Dérive

“In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. Chance is a less important factor in this activity than one might think: from a dérive point of view cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.”

We have gotten so bored in the city. All of the cafes and bars, the galleries, the venues, the clubs; so many things remind us ceaselessly of our loss. There is no world for us here. The avenues are so broad to prevent running into someone you don’t yet know, to make easier ignoring those you once did. The art is made of bronze and concrete; not even our hammers or spray paint can bear to make the spectacle more interesting. The shows—punk, dance, pop—are worth the free entry to stand around smoking on someone else’s porch if our need for nostalgia is satisfied. I hope they play some of their older stuff.

In the face of all of this, the only thing that remains is to wander—to drift.

Roving in cabals of 2 or 3, or sometimes in bands of 8 or 9, we follow the contours of a postmodern city. Indeed, Atlanta has no center. Marshalling our dread across intersections, and stumbling through privately-owned parks and playgrounds, we occupy a zone of transition.

Everything is lost but our presence.

Then something happens.
Tables are overturned, streets are barricaded. The sound of glass is quickly followed by howls of laughter and the quick pitter-patter of worn down sneaker soles. We dip through an alley and find a box of empty wine bottles. The dull red of the bricks are illuminated for that split second as the light reflects off the glass bottles twirling end-over-end before the crash.

And then it’s gone.

“But the dérive includes both this letting-go and its necessary contradiction: the domination of psychogeographical variations by the knowledge and calculation of their possibilities.”

We catch our breath and looks at each other warmly before we feel it wash over us again: we are back on the sidewalks, two abreast. The Bank of America tower orients us back east and we are home in only a few minutes. The conversation is awkward for these last few minutes as everyone is trying to piece together what just happened.

“That was a lot of fun.”
“Absolutely. We should do that again soon.”

As if there is anything else.

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This entry was published on April 3, 2012 at 4:13 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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