I feel a little weird posting about dog shit, but it's only to make a larger point, so I hope you can put up with it. Also, I decided not to post the relevant pictures, although they would help you understand what the hell I'm talking about. There are limits to all things.
You can buy single Black & Milds at any convenience store in my neighborhood, and also when you see something brown on the sidewalk there's not too much doubt about what it is, as picking up your dog has a long way to go around here. But the other day there was something on the ground that resembled dog shit, but wasn't, as far as I could tell, dog shit. It was foamy, for one. Also, I later found some on the hood of somebody's car.
So my first thought is that it's dog shit, and then my second thought is that it's somebody's art installation trying to make some kind of point about dog shit. And it's the second point that caught my attention.
I don't actually think it was that; I didn't very much think it was that at the time. And then later when the foaminess vanished and there was just some brown dirt-like substance on the places where the putative art installation had been it seemed even less likely. I just thought it was funny that that's become my default category for things that confound my expectations of the world -- oh, it's somebody's mode of artistic expression.
I mean, here at the end times we all have points to make and many people make them in creative ways and you have Andre the Giant stickers and stencils, and graffiti, and billboards and all those elaborations of life. Last night I had a dream that a friend was having a party in one of those art communes/living spaces that the L.A. Weekly is always so excited about. Then in my dream it turned out the place was in Bakersfield, which just made it that much more elaborate.
I remember the first time I read a book by Henry James. It was really a conversion experience, because for the first time I felt like somebody was describing the world the way I understood it, with incredible ambiguities and hesitations and conflicting acts of delicacy. But now, a bit later on, I wonder how I would see the world if nobody had ever laid out that incredibly complex version for me. Would those ambiguities still exist in my head, or would I see the world differently and more simply?