Sunday, October 12, 2008

roadside time warps

In a similar way buildings can speak to us and take on whatever strange significance we attach to them. This unspeakably bland commercial building in Tustin gradually claimed my attention whenever I rode by it on my bicycle. It was apparently some kind of split-level, drive-through jewelry store in the late 50's-early 60's suburban bourgeois style. And although it was on the one hand completely boring and unworthy of my attention, something about it intrigued me; it emanated a mysterious significance. I imagined an overbearingly strange, reclusive jeweler, part alchemist, who lived in the upstairs quarters and went downstairs every day to cut diamonds and dispense advice to anyone who entered his store. I was also convinced that the building existed in a time warp, that it really was an earlier decade inside the walls of that building. The jeweler in my head (as I never did see any actual human enter or leave the building) was strongly inspired by the character of Max Kelada from the Somerset Maugham short story "Mr. Know-All". I'm not even sure why I know that story, except that I think I saw a black & white film adaptation on television late one evening, and like all great old black & white films, I'm not sure if I actually saw it or merely imagined it.


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