Thursday, July 01, 2010


A small white arrow set against a light blue background. Pointing north. Or ahead. Or in the general direction of that which lies in front of me. (Trying to follow directions has always hindered my sense of proportion and offended my inner balance.) A sign to direct those who need direction. At the same as the sign is seen a black cat dashes across the street in front of me. Out of a movie and into our lives, such are the cliches that continue. If I go ahead, I follow the sign; if I move forward, I cross that path which the black cat has streaked in my (dis)favor.

The question then becomes one of belief, options, alternatives -- all the alliterations that enhance and frustrate our existence. To believe in a black cat is no more rational than believing that an eternal old man lives up beyond the sky, or that our lives are truly and actually our own, to do with as we please, others be damned (or blessed). Yet what sway superstitions have over our rational minds! I immeditately reconcile the irrational fears dwelling in the base of my stomach with the notion that that particular black cat is the beloved member of a Japanese family, who feed it and pet it and ignore it on a daily basis, and what misfortune has ever befallen them? (Should you know this particular family, kindly don't answer. I do not wish to know.) If one lives amidst the most basic of black magic, than such sorcercy ceases to wield any evil intent. This is what I would like to believe, so it is what I choose to believe. Black cats are members of families. Hence, therefore, ipso facto, they cannot, in our modern world, be the harbingers of a dark and dastardly doom.

(Unless it is an orphan, this cat. Cast aside simply because of its wicked, wicked glare, and all that that evil gaze signifies.)

So the sign is what remains, the white arrow on blue background. Is it metal? Plastic? I'm suddenly embarrassed not to know what street signs are actually made of, as if, at any moment, a young child will pop out of the darkness and ask me why the sky is blue, and where we go when we die, and what, or what, my distinguished elder, are street signs made of? To refuse to answer would be the anecdotal equivalent of slaughtering Santa Claus with an already-bloodied machete before the young lad's wide, innocent eyes.) Can one actually proceed when one does not know where one is going, nor what one's indicator actually is composed of? Better to brave the black cat and all its (possible) misfortune by turning 'round and heading home?