Thursday, January 19, 2012


Is there any sight as sad and as sweet as a solitary orange traffic cone, under the glow of a streetlight's soft golden lamp, two mute friends at attention, the night their lonely dark cloak? Perhaps the vending machine just down the road has its own desperate charm. Coffee and cokes, sports drinks and fresh water, all bottled up, arrayed in short rows. Awaiting coins. A few clinks. A deposit. Do those plastic tubes feel anything at all as they fall to their shelf just a few drops below? Surely a fate such as this must be viewed as quite grim.

Yet you, too, when looked at by night, when watched while you sleep, might possess a similar pity. Drooling, picking. Moaning, sighing. For seven, eight, even nine hours? Do we still exist when we can't even claim to pretend that we know what we do? I suppose I could set up a camera to catch every moment and gasp. Set it up right by your bed, or my own for that matter. Post it on YouTube. So the world could then see -- who we are, when we are nothing at all but our deeply sleep-selves. Could be a kick. Or a fright.

For what if we view that ourselves in that time are nothing more than slightly, presumably smelly (if not rank), robotically slow-motion, barely functional variations of a traffic cone, a street lamp, a vending machine? Kind of colourful. Mostly mute. Dull, to be honest. Oh, but our waking selves, so full of ourselves! That is a sight, you might say! (I don't know about you, but I like to think that I live just by day, but surely the night, too, has its own secret claims.)

I like to believe and implore: Don't look at me as I rest. Give me the time of day. I'll be up for you then. (Even an orange traffic cone gains more glimmer by noon.)