Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Center Cannot Hold

Due in part because all of the theoretical texts I’m reading right now have some aspect of childhood recollections, but also due to a little kid I was watching in the café the other day, and to a black cat that crossed my path earlier, I’ve been thinking about my own childhood.

I’m not sure which came first, the theory and the kid and the cat, or this conversation with Briullov, but another direction from which it’s been on my mind was this – we walked along Chistye Prudy [Clean Ponds, an oxymoron in more ways than one; the stories I could tell in this digression...later] back towards American Embassy 2.0 (which seems an appropriate name for their apartment, all of its Western gadgetry…)

We passed a kid on a ridiculous wooden horse (a 2x4 roughly hewn), and I tried to describe the barrel-drum rocking lion we had as kids. That was a very bad ass piece of carpentry. I am finding myself, more and more, desiring to learn wood carving. [Briullov mentioned a Brecht play in which the bourgeois husband character announces, at the outset, that he made all the furniture on stage. Throughout the action the furniture all breaks.]

And then I remembered Visa with the Napoleon hat fashioned out of a Fisher Price™ bridge, and the first clear memory of that horrible rhyme: “Step on a crack/Break your mother's back,” and how we gleefully jumped from one crack to the next down the promenade in the mall...

It was only the other day, sitting by a monument to Krylov [a 19th century folktale collector/writer] that I recalled a time, when I was seven or eight, perhaps, and the car broke down in Manchvegas, and my mother walked into a street sign. How funny I thought it was – for that was the part that stuck in my memory – what an adventure it was! We walked down the street from the garage, to the McDonalds, and had some greasy meal.

Only now, finally, have I figured out how worrisome it must have been to be there, without a car, with three little children (or more? I can’t remember the full cast of characters there involved) – and the little kids we were, no less. Luckily we didn’t pick a fight with one another.

What an adventure it was. How quickly things fall apart.

No comments: