciousness about fuel just increased to the tenth power by having to confront this tank on a daily basis. The alternatives for energy are similar whether urban or rural, except that if you go with gas in the country it comes in a bottle, not a pipe.

tank in field

At first, it seems like an inconvenience, having a behemoth storage tank in your yard. Shouldn’t it be out of sight/out of mind like it was before? As much as I don’t like looking at it, it acts like Jiminy Cricket on our shoulder, whispering in our ear about our dependence and our usage. It keeps things real, making a large physical statement about energy consumption. You can monitor the gauge, you can lower the thermostat, you can try an alternative, like burning wood. A number of the neighbors do all of these things to reduce consumption, but the fact remains that we need heat.

rusted out tank

However, maybe not as wastefully as when we don’t see it. I am thinking of a single apartment building in New York City that takes up an entire block. My brother lives in this particular building, and it has a power plant in the basement that cranks heat up to a point where the tenants open their windows in the winter because it is unbearably hot inside.

As careful as I have always been with energy use, I think that a fuel tank is going to be a constant reminder. Fill it up, empty it out. It is there, regardless. The process is exposed, and you are witness and victim and perpetrator. In this instance it is a placeness of consciousness, of awareness, of a presence of something that looks so out of place but is born of necessity for survival. Use it sparingly, keep it filled up like a family member but don’t overfeed, and let its appearance in the landscape keep us aware of our dependencies and our greed and the fact that this vessel is a solid object informing us that sources of energy are not limitless. And we are responsible for limits.

new tank

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Art Among Art

Although it can be unfair to compare a small museum’s sculpture garden to a full-blown sculpture park, arslocii holds them both up to the same standards using the same  magnifying glass. We have been to some of the big outdoor-sculpture venues, as well as some of the diminutive ones; and we are fond of any size open-air gallery where the art’s placement is considered and complemented.

This week we visited the Delaware Art Museum, in Wilmington. First (and Delaware is the first state), let’s say that the museum itself is situated in a rather stately neighborhood. Placeness already. The Copeland Sculpture Garden is a slip of land behind the broad-lawned and broad museum building. At first glance the landscape seemed too shallow and uniform to allow any sort of interaction of art and site to occur. Walking through the main entrance and out the glass-walled back, across a large terrace and into the “yard” made me think that this was a private home with garden art. Maybe it once was.

Crying Giant

The difference is that what is immediately in your face is Tom Otterness’ “Crying Giant.” It is huge, 13 feet tall, resembling a cartoon version of Rodin’s “Thinker,” but is maybe a more accurate depiction of modern man. The piece is a cluster of geometric solids that has tendril arms and legs, and Mickey Mouse hands and feet. It leans head-in-hands, dunce cap on head, with painful swollen feet and seated on a large cube. For a series of balloon shapes, it is filled with angst, both comic and sad. Is it sad about the state of art? I was moved by its powerful simplicity, but then I wondered … about its placeness. Well, on one level, if it is pondering art then it is filled with arslocii. But then it is reflected so well in an all-glass modern gallery wing of the museum – a sort of looking glass for the angst of modern man. Also, when catching a glimpse of it through the connector bridge between old museum and new, it is handily framed by the architecture, making it appear much diminished and, perhaps, even more sympathetic.

framed view

Down a wooded path is an interesting piece by William Freeland, “Irish Pastoral VII,” a minimalist hard edged factory made of rock and steel that felt like a tombstone. Behind it and hidden below grade is an old reservoir structure, a circular pit with stone walls that looks like a train-engine turnabout. Maybe that is because it is now a labyrinth, a spiral made of gravel and stone. That day it was set up for a wedding event and, although empty of guests, it was filled with placeness by what it was and is.

Another interesting work is Robert Stackhouse’s “Delaware Passage,” a rigorously fashioned structure of square metal tubes looking, all at once, like a railroad bridge, a brise soleil, a roof, a dock and a teepee. It plays with perspective, as it is short but endless. It is a striking piece but its placement doesn’t do it any favors.

