A picture postcard blue sky. The sun is one big infectious smile. Heavy traffic on the dual carriageway. A BMC ambulance doodles along in the slow lane comfortably observing the speed limit. The ambulance crew are in a relaxed mood, the shift over for the day. ‘Better get our skates on, Bert’, the man in the passenger seat says. Bert nods and presses the switch to set the blue lights flashing and the siren ringing, the old two-tone dee-dah that existed before the emergency services decided to go all American. Bert pulls out into the fast lane and puts his foot down as the other cars slow and filter left to let the drama pass. The 1974 FA Cup Final, Liverpool vs Newcastle is due to kick off in twenty-five minutes and Bert’s wife has put a chicken in the oven.
A plan can be comforting. Components sketched with black tipped arrows pointing to the place where it yearns to go. The whole is bewildering so you take it one piece at a time until the design starts to fall into place. The toxic glue sticks to your fingers. The whorls of your fingerprints get etched into the congeal of peel. Scaled down paint pots set out on the table, the oddly satisfying sensation of prising the lid with the tip of a negative drive screwdriver.
Paint and glue, open a window!
You follow the puzzle. Fatal to panic, if you bypass any stage without maximum concentration, try to speed beyond being in the moment you’re sure to have a botched job on your hands.
The days do not come in a cellophane wrapped box with a folded insert of paper. No ready made sketch to follow.
Maybe we should sit round the table and think about this for a while.
The mannequin wears a Virgin Airlines air hostess uniform with a badge depicting a single feathered wing and heavy buttons that may well be genuine brass. There’s already a certain museum credibility surrounding the uniform. The mannequin doesn’t have a head.
On the other side of the room, a heater/cooler/evaporator contraption that has a vent and cylindrical body suggestive of a Dalek.
A white carpet with several inches of pile and Venetian blinds – also white. The windows are long slots and the glass is like water in a river. There is further greenery outside so it is difficult to tell where outside begins or ends.
A bearded man sits in a wicker bucket chair watching a round TV like an astronaut’s helmet. He leans forward, props his head with his hands in the manner of the thinker.
Now to sit for a while, gaze out of these long windows.
You, the observer, have no idea what he’s thinking. He could be planning dinner or murder.
Imagine no-one could interrupt you again.
That you could go on sitting by these long windows following your own thoughts forever.