[Original image here]
It all started with an accidental diary. Or at least the awakening did; the conditions for which were sewn far deeper in earlier years.
The general disorder of ostensibly ordered plans had always been the reality behind Daniela’s bargain with the universe: that she would play the game of life and follow each of the steps she is obliged to take in her received cultural tradition. In reality Daniela had always wished to live as though she were an atom, a photon, a quark or something, floating through the vastness of space, just watching. Taking it all in. Witnessing the burning entropy as energy lived and died through various phases, but never disappearing. She had no need for sleep. No need for sustenance. She did not need to brush her teeth, wash her hair, check her bank balance. Earn money. Keep in touch with people it was almost political to do so. She didn’t need to appraise the brutality of humanity. It’s baseness masquerading as invention; spirituality. Faith, belief. Law. Compassion. These would float by in clusters of other atoms and she could look at them curiously as historical artefacts so irrelevant and stupid they have long since deserted the universe in any meaningful or active form, remaining merely as an echo of the misery and confusion they once caused. Life clutter. Diary clutter. No: Just Daniela and her thoughts, orbiting her mind like electrons at the whim of gravity, gently rolling downstream through a mossy brook.
Ever since she were a young girl, each morning she would painstakingly arrange her hair with a neat side parting – just how she wanted to look – ‘just so’; however the unsettling duality of this ritual became apparent in time, and eventually wouldn’t escape her daily notice: the Daniela staring back appeared to have a parting on her right side, and to Daniela’s left: in reality, the parting lay on her left side and to the observer’s right. This is literally (in one sense anyway) the opposite to how she wished to appear, yet all the while she was doing her hair each morning she had the dual impression of looking at how she wished to appear while simultaneously constructing the opposite look to the outside world.
Today, Daniela is approaching the precipice of a series of encounters that will finally tear the curtain of false reality Daniela has allowed to shroud her worldview. Today, Daniela will set off to various meetings scheduled in her diary, and arrive at not a single one. Instead, she will meet by accident a troupe of characters drawn from the pages of her literary imagination.
Until now, Daniela has lived much as any of us have; she has negotiated the stages of education, left home, pursued a thoroughly normal existence, sustained by an unremarkable but mildly satisfying job. She has even loved, she thinks; though it has always irked her that this state isn’t absolute and, when relationships come and go, cannot help but retroactively conclude she mustn’t have been in love at all.
Daniela’s approach to the precipice is accompanied by a realisation both belittling and containing within itself a looping irony. (Fortunately, this irony would not become apparent to Daniela until the void below the precipice was in full view.) In the morning, prior to the diary’s schedule kicking in, Daniela visited an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London entitled: Humanity: A hiccup in time. The exhibition consisted of a series of images from the solar system; starting with images captured by far-flung telescopes and proceeding backward in time through the oldest images of the cosmos available, to scientifically informed artist’s impressions of the early solar system. The exhibition was at pains to remind its viewers of how tiny humanity’s existence has been in the history of its own back yard – let alone the history of time itself. A hiccup. The involuntary spasm of an organ gasping for respiratory relief, in the face of real or imagined danger. The solar system, or the universe, having an attack of identity, perhaps, and hiccuping to right itself, thereby seeding the very first organisms (that we know of) that would eventually lead Daniela to this point: appraising the raging storm of Venus’ sulphuric clouds; red spot in its fledgling infancy – and the epiphany that would result in Daniela realising that not only was the history of human existence, culture, language, expression, survival, spirit, but a hiccup in the history of its habitat, but barely a hic- in the universe’s own story.
Upon leaving the exhibition, and proceeding to her first appointment…
Monday 16 May, 09.45 – Daniela meets an eminent Professor of Sociology with a curious job:
Monday 16 May, 09.45 – Daniela meets a grieving husband, and his young daughter:
Monday 16 May, 09.45 – Daniela meets a train driver/train conductor, who has decided they no longer wish to show up for work:
Monday 16 May, 09.45 – Daniela meets a vigilante hero from a recent terrorist attack who wants nothing more than to be forgotten:
Monday 16 May, 09.45 – Daniela meets Gravity:
Monday 16 May, 09.45 – Daniela encounters again the eminent Professor of Sociology with a curious job, in very different circumstances…: