Friday, November 2, 2007

Rooftops

[Left] Roof Line, Burden Iron Works with Altocumulus Clouds
Troy, New York


Satellite dishes turned upward drink in the information streaking through atmosphere as it passes over the tarred rooftops and water towers of the city. Like a dog from a garden hose that can’t get enough water, the gray dishes stare unblinkingly into the expanse. Years ago, the only link to the outside world was two tin cans and fifty feet of string. That was then. This is now, and voices from distant broadcast desks repeat the same events with different words filling the 24 hour news cycle with every possible fact, both real and fabricated. None of us are strangers anymore.

From the fourth floor, the city looks totally different than it does at street level. Rooflines and brick canyons run in both directions and opposing angles. The telephone wires, cell towers, and aircraft beacons have become a hypnotic, automated dance. It is a world that provides the same fascination as looking into the inner workings of your computer. It has much of the same vibe as getting a quick glace as camera one pans across the control panels of the Starship Enterprise in 1966. You know it is nothing more than a thinly constructed fa├žade of painted plywood, Lucite and Christmas lights, but it looked so god damn cool in action. You knew it was all fake, tear-it-down temporary, but you wanted to believe so badly. There is a certain and undeniable beauty in infrastructure, whether real or imagined. The armature of imagination is the same at any age. It just has to be uncovered, maybe deconstructed a little.

Sometimes you want to believe more than anything. You willingly suspend your critical thinking because you want to believe that the guy peeking out from behind the paper mache rock a few feet from Kirk’s polyester landing party is really an ominous alien warrior. You don’t even want to entertain the possibility that it is a guy from property services dressed in a garbage bag accessorized with plumbing fixtures, glitter, and angry red glass eyes. We are a nation of believers. From day one we are taught to believe in God, the President, the flag, the Tooth Fairy, Hannah Barbarra, The Six Million Dollar Man and ourselves. Sometimes it just feels good to believe, whole heartedly. Reality and truth be damned.

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