I stop to pull over. The interior of the cab is exceedingly
dark, even for black leather. It reflects very little of the
neon carnival outside. Matt has climbed atop a ramp made
of bricks the size of leggo blocks. The ramp descends into
the middle of the road, presumably as a tunnel to the next
The bricks of the ramp glow with a yellow hue reminiscent of the interior of a subway bathroom receiving the last vestiges of light from a sodium lamp on the streetcorner outside. Matt's face glows with the same distant yellow, a grimy yellow that would blare sanitation in white glare if lit directly with incandescents.
His blue jeans do appear blue, faded, but blue. He has
wrapped his arms loosely around his knees to balance
himself on the lump of concrete on which he sits. The
concrete forms part of the entranceway arch to the tunnel
beneath. I have sandals on, or no shoes at all and decide not
to scale the seven or so feet of wall to reach the concrete
arch. The wall only appears to be three or four feet in height
until I stand against it. I yell to Matt, telling him that I'm not
going to climb the embankment. . . yes, yes, it would be a nice
view, . .it's kind of noisy. The trucks would make quite a racket
when entering the tunnel, . . trucks can't enter the tunnel? Oh.
What's it for? . . Nothing enters the tunnel? They don't use it?
They used to use it? . . I am liking this tunnel less and less.
Perhaps we should meet up somewhere else..
In Virginia the light always shines. I arrive in Virginia without my cab, floating effortlessly into a large warehouse. Glass panels and spaces of open air cover a distant network of girders overhead and along the sides. It might have been an industrial warehouse but the light has wiped all semblance of dirt and grime from perception. A sloping garden with a number of buildings leads to a quandrangle further in the heart of the building. I do not know what lies beyond the quadranlge of buildings. Everything disappears in an undefined vortex of one-point perspective.
An archway, nearly identical to the one in Tennessee, rises from the sloping ground in the garden. It has larger bricks. My eyes flow intently along the patterns of the stones and masonry, things I couldn't see in the other arch from the veneer of soot and grime. Matt sits atop this arch in much the same position he did on the other one. On seeing me he hops down and joins me on a path that meanders through a garden of bonsai trees, mulberry bushes and oddly contorted shrubs with vines that crawl along the ground, ultimately passing into a small stream where they sway to and fro in the current. I cannot decide if the vines make the current or the current makes the vines.
'The party is near the entrance. We've been invited.'
'Oh. I should have passed it on my way in. I wasn't paying attention.'
He leads me to a maze of walls near the open entrance of the warehouse. Hazy furnishings appear as we pass through doorways cut in the walls, mostly glass tables, waist high with chrome supports.
An elderly woman appears from around a corner and beckons for us to enter the next room. She has silvery curly hair and wears a loose dress with flowers on it. She has no shoes on her feet. Roughly 10 other people, all very old, are sitting or standing in the room. A series of stepped platforms with couches, cushioned chairs and low-lying wooden tables lead to the front of the room where sliding glass doors separate the maze of rooms from an apparent patio outside. I cannot understand what the woman says. Matt has left with one of the men and is looking through his collection of hats decorated with what appear to be fishing lures and metallic pins.
We have accidentally entered a warehouse home for the elderly.
It has the feel of a university campus, this place. It's very tranquil, placid and serene. The air is serene, the plants, the structures, even the industrial girders seem even, not odd, but it's the air mostly. Whatever is surrounded by air will behave like air.
The party has been thrown for? . . once again I cannot follow what the woman says. A birthday party perhaps? Some of these people must be in their 80s and 90s, nearing 100. However, the intent seems to have been turned towards Matt and I, the youth stumbling into their maze of walls and gardens..
Virginia has such odd architecture.
We toast?? I don't know what we toast, but we do it with long- necked champagne glasses. Matt seems as perplexed as I do. Food, hord d'oevres including deviled eggs and small crumbly cakes of different colors have been laid out on a long table covered in a blue damask table cloth, a royal blue damask. I notice an odd shaped bowl at one end, a blue bowl with wavy sides.
I wander over to the end of the table and pick up the bowl, fascinated by its appearance and texture. It's big enough that I have to hold it with two hands. Another woman, easily in her 80s trods over. I don't understand the words she uses but I understand what she says: I can eat this. It's not a bowl. It's a cookie. A blue wire cookie, or so I think to myself as the wavy patterns look as though someone coiled blue wire tightly around an unknown object, globular in shape but filled with sensuous curves and depressions. I cannot easily imagine its' surface even from the motifs revealed within the cookie. The concentric layers of this supposed wire lie next to each other and have presumably been fused together by cooking. The object has no flexibility. The blue is the medium blue of plastic from Taiwan. It 'pings' a tinny, dull 'ping' when I flick my fingers against it. I bet it tastes sugary, shattering like carmelized sugar when bitten. I could never bite into such an object.
As I turn it in my hands I notice the patterns of wire cross one another on part of the bowl, leading to flattened projections from the outter surface of the object. The interior is far more complicated that I had imagined, filled with hidden tessellations, pockets and unseen folds near the base. This could not have been made in three dimensions . . a . . tess . . tesst .. tseetse . . the appropriate thought eludes me.
Perhaps it was folded, not wound around a surface. Someone folded a sheet of wires, cooked together beforehand. On a nearby table I find some opened cardboard boxes, pieces of which have been taped to sheets of fine stationery and random pieces of paper and newsprint. The conglomeration is quite tattered and not subject to excessive movement without tearing or falling apart. I place the bowl to one side and gingerly manipulate the tattered array of paper and cardboard. A few local bends on a corner of paper would form the far end of the cookie. The inside though, how to make the inside? I could roll the paper into a cylinder, folding it diagonally, slipping one corner of the triangle into the other . . but that doesn't make the interior . . the base could collapse easily enough to form the bottom . . perhaps a series of crimps inside, twisted into each other, flattened and . . but then the wires would have to cross, and the wires do not cross. This can not have been folded in three dimensions. I think a few thoughts of wistful topology, inside, outside, wound and looped around without really leaving, pity I only have hands in three dimensions.
Matt joins me once again. He finds the cookie equally as intriguing. Our hostess escorts us back to the garden with the looping vines and tortuous shrubbery. It seems we are to be given an architectural tour of Virginia. Through a clouded breach in a nearby building we see hints of monastic hallways piled one atop the other in even levels, reminiscent of drawings by Escher. The image explodes away silently. Another one appears on the oposite end of the quadrangle showing a quick sucession of facades, italian facades. It too fades away with the bricks underneath returning in a faint sheen demarcating where the images had been. Our hostess has moved further up the path of the garden towards the unoccupied buildings. I stare into the undefined collapse of one-point perspective thinking that someone in those buildings beyond folded the cookie I hold in my hands.