Well that was that. I put some it down to bitter experience and most of it down that eternal problem of occasionally slipping into and out of parallel universes. Percentages don’t apply here. I don’t mean this to be any form of explanation or justification either, it’s just the way it is. When you are driving a car the laws of physics can be put to some extreme tests. Does any driver really know what is actually happening under the bonnet, in the fuel system, in the movement of the wheels and suspension, in the heat and gas changes, in the liquids and the lubricants and increasingly as cars develop in the electronics. These are dark, unknown and mysterious places under extreme forces. All we hear is a machines rumble, the heat of the reactions and the energy as the systems come together. Meanwhile we are moving quickly in an other wise apparently stationary world, although it is of course moving also. At the microscopic level the effect and the ramifications of all this chaotic release of energy is unfathomable. At this point of realisation (where understanding is either very low or minimal) anything is possible. That’s when the physics of motoring, the ambiguity of travel, the contradictions of being and the illusion of movement all come together. Getting in a car, starting it and then travelling generates some serious situations.
When I did eventually get out of the car and arrived at some destination or other I decided that it was time to return to my studies. The past six or seven months had made little sense, there had been travel, despair, drunkenness and that feeling of moving quickly in a solid object whilst other objects remained still hardly moving at all. Some objects also moved, as if in sympathy, resonating with my speed and direction but never catching up. Ultimately I was left feeling alone and despite the change in location, like I’d not gotten anywhere. I’d also gained the habit of wearing a strong pair of sunglasses that allowed me to view the world in a constant state of monochrome, nostalgic beauty. Whilst this added a visual ambience to most things and was useful for people watching and anonymity, it also meant my self imposed schism with reality grew more intense. I was double minded about the whole thing. Thinking and musing on your own, for too long is not a good thing. I clunked the car door shut, flicked the remote and walked indoors. Once inside I decided that I would look outside and take stock.
I sat at the white table and clicked open my phone. The mobile signals seemed to come and go like the wind, flocking like strange digital birds, feeding on some strange electric swarm of insects and riding currents of energy I couldn’t see. They carried the odd and complex messages of telephone conversations and text messages and all the spurious internet junk across their wide invisible wings, passing the information between them like a billion ping pong balls. Looking into the distant blue, as I was, that was how it seemed and I felt better connected now that I was finally stationary.
As the text messages rolled past like tides I regarded the world at large. Thinking the first of a number of self centred thoughts I decided to eat much more fruit, less sugar and take in much less alcohol. My background breeding makes any form of alcoholic excess disastrous so for me to eat that peach (that peach) would be a very good thing. A very good thing to do right now.
I ate the peach and, for my pleasure took a long time doing it. It was the right colour, the right texture and sitting at room temperature being consumed at the right time. I took it, placed it on a plate and quartered it north to south using a sawing action to curve the blade around the stone at the core and once the fruit had opened prised the stone away from the flesh. Slowly I added a drip of Worchester sauce to each of the four slices and allowed a little tinting of the fruit, then I ate each piece in three bites, twelve for the whole fruit and so nothing but stone remained, stranded on the plate in a few drips of sauce. That was that. As I ate I watched the traffic in the street, the pedestrians, a few dogs and a cat sleeping on a roof gully. The signals had tipped my phone into life and when they did I winked towards the grey mobile antennae as an offering of thanks for it’s relaying effort. The townspeople carried on with their business regardless of me eating, watching and listening. I was another Saturday afternoon and I had stopped, still in one spot for all of a half hour. There are far too many fractions out here and no enough wholes, for that I blame the government and the dark lords of science.
You wont find the dark lords of science (without any capital letters) mentioned in many places. As far as I know I’m the only one to mention them. While I respect them as you would an equal or greater enemy I refuse to formalise their title with any additional capital letters, bold text or any other superfluous mark of recognition that would somehow enhance their status. The last thing I’d want to do is enhance their status. There are of course other dark lords, hidden in history and literature, bobbing between the words of fact and fiction, not sure where they should reside. Mostly they stay shielded in the nether world of wider human imagination where anything is possible and where living and breathing may be more likely than in the (so called) physical world. Here their creators tolerate them and allow them a religious freedom to wander hither and thither causing panic, pain and misunderstood experimentation. I allow them not such latitude. The dark lords of science that I know need no latitude, they are legion, unrestricted and unbounded in their work. They are an industry.
I don’t quite know when their industry began, it may have always been there, in the early iron and bronze forges, in the light and in the burning logs. In the ore and the coal and in the heat and hammer blows that tested and formed materials into solid, cutting and piercing objects. Some objects were marvellous, functional and saved the work of many, some were frivolous and decorative, some were dark and misshapen and put to unspeakable uses. The dark lords knew best of these instruments and coveted them, the y traded for them, they stole them, they bribed with meat and position for their acquisition. They hid them from light and planned for their future use. The hammers then turned silent and the fire blew out. The great sheets of ice came and the world shrank back into self defence from a deep and heart stopping cold. In the icy wilderness the dark lords travelled through frozen worlds of still born thought, freezing and influencing and taking shape, grinding and revelling in the friction and generated heat, shaping the world of blunted mountains we recognise today.
When they did emerge from that frozen time out, other things had happened and our journey was underway. We’d built buildings, pubs, clubs and bridges and explored science almost up to the same point as they had. With the internal combustion engine the final piece was in place albeit we’d yet to crack the problem of a hydrogen based fuel system. The dark lords of science watched and waited.
It may have been Benz, Henry Ford, Thomas Chevrolet or any one of a thousand inventors who they used to channel their forces, we’ll never know, their victims are gone and cannot speak but heir work and their legacy goes on.
From where I sat, peach taste still lingering in the back of my throat I could see evidence of their work, even here, even in the badlands amongst the poor and the peasants. The industry of the lords had long and far reaching tentacles, like Hollywood, radio or more recently mobile phone marketing. I was swing back in my chair now, thoughts coming in like avalanches or dust storms or hailstones. They always ran like some great, inexplicable natural event. That’s thoughts, natural but unnatural and often unwelcome because of the baggage they bring and the damage they might do. Abruptly my direction changed and I waked into the kitchen. On the worktop a dozen hen’s eggs sat on a tray. I took one and broke it into a white cup, the yolk golden, the white gleaming and translucent. I shook it, looked at it and drank it down. My body was crying out for protein, it had been a long day and journey.
Ginger cats are everywhere, great loopy, orange blank faced felines, smiling through whiskers, looking with dilated pupils, standing still, turning their backs and sleeping for 23 hours a day in a place where you would prefer to sit. I’m watching one now, the gully one, lazy, licking and stretched on the warm roof tiles. What could disturb that fantastic disconnected beast? The world passes by, the sun crosses the sky, the dogs sniff and fret over strange smells and the promise of an easy meal. The cats remain aloof, far away, hollow vessels for the comings and goings of the dark lords of science. That’s their purpose, that’s their function and that’s how things are.
I think that the medication may be wearing off. That’s obvious in my eyesight improving. I can see the cat clearly. It could be the protein kicking in. It could be the lack of alcohol and other external stimulus. It could be down to staying out too long in the sun.