Wednesday, 29 June 2011

dark star

I suppose I wrote the previous post about ennui and waystations, etc, due to my part-time job being at a kind of ennui-ridden waystation (a satellite campus of a school located in a rural part of the county); even this blog site doesn't seem to get much traffic, making it a kind of cyber ghosttown. These places, real and virtual, analog and digital, fascinate me. There's a British site online that documents decay in the physical world, and online sites that explore derelict, abandoned web sites. Sand scrapes away the physical world, flowers and vegetations and animals bloom; bytes pile up in the cyber ghost worlds, a mountain of information overload, a refracted funhouse of confusing authenticities, an ever-growing organism of electricity and data whose derelict and abandoned areas grow alongside the new material added to the web every milisecond.

The place I work at is largely uninhabitated (though infrastructure is present); I've seen a number of businesses come and go. It's not the most expansive place, acreage-wise, but in its little way is bordering on being a ghost town (or, if you look at it differently, is bordering on booming). The place I work at is like the "anchor" business; people come to us regarding the overall site but we are only leasers, we are only one business -- but since there's no central management office onsite and infrastructure maintenance and cleaning seems sporadic and part-time, people assume we are the place to go. The overall site has no food service, not even a vending machine, no wifi, not much of anything but empty schoolrooms. We have a water fountain and restrooms. There's an abandoned chicken coop and overgrown organic garden. A nice big oak tree in a parking lot that isn't used much, but is home for bees, for birds. I contributed my own microwave oven to the office I work in. I like this outpost nature of things; "satellite" isn't just an analogy but quite literal: we're a skeleton crew with only the basics of survival (restroom, water, light, HVAC, power, parking, etc), a shadow of the larger entity we represent, a lost kingdom in the empire.

We have extremely busy times, but there is much downtime. (It is, I imagine, akin to working at a fire station in a small town; but, then again, small towns often have volunteer firefighters.) People coming in have noted the quietude in the air, found it palpable -- objectionable, even; the light hum of computer brains, the tapping of keys and clicking of mice. The unpredictable thermostat and HVAC like a character in a Tom Waits song about a drunk piano. Our sign blows over outside, and none of us rush to right it. Someone stirs and fixes it. The other day I saw a man smoking a cigarette and trying to secretively piss in the bushes of our parking lot.

I like boredom and ennui and satellite situations. But it takes a certain character, because one has to be okay: with quietude, with one's own mind, with minimalism.

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