22 May 2017

Street Scene [1979]

[passage from a letter, 22 May 1979]
 am extremely burnt out today. Across the street the bar is emptying; downstairs the dogs are barking at the activity, as usual. There’s one major difference about living in a city—many nights at Fourthplainland I would hear the dog telegraph in action; it doesn’t happen here—the dogs all seem to go off at once. The window in front of me faces north, looking directly down Interstate. I can see four sets of traffic lights and at least half a dozen neon signs. Orange and blue appear to be the prevailing colors in the neon signs; they blink on and off, each with a separate beat. The traffic lights cycle from green to yellow to red and back to green. There is an incredible amount of activity down there, all of it inhuman, mechanical. An occasional car comes over the hill, or out from a side street, like a ball in a pinball machine. I have to admit, the whole thing is flashy, but it seems singularly pointless. Who, or what, is keeping score?

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