I am a collector of details, minutia, tiny pieces of other’s lives. I’m pausing, by your side in the metro, wondering what you're reading, watching you turn the page or stare into the abyss; a thief of daydreams, of doldrums, a sifter of the of the better-left-unsaid.
Conversations overheard in coffee shops are filed meticulously away, these tales of childhood letters written to horses or fears of the dark set up like shrines in the corner of my mind. Whispers shared shyly all become relics, pieces of paper stashed for posterity in notebooks overflowing with strangers memories, but I love them all as if they were mine. I collect discarded facts like so-many specimens; water samples complete with Ph balance of your baser instincts and acid retorts. Cross sections of soil selected and Nasca lines are traced in order that I might quantify your words, your thoughts, your makeup; every allusion to a wouldn’t-want-to-know, my prospector's dream--delineating flaws, faults, and insecurities, the origins of a founding myth that perhaps you yourself can't find.
I wonder sometimes how many glasses of wine stand between me and the secret of a stranger's metaphysical being. If you consider the immensity of each cumulating past and every fading present, a person becomes an infinite nexus of information, artifacts stuck to the wall of my mind. I connect the dots; you, my case-study ready to be solved, demystified. The act of listening, not unlike prying a crowbar into the corner of a memory, hopes to glean some insight as to the Freudian makeup or pathological problematic which could serve to clarify or represent, this body, this human, this being.
Later, I step back. Big picture; I trace and retrace the curves of each outline, how they meld and overlap, feeling for the truths of human nature, looking for something beyond the startling depths of sorrow or the soaring ecstasy of joy. Hidden here between is the everyday-- the doldrums, the midnight wanders of any ordinary insomniac, the axe and grind. Unimportant, you say? Look again, for here are the thumbtacks in your soul's web– your need for approval, your thoughts on mortality that lean towards mysticism, your obsession with counting, or the way you check your door 3 times to make sure it's locked, walk back up 5 flights and check again, the way you’re still afraid of spiders, or how, though she’s long gone, you can’t bring yourself to toss the champagne cork from your first Valentine's. Like a compass rose on a geographical map, the minutia become my guide, for it's these sleepy yet persistant remnants that make us who we truly are.
Let's consider for a moment what is left when we're boiled down, reduced to the collection of our regrets, the things left unsaid, our rambling prose, our tears, our promises-made and not kept, our whispers in the dark. Here in the depths of our neurosis, our triumphs, our sorrows, are our stories, the high-water marks of lives laid bare. Here they lie, hinting at the seismic shifts underscoring each human facade. These are the histories recorded on our souls, yet revealed only in surface debris, like silt collecting at the mouth of a river. Still, it is certain that somewhere amongst all this mess lie the the fault lines--the tectonic plates our devine comedy revealed in this, our daily bread.
And so we leave behind the golden crumbs of our existence for the pigeons and the scavengers of the unnoticed who fancy themselves humanity's intimate geologists-- the hoarders, the thinkers, the writers, the poets-- those who, like myself, suspect that perhaps a true “knowing” of someone comes primarily from the discovery of that which they would hide.