Thursday, March 26, 2009

How lost is lost?

Riding home on the subway today, I got distracted by reading Bill McKibben on knick-knack factories in China and locally milled oats in the Lake Champlain Valley and ended up in Queens. Which is not where I live. At all. Even as I rode off of my intended route, I noticed unfamiliar stations passing with little more than a nod - "23rd St. and Ely? I never noticed that before..." And then I lifted my head out of my book long enough to realize I wasn't in Kansas - or Manhattan - anymore.

One day, Charles Dickens saw a most peculiar word painted on the inside of a window.


For those of you who are still working on the translation, it says “coffee room”, or at least it would from the outside looking in. Later, G.K. Chesterton, another British author, heard of Dickens’ experience and took this term “mooreeffoc” to denote anything that becomes odd and unfamiliar when looked at from a new angle.

Walking today from uptown from down, starting at Wall St. and wending along Broadway, I had a similar mooreeffoc moment when I arrived at Canal St. Unexpectedly, like someone had folded the map to cut out in-between terrain, a wrinkle not in time but space. An "I didn't realize it was so close" moment, like seeing the topography of a well-known place through an airplane window.

*******
Xavier plays Pitt in the Sweet 16 tonight in Boston at the new Garden. My brother, parents, and cousin will be in attendance. Wish that I were there. Go X!

3 comments:

Dan said...

As your mother might say, you're a growing boy. Wall Street to Canal in double time. May your stride surprise you, and your eyes remain wide.

Dan

mskimberlytan said...

Ha. Queens caught you off guard, did it? It's funny how sometimes you feel at home in a far-off city but completely lost in a familiar city...
Glad to see you're continuing to post. Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

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