Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. The cone of the speaker reverberates and distorts, mirroring the form that the low-toned sound would take if it were physical. But there’s no note to be seen, just the echo in my ears as it traverses time and space to reach me, and the tremor as it slides down by spine and bounces back from the roots of the earth.
The rhythm is regular, some kind of computerised time-keeping lurking in the background instilling a sense of order into the monotony of existence. My heart beats similarly, but keeping to its own, regulated necessity. Thump. Thump. Thump.
In both instances, it’s not the beats that matters as much as the time in between them.
I have limbs, yet they’re not all scrunched up. In the corner of the room, my camera tripod lurks silently, folded up for maximum portability, minimum use.
The thrall and the curse of modern life seems to be to be entertained. Never-ending scrollbars ensure we are limitlessly unbored and yet always searching, caught in a parade of ideas and stories, thumpthumpthumpthumpthump. We think life was simpler in the old days. 4 TV channels. 3 channels. 2. 1. Ignition. Blast-off. National Anthem. Little white dot. Yet even that was just relative. Perhaps that was a golden age.
The curse of observation is that everything becomes interesting. A leaf spiralling on a pond. A heron standing motionless. The eruption of rose hips. A cloud’s reflection. Breath mingling with Saharan breezes. An itchy foot. Ttttthhhhhuuuummmmppppp. Awareness is a drug, harder to switch off than the old vacuum-powered visual tubes. Harder to send to sleep than something with a button.
Ideas, like faeries and rats and Pokemon, are everywhere. We are idea machines - if someone hasn’t pushed an idea into our thoughts, we go out of our way to invent one. We cling to them like mothers and wait for them to show us the way.
And like mothers, like technology, like the ground, we need to consider our relationship with them. Ideas can guide us, or they can act as waypoints to ground us. More extreme, they are merely tourist landmarks, waiting to be discovered, photographed and documented, turned into symbols, but ultimately something we pass by. Knitted together by the journey time between them, the things we find interesting in the world can be seen as wonders of the world at worst, and at best merely curiosities of the time we live. Some will be turned into national relics. Otherwise will crumble, succumb to creeping plants and the natural ebb of entropy. These ones are the best ones.
Too many ideas. Too much emphasis. Thumpthumpthumpthumpthump. No time to sit back and enjoy the ride. Not even time to take photos to burn in the ritualistic fire later.
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