Delaware Passage

But what is this? Three large craters encircled by hedges of holly. This Copeland Sculpture Garden is not a collection in which one would expect to find earthworks, but here they are. Only … what they are, in actuality, are functional drainage pits/fields. There are cascading rocks, having been intentionally (and well) placed that lead to large cast cement cubes guarded by iron grates at the bottom of the craters. They are modern and primitive, compelling and mysterious in that they are hidden by the shrubbery. But they are beautifully rendered works that are so integrated into the environment – because, unlike most of the pieces here, they are interacting with the environment. They are of the environment and, though not “art” in its narrow definition, should be considered part of the collection.

drain field

drain house

Placeness is a funny thing. Sometimes you can gather together things that artists make and which are intentional works of art – and sometimes they can be very good representatives of the form – and they do nothing for you or to you or with you; they do not gain from the setting nor add to it, they do not relate to it in any way nor to the other pieces scattered about, all seemingly with the same purpose – display; all this despite the best efforts of art professionals to show off the work and make something of the place. And then, sometimes, something that is neither created to be a work of art nor is considered to be such – in fact, is hardly considered at all, except as a workaday intruder in the garden – can have such power or attraction or even a compellingly formal nature that it not only challenges your conception of the art and its definition, but makes the o better and the place perfectly contains it, as if it were prepared thoughtfully to do so. A rocky sluice designed to channel water runoff away from the art and into a drain can, somehow, wonderfully, become the centerpiece of the sculpture array – a questioning of the need for intention as a component of art. Arslocii can materialize from something functional as well as something artful, being the product of one or both at the same time. It just happens, and just is. Arslocii.

reflected view

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Fanning the Flames

fan on standAir conditioning has never held a place in my life. The only mechanical cooling devices that I have used are electric fans. My father was a mathematician and electrical engineer, and he therefore understood the physics and practicality of products with cords. He would place fans in strategic locations around the house: one was attached across the opening of the attic’s hatch in the ceiling – to draw the hot air up and out through the roof vents; another would be placed in a doorway on the floor to push the warm air up above our heads; others would be set in windows, either blowing in or out, depending on which side of the house. There was an intelligent logic about air masses and air flow that he demonstrated by these placed fans. He never aimed a fan to blow directly on him, though; that might have been more of a superstition than an educated decision.

Aside from the rather extensive collection of fan brands and types – oscillating, box, table, window and hassock, with their big electric motor company logos – I became enamored of their look and style as much as their function. By osmosis, I learned about moving air in a meaningful way. As a pre-teen, whenever I would be blue or upset I would take walks; on one such walk I found a fan in a weedy empty lot. I brought it home and Dad helped me to rewire it. It was a prize. When, as a young adult, an older relative was downsizing and I spied a huge window fan in the “out” pile, I grabbed it like it was the most valued object in the house. Well, to me it was. Many more old electric fans have come to me at yard sales, flea markets and from other family members. At last count, I have four large window fans, five floor fans, five table fans and two fans on stands. They are much loved and oiled on a regular basis. You could say I am a fan fan.

floor

What is it about them? Well, of course, their connection to my father. But they are often round and I like round things; and even if their casing is square they have a round soul or face. The electric whirr of the motors is soothing, and maybe one day someone will discover that it taps into your alpha brain waves in the same way that biofeedback did back in the day. They do actually cool you in the heat, too. I close things up during the hottest part of the day, then I either draw basement air up into the first floor with a window fan; or I pull cooler night air in through the open windows, and by morning you might need a blanket. In my house there is an attic fan, but, as opposed to my father’s scheme, it doesn’t pull hot air from the house; rather, it is solely for evacuating the trapped hot air from the attic. It does have a similar effect of cooling the house, just not as directly.

Anything that has electricity and moves has a life to it. Fans have the added bonus of providing a service, doing something helpful and immediate to cooling our world – without collecting and adding more heat in the process like air conditioning. Buildings shut themselves off, cars are closed up tight with chilled air – chilled air in an unbreathing room belching out hot air for the rest of us. Why aren’t fans good enough anymore? We have made a move on wind power and capturing the energy that it produces. Fans have been using the energy to cool us by evaporation for as long as electricity has been available.

table

It is sad that the fan – so simple, so effective, so versatile – is in decline in our Air-Conditioner Nation. Take a walk, as I used to, and you’ll see, especially on trash day, fans kicked to the curb, unwanted, dismissed from duty. And, often, they are still good. Within the past few months I have found two in someone’s discard pile, took them home, plugged them in – and they worked like charms. In fact, they are charming, in all senses of the word. In your window, on a table, on the floor, they hum away, pushing air around in the kindest of ways, letting you look through their grill-work to see the blur of their busy blades and views of what’s behind and beyond. An air conditioner merely sits there, a big, personality-less block, like the Borg ship, separating you from the world at large. A fan lends an air of placeness to even the grimmest of rooms; an air conditioner removes placeness, the way it removes heated air, from even the nicest of surroundings. A fan is like a pet; an air conditioner is like a security guard.

You don’t have to be the coolest thing to be the coolest thing.

window 1

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I’m With the Band

two bandsSuddenly I find myself in a sea of rubber bands. Squirmy mounds of bands of varying thickness and lengths sit in a bowl like clusters of rainbow-colored seaweed. They are everywhere. Wasn’t there a time when they nearly disappeared? I am remembering a while ago, maybe the later half of the 20th century, when they weren’t being used as much in offices, schools and homes as they once were.

My fascination with rubber bands started early. I always liked the friendly nature of their form and substance. First, they are round in a predominately square world. But they are shape-shifters, too. Their diameters vary, as do their widths and thicknesses and colors; I have seen some as tiny as a half-inch in total or nearly as long as my forearm. They seem to be one of the longer-lasting, unsung, amazing albeit small, ubiquitous products of the 20th century, after having been patented in the 19th. But the patent is a johnny-come-lately; as states a Wikipedia entry, “Mesoamerican peoples had already produced vulcanized rubber items, including rubber bands, by 1600 BCE.” They did, after all, have the rubber trees within reach.

Lately, I find them everywhere. Our mailman uses them (the large industrial tan or natural-color ones) to bind together individual households’ mail. As he makes his deliveries, he drops the rubber bands on the ground. Not environmentally sound thinking, but you could probably follow his trail of rubber bands to learn his mail route.

I also have noticed that much of the produce I buy is bunched in rubber bands: wide purple or yellow ones, thinner blue ones wrapped multiple times. Some leafy greens still employ large-scale twist-ties – like regular ties on steroids – but many more bunches of vegetable matter, whether shipped in or locally grown, are sporting festive rubber bands. I have such a large collection of them now, I feel that someone ought to figure out another purpose for them. I do reuse some and I have learned a few things indirectly about their properties and uses, slingshots aside.

1. They don’t freeze well. In a freezer, the rubber fails, dries out, becomes inelastic.

2. They can be cheap, attractive bracelets but they should be loose on your arm.

3. Things that aren’t too thick and you can roll up, like blueprints and maps, are perfectly suited to rubber bands to hold them steady. Eventually, they will dry out and loosen.

4. If you are a jerk and want to annoy someone, you can shoot rubber bands in his/her direction – but avoid the eyes.

5. They are a good way to hold wound-up electrical cords together, when a twist-tie just won’t handle it (unless you happen to have saved one of the huge ones from produce).

6. They are not good to pick up in a vacuum cleaner, and happily, it is difficult to do so. Somehow, their lack of substance and friction-y surface help to discourage that.

7. They are miracle healers. If they break – unlike so many other binding technologies – all you have to do is tie the ends together and there you go again … a little smaller, perhaps, and a tad more fragile, but usable. A second life.

8. There are so many ways to store rubber bands: in a box or envelope or any containing vessel, in baskets (as we do), on long rods either sticking up from a desk or out from vertical surface. One can even keep rubber bands rolled up in a ball. Indeed, there are those for whom this is not just a practical thing but a hobby or work of art.

ball

9. In an irony not lost on the consortium of rubber-band producers (there must be some such organization somewhere), rubber bands have supplanted the fuzzy, slightly elastic, so-called “stocking tops” as the binder of choice for home-delivered newspapers … just as newspapers are taking a nosedive into oblivion. Millions of such band/paper pairings occur, still, to this day, every year..

10. A rubber band can be a terrifically annoying, almost non-musical musical instrument. Stretch, pluck – twang/plunk. Over and over.

11. Without a rubber band, there would be no paddle-ball. From one’s personal perspective, this is either a benefit or an indictment.

12. Unlike paper clips, staples, paper clasps and other such metallic binding products, a box of rubber bands if accidentally dumped on the floor will not make a sound that will draw the attention of the person whose desk you have raided to “borrow” such items. Rubber bands are willfully complicit in all crimes.

13. They may be soft, bendable, twistable, squeezable, roll-up-able – and, yet, they can really sting when you’ve had one snap against your skin. And as easily breakable as they are, put them in the array of braces on your teeth, and they not only have the strength to reduce an overbite but can also cause a great amount of soreness and pain and headache, not to mention embarrassment. All from those tiniest of rubbery squiggles.

14. Keep them away from animals; they have appeal to all creatures and you don’t want  any to end up in a digestive tract.

Rubber bands are, at this point, part of our genetic make-up. They are without affect or personality but there is a placeness to their presence in our everyday world, and by their very nature, functionally, they create placeness by limiting and encircling and defining, determinedly and yet forgivingly. If they were not around, it would be a harsh and rigid place with only paper clips, staples, clasps and the unyielding like.

pile

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A Timely Entrance

daily_scheduleWe all are creatures of schedules, whether by adhering to them or ignoring them, purposefully or by perverse nature or by mindlessness. Some of us couldn’t function without them; others resent them; for many of us, it is both. Still others pretend that they live without any schedule at all.

