As the years stand still… they babble.
Text messages and emails and voices into little mobiles stuck in their ears and blogs and twitters and facebooks and youtubes and newscasts and talk shows and press conferences and chit-chatter as they walk in the streets and shop in stores and eat&drink, as they chatteringly demystify intimacy by making sex not love.
They babble, hardly hear, barely listen, remember little.
From the Age of Elegance to the Age of Reason to the Age of Invention to the Age of whatever the 20th century was to the Age of Babble.
Only the born-deaf among us stay ahead of the struggle to be free in their own privacy. Only they can truly ‘read’. Only Helen Keller understood life in the present, what Siddhartha meant by: “those who live in the past have no future and those who live in the future do not live.”
And then there are the vocal arts. Films and television series with scripts of babbling dialogue, operas with babblelonian librettos...
Ah, but I babble. Sorry.
So........... babbling on… I cannot remember one day of my life in which I did not interact with an animal, usually a pet. A pet, pet… what a word, what a gratuitous, self-hubris-licking word. Humans, as self-proclaimed guardians of animals, eat many of them, murder many others and project their fantasies and neuroses on other cohabiting creatures in this melancholy biosphere.
I have always had cats, and many dogs, and birds and fish. As I've whispered elsewhere, cats dismissively tolerate their keepers. Keepers tolerate their dogs and dogs whirl in circles chasing their tails as if it is a talisman to a better life.
Birds in cages. That eventually flooded me with regret. I could no longer keep them and they didn't want to be kept. Birds want to fly.
Fish in tanks: When my guardianship reached 11 breeding tanks and three large display tanks with elaborate gardens of aquatic plants, I realized that fish were aware of their environments and unrelentingly neurotic as they swam from glass wall to glass wall.
My menagerie has lately dwindled. I have only one cat, a flame-tip, glowing blue-eyed Siamese named, Sanuk. Unlike my prior dynasties of Siamese who could become invisible and could fly, Sanuk cannot fly, but he can vanish with a blink. He tolerates me and stays by my side because he believes that I know where to find his lost mate.
Scene from a new film without dialogue.
The sun has yet to rise. It's quiet and dawn gray. Only the sounds of birds. MOI lies in a Prosecco fog, sprawled on a bed, feet pushed into the pillows, head hanging over the bottom edge close to an open terrace door.
A blurry shadow whooshes past MOI's head. It wakes him. He rolls over to see what breezed by him. Down at the center of the white-tiled floor is a cat, hunkered down with something fuzzy in its mouth.
MOI rolls further and falls off the bed on to the floor. The cat does not move. MOI slowly crawls over to him. He sees the something fuzzy in the cat's mouth. It's a bird, a small, brown, black-striped finch-like bird with a distinct white stripe on its head. MOI grabs the cat. The cat doesn't move. MOI spins him around and the cat drops the bird. It lies there. No blood, but it seems to be dead.
MOI picks up the bird, cupped in his hands and heads for the terrace door.
MOI stands at the terrace railing looking at the bird. He reaches around the security screen and gently places the bird on the floor of the terrace next to his.
The cat comes on to the terrace and sits upright next to MOI. Both stare through the security screen at the lifeless little bird. Suddenly, the bird opens an eye, shakes its head, pops up on to its feet, bristles its feathers and flies to the terrace railing. The two watch it with amazement as the bird continues to preen itself. Then it chirps twice and flies away.
The outside morning light is brighter. MOI again lies sprawled on the bed, feet pushed into the pillows, head hanging over the bottom edge close to an open terrace door.
A blurry shadow whooshes past MOI's head. It wakes him. He rolls over. Down at the center of the floor is the cat, again hunkered down with something fuzzy in his mouth.
MOI rolls further and falls off the bed on to the floor. The cat does not move. MOI crawls over to him. He sees the something fuzzy in the cat's mouth. It's the bird. MOI grabs the cat. The cat doesn't move. MOI spins him around and the cat drops the bird. It just lies there. Morbidly still. No blood.
The cat sits next to MOI who reaches around the security screen and places the bird on the other terrace floor. Again, after a moment, the bird opens an eye, shakes its head, pops up on to its feet, bristles its feathers and flys to the terrace railing. The two watch it with amazement as the bird continues to preen itself. Then it chirps twice and flies away.
The sun is beginning to rise. MOI is lying curled up in the center of the bed. He opens his eyes and looks at the floor. The cat is not there. He turns toward the open terrace door and sees the cat sitting upright in the rising sunlight. He sees a small shadow popping along the terrace railing. He jumps out of bed.
The cat is sitting upright in the warm sunlight. The shadow on the railing is the little bird. It hops along the railing from side to side. The cat only moves its eyes.
MOI is asleep. Through the open terrace door the cat is seen curled up and asleep in the sun. After a moment, the little bird appears on the railing. The cat looks up. The bird scratches itself, looks at the cat with one eye. They stare at each other for a long moment. and the bird flies away.
FADE TO BLACK
[Based On A True Story]
There are many truths in true stories. And there is always memory-smoothing hope.
No, I didn't take any photos. I was a photographer by trade in another lifetime and I used to always carry a camera with me on my travels, at events, encounters, affaires.
I found it to be existenz interruptus. To photograph is to voyeur, to spectate, not to participate, not to experience.
I stopped it.