Locomotoring

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Inspired by something I heard on “the 11th” – An attempt at exhausting a photo

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To tell you this story, I have to go back a few weeks. I heard this podcast titled Exhausting A Place, on “the 11th”, and it got me thinking about possibilities of a place. In this episode, three people spend several hours just sitting in one place, observing and recording. A cemetery in Virginia, a cafe in New York and a plaza in Mexico. The episode is inspired by the book An Attempt At Exhausting A Place in Paris, “what happens,” as the author Georges Perec puts it, “when nothing happens.” While I found the idea intriguing, I could not convince myself that I knew how to exhaust a place, not even my little 12×12 patio with a single maple tree and two loungers. Then nothing happened.

Then a few days later, on a busy weekend afternoon at my grocery store parking lot, I noticed a sign I would normally not notice. On top of a familiar sign that threatens towing all unauthorized vehicles, I noticed some stickers. Anthony Bourdain’s face was one of them and it was he who grabbed my attention. I took a photo because I could not make sense of the collection of stickers. And that started a journey. A journey that I am calling An attempt at exhausting a photo.

Aside from Anthony Bourdain’s photo, it had three stickers, one was partially covered up. One said, “FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE AND LET IT KILL YOU.” Another said, “ATTENTION DEFICIT ORDER PODCAST” and the final one that was partially covered up, read, “A FEELING OF SADNESS THAT ONLY BUS STATIONS HAVE”. I did find myself curious. Were they related in any way to each other? Were they related to Bourdain’s photo? If the owners of the stickers were saying something, what was it? This was my neighborhood grocery store, so chances were, these are my neighbors. As I root, I find myself increasingly fascinated by those who are around me.

Find something you love and let it kill you: After some rummaging about the internet, I found that the quote is misattributed to Charles Bukowski, a German-American poet.

“My dear,
Find what you love and let it kill you.
Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness.
Let it kill you and let it devour your remains.
For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.
~ Falsely yours
― Charles Bukowski”

Maybe Bukowski didn’t write these few lines, but the words seem to convey the meaning of the line. He appears to be a controversial persona, but apparently Bukowski often spoke of Los Angeles as his favorite subject. LA is my favorite subject too, particularly when discussions focus around film noir or mid century architecture or the golden California light or Mexican food.

It turns out that the quote should be attributed to humorist, novelist, singer, and songwriter Kinky Friedman instead (see link to Quote Investigator). Kinky’s biography is so long that it needs an intermission (bio by Michael Simmons). He loves mysteries by Agatha Christie. I love mysteries by Agatha Christie.

A feeling of sadness that only bus stations have: This is attributed to Jack Kerouac as part of a longer quote “The floors of bus stations are the same all over the country, always covered with butts and spit and they give a feeling of sadness that only bus stations have. – On the Road”

OK, this quote is something I can relate to, or rather, not relate to. When I first came to US, now more than a quarter of a century ago, Greyhound buses felt safe and affordable. An experienced driver would navigate the snow and rain while one took a nap or looked out the window. And it was a chance to see people who you wouldn’t see otherwise. At the bus station, I remember experiencing possibilities of a space shared with strangers. Last time I read Kerouac was decades ago. So, I have decided it is time to reread him again. Exploring around, I found at least one writer who champions the bus as a window into America’s soul (link).

Attention Deficit Order Podcast: Here is how the creators describe the podcast – “This is a free-thinking, pot-smoking, media-loving podcast, based out of California. We watch and rate a ton of movies, tv shows, and video games. We also talk comics, books, technology, and whatever else catches our attention.”

They publish weekly and have over 500 podcasts. I picked “S22E22 Wolf Beatles Moon Party” to listen to – season 22, Episode 22 in Year 22. When they finally get started, they want to talk about the movie Moonfall but instead play Whitey on the Moon, suggesting that the spoken word poem should have been part of the movie. I had to look up the poem and its context and then was reminded by a recent Jon Stewart podcast “Jon talks with Dr. Mae Jemison: The first black woman in space”, where Dr. Jemison talks to Jon about how space is for everyone and not just the billionaire boys’ club. The second movie they talk about is The Beatles: Get Back – The Rooftop Concert. They played a number of Beatles songs. Their recommendation, if you like Beatles, watch it, otherwise it sucks. A little afterwards, they did a voice over on Halo The Series official trailer, almost made me wish I was an eleven year old boy. Over the course of the hour long podcast, they refer briefly to The 355, The Tender Bar, The Afterparty, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window and a few more.

Overall, this podcast delivers what is promises, free-thinking stream of consciousness. For the listener, maybe influence of pot will help join the free-thinking spirit.

Anthony Bourdain: And thinking of Bourdain, I only feel gratitude. I really appreciated his comfort on the street, with strangers, with the new.

Written by Som

March 3, 2022 at 6:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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