Empty Days

Friday, May 13, 2005



Post-clinical.

So I am back from the first half of that clinical study. The stay was thoroughly uneventful except for the pretty predictable disaster of having my bike stolen right from under the 6th floor windows of the goddam clinic. It happened on the second night so I didn't witness the deed but watching the empty spot for hours thereafter was unpleasant.

I decided to take this "lightly" because I actually expected this would happen - there were various tell-tale signs. First of all the day started badly: I was called up on courier duty and agreed to go along despite a strong sense that I shouldn't. It turned out the day was not nearly busy enough for my presence to be really necessary, so I felt my time was being wasted and I got extremely upset and angry. I know from experience that when I get in those nasty bitchy moods, something bad always happens to me in the material world - it's not that I am less careful or am taking more risks, it's just that there's "a cloud of evil" around me and it really fucks up my environment. Sounds wacky - perhaps. But once again it's observation and if no shit had ever befallen me in such states I'd say as much.

Because this whole courier thing is related to biking, it's obviously related to bikes too - to me these are not only practical but somehow sacred objects because a lot of my life depends on them - a bit like horses used to be viewed by hussards, knights and cavalry men. And because of this privileged relationship to bikes, whatever happens to my bikes has a special symbolic significance for me.
For example in an old Russian saga a prince meets his doom when he happens upon the bones of his beloved horse long dead and gone; stepping in sorrow on the skull of the dead horse he sees a poisonous snake come out of its empty eye - it bits him, he falls dead, but not without having understood the deadly connection between his horse and his fate. This is a perfect example of my relationship with bikes and what happens to me through these.

There were other tell-tale signs but they were smaller and thus harder to make clear in here. Like the fact that I had to buy another cheap bike-lock because I left the one I've been using at my parents' place (I made some quick repairs on a garbage bike still lingering in the locker downstairs, as either my father or brother would have to go feed my cat in my absence). Changing locks is always hazardous because no locks are ever really safe in any case, so there is some element of good/bad luck present - quite beside caution and good sense.

To top it all I didn't even plan to take the bike to the clinic, I feared to leave it in an unknown place for so long - because of bad experiences in the past. But things conspired against me. Just when I was preparing to set out for the clinic and looking for bus tickets, I got a call from ukranian ambassy who were supposed to be doing my visa - with the news that I had to renew my passport or no visa would be delivered. So I got all entangled in this new shit, had to make emergency phone calls, and finally left much later than planned and in a hurry, without those goddam bus tickets - and I took the bike instead.

And to hell with it.

I'll be using the garbage bike instead though it still needs more work. All my newer bikes got stolen.

The problem is not that I don't have enough locks for all my bikes - it's that I really can't face a world full of thieves - I lack goddam realism - I still can't get it through my head that there is so much shit walking on two legs out there - and that I need to protect myself from this ambulant crap.

Or maybe I am just too cheap to buy three u-locks in a row.

What this means however is that I can't do courier work anymore - which fulfills the wish I expressed in my nasty anger on Tuesday.

*

I read a lot of Quentin Crisp at the clinic. Almost too much in fact. I found the book a bit too high-pitched for its subject and often incomprehensible in its desire to sound allusive in a witty kind of way. Hopefully the Opium Eater will be better. But Crisp is a pretty memorable character in any case, even though he has hardly any idea how to write what he means :-/

*

Another thing I have to mention: the feeling that associates with the place where something has been lost for me - the moment I saw the bike was gone (6am) has a flavor now, I only need to think of or encounter this flavor again to remember the event. It's the force of impressions: they leave an imprint.





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