Bookending the day, two events happened to me, one in the morning, one at night. Both feeding my appetite for oblique existential circumstances, they stand in contrast to one another. I’ll call the first one “The Essence of Frustration” and the second one “The Allure of Magic.”
After ninety minutes spent reading over breakfast at the local cafe, I walked back home. As I proceeded up the very slight incline toward the one traffic light in the center of the village, I had a clear view of Trustco Bank’s time and temperature sign that stands on the corner, alternating between current temporal and Fahrenheit data, reporting two seconds of “8:38” and then “39˚” in a continuous loop. Knowing that the time would be switching to 8:39 (the minutes agreeing with the temperature), I continued towards it with happy anticipation. Reaching the intersection, I then crossed the street to stand beside the sign, and still it had not changed. I passed by slowly on the sidewalk and then turned around to continue my watch, observing the same information duplicated on the opposite side. It still flashed “8:38, 39˚” but I remained confident it would change at any moment. And then it did, updating to “8:38, 40˚.” A combination of frustration and annoyance came over me and I thought, “I don’t have time for this affront!” I turned back around, walking away from the the bank and towards home.
That night after dinner, Barbara and I were in the music and television room of our house, a fairly common occurrence at the end of the day. Generally we’ll watch something that requires only partial attention while both of us work on drawings. I’d reached a stopping point and indicated so by putting my feet up on the couch. Though I tell myself otherwise (“ah, it’s good to stretch my legs out!”), this posture generally means I’ll fall asleep. Barbara was seated in her usual side chair and my feet were at the end of the couch closest to her. She looked over at the bottom of my now exposed socks, then she rolled up the sleeve of her sweater. She took a look at her arm and said, “Until I saw it on your sock I didn’t know I’d lost the Band-Aid off my arm.” In fact, had my sock-bottoms not been made visible to her I’d not have known there there was a small Bandaid affixed and it may well have gone through the laundry, staying firmly in place. (Such tenacious adhesive. . . yet it fell off the place it belonged.) This reveal felt very much like the pay-off to a trick, when the magician says, “Is this your card?” We had unwittingly been a party to an all day single-trick performance, though I have no idea how to reverse engineer to create the actual trick that would conclude with a triumphant, “Is this your Band-Aid?”
Artist David Greenberger lives in Greenwich, NY. www.davidgreenberger.com @davidbg