November 23rd, 2007 06:02 EST
Are you opening the wrong doors?
I`ve been opening the wrong doors lately "well, maybe it`s nothing new "but what is new is that I expect to walk into rooms I don`t live in anymore. I expect them to be just as they were when I lived in them. I don`t think I expect myself to be just as I was, no, just the rooms. And I`m finding it disturbing they`re not there, that this new, unfamiliar room is there instead.
I said goodbye to most of those places. I always do. I thank them for their hospitality and note the particular pleasures I`ll cherish. So that should be the end of it, right? I never imagine anyone else living in my old spaces, but that`s a symptom of egomania, so I`ll skip over it slyly. What interests me is the confusion: I expect things to be where I put them years ago in other places. Things have no right to change behind my back.
The strangest aspect of this is that I can`t find books in my library because they`re in all the different places they used to be in more than twenty different habitats. And the ones I`ve recently acquired are hiding behind the veterans.
I think such things passing cemeteries. Think of the millions of scenes, faces, reflections, recognitions, pleasures, horrors lost to us when one of us dies. How unecological, how criminally profligate this waste. These were priceless gems, infinitely more valuable than emeralds. How can we be reconciled to this? Are we the ultimate throw-aways?
And what does this contemplation have to do with me opening the wrong doors, other than the fact that my whimsical mind has wound its way to cemeteries? I think it`s because everyone in them entertained intimations of other dimensions, of mysteries which perhaps they would understand past this one final door. Perhaps what they`ve learned will come in handy elsewhere, but of course whether such an elsewhere exists is the quintessential question.
And, besides, I live in the famously haunted Hudson Valley where in the gloaming anything is possible and cemeteries are welcome reminders we`re taking ourselves too seriously.
None of my ambitions has ever topped my impulse to try to pass through doors without bothering to open them. It`s not a voyeuristic quirk. I don`t particularly care what`s going on beyond the doors; I just find them uneccesarily there, like the hoops the hapless vaudevillian was always trying to get his perverse dog to jump through. I think this concern with doors may derive from having had so many shut. in my face.
The Chelsea Museum, a magical space, treated this quixotic ambition of mine a bit rudely a couple of years ago. Their stairwell is enclosed in glass and when I decided to use it I knocked myself out cold trying to pass through the enclosure. The staff was wonderfully solicitous, not suspecting my particular madness.
I`m quite sure I do this sort of thing "successfully "every night. That`s why I don`t recognize the guy in the mirror in the morning. He`s a guy who`s not accustomed to steering clear of people or obstacles. Nothing is ever in his way, nor is he ever in the way. He`s the guy I want to be, which is why I have so much trouble making his acquaintance.
One day he`s going to say, Look, if you keep on acting like you don`t know me, this mirror`s going blank. How would you like that, huh? You know the significance of that, doncha? That`s the point where I check my neck for two little bites. (Actually I do that anyway).
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