Aug 12, 2006

Mary Before She Was Even a Virgin

The cities creep along.

In car city, nuance is everything, definition and meaning. I lose myself among the nuances, for example, the way in which a subtle fold in the door panel of a new model Acura speaks, the way it creates a shadow, which in turn creates a contour, which is different or exciting, even original. "Wow," I think, and not cynically.

"So clean, so pure." "Follow me," says the design. "Look at me, watch me. You find me hot, no?"

Some of these designs speak like the magician with rabbits, and girls willing to be dismembered and re-membered. Design is mesmerizing, pacifying, even as it is a reminder of Ozymandius's lament.

In car city, I live in the equivalent of an old brownstone walk-up, like the one at 54 E. 66th Street in Manhattan where I spent three years, between 11 and 13. It's a 1990 Saab, with nearly 180,000 miles. It creaks and groans, you can hear the car slowly coming apart, on its way to heap and scrap, black red rust and odorless, colorless dust. And all the while I'm scrambling like a hamster on a wheel to keep it up, dreaming of how I will or would refurbish it, bring it back, preserve it.

Why? Because a car is a Jungian sympol, a subconscious anthem. It's a sign. It conveys work. If your car is breaking down, your work is breaking down. If your car is fast and sexy then you can see the echo in your own life. This is all true in the material girl world, signs are everything.

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