The typical time frame in the so-called work world is 9 to 5, give or take an hour on either end, but in this 24/7, internationally plugged-in life cycle we find ourselves in, work can commence at any hour, and in so doing the “ordinary” world seems to lurch – they don’t call it a “shift” for nothing. And pity those whose shifts vary, regularly or otherwise, such as police officers and firefighters, who might have long days followed by short days followed by days off, and a change in hours, as well. This spreads out decent schedules and terrible ones in an equitable sharing, but it has to wreak havoc on their sleep patterns, not to mention their personal lives.

We here at arslocii are people who, over the years, have had less scheduling than most. Some might call it “underemployment.” But, when you work for yourself you have to create your own schedule, and that can be difficult for many, impossible for others. Freedom requires discipline.

timeclock

Change being the only unchanging certainty, we, though free spirits that we are, have found ourselves for more than a decade as someone else’s employee, on someone else’s clock. Not that this was a new concept – we’ve had lots of jobs – but, rather, a bullet we had dodged for a while. And, maybe because of that avoidance, in some sort of karmic payback we ended up having to design our lives around a 4 p.m to midnight  work-time slot. What that meant was that we had part or most of the daylight hours to attend to stuff of our own and had to “time-shift” what we would normally do in the late afternoon until after the witching hour because the real hours belonged to an employer. Once you get used to the rhythm, it isn’t so bad. But, because of the schedule, our dinner time was around 3 in the afternoon. Again, you can get used to it. So we did. We got pretty good at it, in fact. It got to feel like normal. We wondered how others could survive on those horrible 9-to-5 work-release sentences. Other than realizing that the world’s insistence on stupid, standardized work hours meant that we could no longer attend evening socializing of any sort, we felt that we had the best of all possible worlds – except the one where you don’t work for anyone else … or work at all.

Then suddenly, unrequested, this year they changed the schedule on us, to noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday through Thursday. Now, most everyone would think that this would be an improvement over the previous work-day period. It even moves us closer to “normal” hours. But not quite, not enough. In fact, in some ways, in many ways, it is an even worse schedule. After seven-plus years of afternoon dinners, we now are forced to dine at 9 pm. Explain that to your trained stomach. And, by the time you pack up your stuff and get out the door, you still can’t make that 8 o’ clock curtain. Also, where did the hours go for taking care of home-based stuff? You don’t have a day, you don’t have a night. What’s left is maybe two hours in the morning and possibly (if you can stay awake after a meal) two at night. Think about how quickly two hours can disappear without notice and – wham! – suddenly your whole life becomes somebody’s lousy dime. Of course we need that dime. We are grateful for the dime. Others envy us our dime. Some might think us spoiled and entitlement-obnoxious for complaining about that dime. But, still …

In the midst of this upheaval, though, we have found something that we didn’t expect: a renewed sense of placeness. When you go to work to the same place at the same time with the same people every day, you cease to notice any of it, and you come to believe that that is all there is to the place of work and the tasks you and others do. Then, you find yourself coming in at a different time, and the workplace seems something new, even alien. Whereas before, on a later shift, we would come in just as the day-crowd was leaving, and all we knew of them was the transitional passing off of information, chitchat and uncompleted work. They were them; we were us. Eloi and Morlocks. As different, in a real sense, as day and night. But now we are among the day people, and the room that is, at night, quite empty is, when the sun shines, a lively place full of workers who, until now, were just shadows who left their stuff for my group to tidy up and send on its way.

What you see, what you sense, is that a workplace, one with numerous shifts that go on around the clock, is like a theater that never closes, and that you used to think that the production – comedy? tragedy? – began and ended with your entrances and exits and lines, but now you realize that the show was going on before you arrived and continues after you leave, that work life is like this endless ribbon that you are merely a snippet of cut off at random lengths, and that the place hums to more tunes than you ever imagined. It’s a new script, but somehow you know your lines and the choreography; it’s a familiar set, yet something is different enough to make you think that you missed the memo and a few dress rehearsals, and it makes you aware, perhaps for the first time, or for the first time in a long time, of the artificiality of it all – that offices and factory floors are like Potemkin villages to which you grant the gift of reality, whatever that is, so that you can do what you have to do and believe in it.

So, from a simple rejiggering of when you show up for work, what you might come away with is the knowledge that, in all other things in your life you believe yourself to be the star of your own movie, but here you are but a member – perhaps even just in the chorus – of a large and revolving cast, and that the “set” has a lot more storyline outside your own than you ever thought. And somehow, somewhere in there, there is art.

uattend.time_clock

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