Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Rotting Fester of Decay

Between Schillingstr. and Schicklerstr. on the east side of Alexanderstraße in the narrow wood that lines the sidewalk that runs along the bike-path that runs along the street lies a trio of garbage bags containing loosely the barely degenerating leavings of leaves & needles of grass and twigs & bark, or other mulch-like material & who knows what else save the soul who left them there, byhaps discarded upon the completion of a job rendered thus incomplete, or deposited upon completion of another kind of job altogether, one more haphazardly settled than it was finished, the remnants therein only slightly more hidden than thrown out.

Now, my memory scarcely serves me to perfection, perhaps especially when it comes to questions of longevity itself, so even as I have left that spot with each pass feeling a more distinctly divined retrospective omen - my kinship the development of a chosen shortcut involving a half-block roll this side of the wrong side of the street (weaving from sidewalk to bike-path as required) because city planners saw fit to compose a shin-deep, curb-encastled strip of lawn to serve as a barrier between the lanes of opposing traffic on Alexanderstraße, a material finale to the codification prohibiting left turns from Schilling - I nevertheless cannot estimate the expanse of time to match my sense of its vastness or, rather, impart adequately the earthly peculiarity of the remaining of these remains.

In the much better part of the decade directly behind me, I must have cycled through that gap a slight-fewer than half-of-a-thousand times. An indeterminable number those hops have I taken note of the disregarded debris in the wood, nor can I conclude the first time I noticed them at all. But I am most definitely certain that those same sacks have lain in that very spot through at least a dozen seasonal changes.


There's this urban proverb regarding the ending of a relationship, which likens a lover to a band-aid. It goes, there are two ways to put an end to the unwanted affair: you can nervously tug, beginning with a corner, feeling the slow strain of stretched skin and minor agony of each snagged hair, prolonging the discomfort; or you can rip it off all at once and be done with it.

The point being that the latter alternative might result in soreness, but with the breakup process greatly reduced, it's ultimately less painful. Or maybe the point is that, to reduce the pain of separation, you should take great time & care to separate amicably. Or maybe the point is simply that it's gonna hurt either way, but different strokes and all that.

Yeah, maybe it's less proverb and more conceptual metaphor, descriptive rather than prescriptive. Either way, I'm sure it says something about people who choose one or the other method.

I first heard this nasty analogy when I was asked by an assembly of associates - all women coincidentally - which method I preferred. One and another might have expressed opposing preferences at that point already, I'm not sure, but my answer was neither of the two options.

I said that I did nothing at all - just went on about my business with band-aid in tact, showering with it, for example, casually leaving it hanging, even when only the smallest part of one end remained affixed, clinging to the skin just one side of the wound of a relationship, until it finally just fell off.

My reply got a nice laugh all around - as truth in comedy, not comic relief. And I'm all too aware what it says about me.

Hover for another view; click to reveal the path

das Verwesen der verwesenden Verwesung - Alexanderstraße, Berlin 2013

_ _

Barely related & postly e-dated link (29.08):
If they remain another five days, they'll've outlasted one of 
Barbie's dreams that'd camped out just across the street.