24 January 2013 § 1 Comment
Sous le ciel de Tampa Bay, there’s an accordion player playing by the pier. He strikes a discordant note.
Marcel Proust paints the experience of disorientation as waking up in absolute darkness and imagining the furniture to be in a variety of arrangements – is the dresser to your left under the red-curtained windows like that room where you slept in childhood, or is your wife’s vanity table over there at the foot of the bed like it was before you were divorced. Go to sleep some night with your head at the foot of the bed and hang up black-out curtains so that you awake in such a state. In search of lost time indeed.
Sometimes in the light of day, even sitting in a cafe near Tampa Bay, the same disorientation may arise. It’s less identifiable as disorientation since the ground beneath is still visible, but it’s the same thing. That you’ve been here before and a million places like it with a million people. That you thought these ambitions and worries all before. And that suddenly the wholeness of it overwhelms the particular of where you sit.
Am I at a cafe or all cafes?
Place has a hold on us like few things do, and it holds us more quietly than anything. I am where I tread and have trod, some culmination of footfall under forgotten skies. In a familiar place, it’s easy to forget that each step is new unless there’s an accordion player to remind you.