Copyright © 2000 Bob Hay
Scratching Only Makes it Worse
When I come home, I find her lying under the bed with the lights out and a stack of
pancakes on her face.
It takes me quite some time to find her. At first glance the apartment seems empty,
so I assume she's gone out for pie. I start a pot of coffee and sit down to read the
paper. Half an hour later I hear a noise or a cough from the bedroom.
She says they told her this is the path to true happiness. She says she is free from
the travails of the world. She says, here, she says, all becomes clear and the
problematic bits fall right into their slots. She says they're blueberry pancakes.
She says that they've been doing this for years and they all, all of them, feel
rejuvenated and right with themselves. She says she's finally found something that
feels right for her.
I have to squat to talk to her. I could just stand and sneak towards the bed, under
the assumption that she's down there, listening, but I like to watch people as they
speak. Although, this is dificult even when squatting, what with the pancakes.
She says that by prostrating oneself, one destabilizes the hierarchy implicit within
bipedal society. The position of complete horizontality maximizes the contact with
the ground in order to embrace the concrete reality of life, as the floor, the ground,
call it what you will, is that inevitable, necessary, but forgotten, perpetually
overlooked element of the world. Horizontality thus displays advocacy and strong
belief in the physical world, the world of nature, the natural laws such as gravity,
while rejecting the elitism of humanity through the identification with the
marginalized component of physicality.
The position of the body, she says, has three relevant commponents: one, proximity to
the bed; two, placement under, rather than over the bed; three, the 'face-up' position.
The bed invokes images of rest, peace, dreams and the irrational, spirituality, as well
as sexuality. By lying below the bed, one ironizes these themes by inverting the item's
intended usage and functionality. However, by facing upward, one shows an embrace of
these themes, a recognition of their importance and existence in the world. It is not
a full rejection; it is not a denial of spirituality but a critique of their
distortion through this commodity of modern technology; a rejection of the issue in
society of the power of these elements, and a refusal to participate.
The coffee maker beeps. That means it's done. I continue to squat. Somewhere in the
building a baby cries, then stops, then cries again.
I ask about the pancakes.
She says the pancakes represent the frustrations inherent to the commodity culture,
where desires are cultivated, expanded upon, and nurtured, but never to the point of
complete satisfaction: the creation of false necessity yet always keeping it at
arms' length. The sub-bed position also emphasizes the masking of this phenomenon.
The culture thrusts the commodity towards you in such a way that the desire for it can
never be fulfilled, yet the artificiality of the desire industry can never be known.
Similarly, an external viewer cannot see the pancakes unless assuming a similar
position to the participant, that is, in approaching the floor, thus implicating the
viewer in the systems of destabilization and desire refusal.
I say no I mean why blueberry. She says it was all we had in the house.
She says by the way she says Im leaving you the others will be here soon to join me
and Id appreciate it if youd leave before they get here I understand that you must be
upset and I accept your feelings and I recognize that this will be a difficult time
for you and the children but know that this is truly right for me and Im sorry I
didnt tell you this sooner but I wanted to explain the system and my reasoning and my
justification I mean I want you to know that Ive thought a lot about this I mean Im
not a naive idiot who would just put pancakes on her face because somone told her to
but I really think this is right and this is what I want and Im sorry but please leave
as soon a possible theyre coming soon okay bye bye.
Fine. I leave.
We'll see how she feels when the night roaches come.