October 10, 2009

What Are You Looking At?

Ten a.m. Agent 97 wakes up, drags himself to the living room to read the latest volume in whatever fantasy adventure series it is this month. I take a ninja stance, arms up, wrists cocked, wagging my fingers menacingly with a “Come on, what have you got?” look.

“Shut uppa you mouth,” he says. “Go to the store right now and get cookies.”

“Ha! I mock you” I say.

“Go get cookies!”

Cool gray Saturday morning, the second chilly day of the season. I love this weather, it makes me imagine I’m in New York or the Bay Area. It lets me wear my new favorite sweater. I’m sitting near the open window, sipping my second half-decaf au lait from a ceramic mug that Agent 83 doesn’t remember giving me when he was a child. I may take a walk to the library, or I may just imagine it. I watch a squirrel with twin nuts in its mouth run the length of a telephone wire, its back undulating. It speeds up when a little bird flies near it, though the bird can’t do it any harm.

I can see what the wire looks like through the squirrel’s eyes. The wire moving under him, and the tops of the green and tan bamboo under that, and the gray cloud-light in his peripheral vision. Pure sensation of movement, no words, pure sight and motion. Life, absolute life.

I can see what the world looks like for this Richard, too. A wide dark space with thoughts zinging across it like meteor showers that make him go, “Ah.” A space infinite but bounded; within its borders everything fits: cities, hosts of people, entire literatures, out to the galaxies. And him little in the center of it, taking in all the messages and sending ones back. Absolute life.

“Get some cookies! There’s nothing to eat around here, what’s a person to eat? What are you looking at?”

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