My memory is generally pretty sharp, although year to year it seems to be less dependable. This however is an unusual, pointed lapse, 'scene deleted.'
The floor has a garish mesh of stripes rolling back in a mildew-stained carpeting most likely left over from the seventies. The stage is a tavern setting, empty of actors but betraying signs of recent use. This whole setting feels important, as if I am supposed to divine meaning from it somehow, or else the performers all left already?
A generic antique pinball machine, probably all flippers and bumpers and pre-multiball era perhaps, sits underappreciated in the corner, faintly whirring. Chairs have been halfheartedly turned upside down on the table and an empty liquor box is left on the floor beside them, either absentmindedly or with little passion by the bar staff. A centered door unapologetically ajar traces a rectangular void of blue outside its threshold. The houselights are on in this venue, and a droll static buzz is oscillating faintly enough to forget and then tune into and then forget again all in the same train of thought. (oh yes, the neon light)
The funniest thing about this door is that you can hear the-feel the-abyss of cacophony of the outside world funneling through, and yet all that is visible is flat blue light that squint as you might doesn't seem to come into focus. There is no pit for an orchestra, no balcony. I've been here now for long enough to question just how long it actually has been, just long enough to be curious if there is a formal start or end to this experience. I don't remember entering this theater, or purchasing a ticket, or sitting in my kitchen looking in the weekly declaring out loud that this seemed a good way to spend the evening, or morning, or whatever this increment on the chronometer could be interpreted as. I'm staring disembodied at myself staring at the stripes on the wall. At the pinball machine. At the ambiguous blue bright vacuum. The seemingly arbitrary placement of the boxes that may or may not contain boozy items. I wonder out of the blue what song I would choose as the title music for the end credit sequence of my life. Not sure if I tried to leap through the door if it would be allowable, and here I seem to be paralyzed in an observational assignment, stuck in anticipation of what this all means. It could all be smoke and mirrors in any case. Flats and stagehands, etc. An outlandish speakeasy?
There are times when I'm laying in bed trying to fall asleep when a laziness takes hold and I plan over and over potential different ways of shifting from one side of my body to the other, and nothing seems to be the right solution. I lay and mull the options of muscle movement over and over, cycle them as if rinsing my mouth with the thoughts until there's hardly anything left at all to spit out. My stillness in this “theater” feels similar, suspiciously dreamlike and yet so sharply coherent that it seems out of the question. The blue rectangular void starts to emit a sound close to distant birds and possibly a thin ribbon of morning commuter traffic erratically shuffling along a highway? It should be noted that the floor is painted like the stripes of a Pendleton blanket, or thick long model paint along a vintage soapbox derby race-car. My feet are cold and seem faraway looking back at me from hibernation. I'm losing my patience, and can now hear the loudening open space and faraway sirens and erratic metal grinding of garbage trucks (it isn't trash day today, is it?) Let's get on with this, really.
By Morgan Hobart