Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dream of Impermanent Buildings

I was driving through the country with a friend and an acquaintance, and we were all on our way to Asheville. Somewhere in our past, we had squatted a house—a mansion, in fact, labyrinthine and unlike any other. It was present in our minds because now it was lost. That was the thing about this dream: at one time, so much could have been ours.

Our plan now was to make the best of things by house sitting. The acquaintance, who was at the wheel, had the most experience at this. She had been on a lot of solo house sits in remote locales, she said, and I marveled at her bravery, as it was hard for me to sleep through the night in a strange place by myself.

I had heard somewhere that the Asheville Art Museum couldn’t afford to fix its roof and was going to have to close down. In the last few days before it shut its doors for good, its treasures were to be made available to the public on a frenzied first-come-first-served basis. Unfortunately, we were getting to town just too late to join the raid.

When we arrived at our house sit, I saw that it was my childhood home. The power was out because it was on the same circuit as the now closed museum, which it neighbored, although the two buildings were separated by a crumbling old garage, which at times became one of the museum’s abandoned wings. I had to make a long, fruitless, bureaucratically frustrating call in an effort to restore the power.

During this time, there was a news item, something so over-reported, it was hard to discuss anything else. A little-league football player had covered his face with bright blue eye shadow, and tempered it with a small spot of blush on one cheek. Bafflingly, little boys everywhere were beginning to consider this a masculine look.

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