New Year’s 2015, and I found myself wondering about the year to come.
I was living in the midst of the crowded history and geography of London. The feeling was of space becoming subsumed to well-trodden paths, and time subsumed to formalized protocol and the rituals of working, going to the park, and going to the pub. Wings clipped by monetization and the constant drip-feed of communication and products. A distraction from landscape and the passage of personal time. Maybe it’s inevitable that humanity becomes disciplined into a regime of lists, schedules, prioritizations and goal-setting, incorporated into a well-behaved, cohesive, productive, and streamlined society.
I was yearning for life; nostalgic for solitude. For new narratives outside of the old, well-trodden stories. To drop below the metaphysical infrastructure of the city into its physical infrastructure. And to have fun, to become feral, to feel a joyfulness and exuberance, and to be unaccountable. To rewild myself in a city that slickly tames all, convincing its dwellers that this is how they want to be.
But how best to meet this? The token solution I arrived upon for the year, essentially, was to play: to discard the arbitrary conventions of paying for snacks, catching a bus, checking electronic maps for directions, and spending the evening in the pub; substituting this game for my own game with arbitrary rules of carrying my own food, walking everywhere, and consulting a compass for directions. Later, I added hiding my watch and phone so I didn’t know what time it was. Rules, of course, to be discarded as desired.
In essence, I hoped to spend some time avoiding the cracks in the pavement.