“And so it’s true, lo and behold I was the only one with a camera, the day Jesus was laid in his tomb.” Lottie holds the photo hardware up for the gallery crowd to scrutinise. A retro model, but containing more computerised technology packed into it, than available to the entire global effort for outer space travel, c.1954 – 1986. “So that’s my story and now I am ready to take some questions. You there, with the clown make-up, what would you like to ask?”
The beige-coloured painted walls of the gallery space, specially commissioned for the one-person, one-piece exhibition, has created a relaxed atmosphere. The critics from the press have been polite throughout Lottie’s monologue account, despite the only beverage available being tap water.
From a comfortable viewing distance, I watch as two extraordinary people wait at a grimy San Francisco tram stop. I notice their eyes level with each other several times. During the passing seconds of this connected gazing, their engaged brains collect and process the combined equivalent of a 1969 moon-landing sized, four kilobytes worth of RAM. Information, some of which is relevant to this story, some much less so.
“Hi there! Okay, this maybe a bit of an odd thing to say, but, well, you know, I love your naturally blue hair. Are you English. by-any-chance?”
“I am. I am also curious as to how you guessed that. From your accent, I would say that you’re English too? But, I wouldn’t have known just by looking. I mean, clowns they just look like other clowns, right?”
“Well…” Clown is deflated. “There is some variety. Look… we’ve got twenty minutes to kill before the next tram arrives, if it’s on time. There’s a café over there.” His tone of voice and frowning expression suggests something between an appeal and a demand.
Stood outside my front door, basking in the late afternoon sunshine, I deployed a swift reflexive manoeuvre, relieving an itch on the side of my nostril. As it turned out, an awkward itch, the sort that splits into two under the pressure of a finger.
Mid-relief, I spotted my elderly and infirm neighbour crouched outside the door of her stone-built cottage, observing me. With a sudden roar, a brewery wagon laden with metal beer kegs drove past, splitting the peace apart and briefly obstructing our view of each other.
“My powers now are very weak.” She shouted across, as the raw sound of the diesel engine faded. “You know I am not long for this world.”
“I’m sorry, what was that Mary?” I could barely make eye-contact with her, so far was she bent over. “Are you okay there?”
“You are a kind man.” She said. Her arm reached out for support against a freshly painted door frame. Twisting her neck around, she squinted an eye. “Your life, since I have known you over the last fifteen years has suffered a fair number of bumps in the road, hasn’t it?” She lifted up her head another notch, waiting for my reply.
“Well…” A pleasantry or a reflective answer required? I wasn’t sure and the passing seconds in this conversational hiatus, demanded action.
“You know Mary,” I settled upon a mid-deep reply, “there have been a fair few setbacks, you’re right. Life’s not turned out how I’d imagined. If I could do it all again, avoiding the same mistakes, I would for sure.”
“Indeed.” Mary said, with the squinted eye fully closed. “Let’s see what we can do about that.”
“Adam, I’m glad you came in following our conversation on the fone. Won’t you sit down, no? Okay, let’s cut to the chase shall we? Now, let me get this absolutely right, you want me to give consideration towards allowing you to work from home. Is that right?”
Metanoia Paranoia You know those days when you feel hyper sensitive and everything that goes consecutively wrong feels like a super negative when your angel turns to say, having taken on the interrogative “Believe me, no-one’s looking at you for any more seconds than their attention can handle; life is all just relative.”
Ydych Chi’n Credu Mewn Hanes? Rydych chi’n gweld, dydw i ddim yn siŵr am hanes. Pwy sydd i ddweud beth yw un gair yn erbyn un arall? Pwy sydd i ddweud bod y person hwnnw hyd yn oed yn bodoli? Ni allai fod. Gallai arbed llawer o drafferth!
“In case its passed anyone by,” Professor of Psychology Daniel Moccasin said, as he tapped the knuckles of his left hand against the wall-mounted presentation screen-still displayed in front of the small class, “things have changed. And by this, I mean things have changed again. We now face a new, new normal. One that no one could have predicted, not even if they’d had a crystal ball could they have done so, no…” He paused and looked around at the clueless expressions tied to the front of each student’s face. A hand went up, emerging confidently from the back row of the classroom. “Yes, Butterley, isn’t it? Stand up, what have you got to say for yourself?”