Notes from the day

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Water the temperature of blood. “It’s like soup.” I imagine a boat doing circles on water that from the air is a bright crystal. In the year 2017, you can speak about things that are far away as if they are immediate.

The serial killer once rented a home in Toronto. He asked to borrow a spade so that he could dig a patch of potatoes. When the inspector from Philadelphia learned this he had the patch dug out. The girl’s bodies were found only a few feet from the surface.

But there is some uncertainty—the children were killed in a fire or through suffocation. This morning that seemed profound to me, I think because on the podcast it was worded as if it were a proposal, as if it was left unsigned and even the killer didn’t know. He was executed either by hanging or from being buried alive. They were so afraid that he would escape they sealed his coffin with cement.

It occurs to me now that I didn’t tell Lindsay that we drove on the 407. The other highways, going north, south, east, and west, were all jammed. An electronic lightboard announced that four lanes of a highway—that was all of them—were blocked.

On the 407 we moved comfortably at speeds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour. The country bloomed alongside us, rising and falling in ragged meadows. Now that they can no longer spray pesticides, weeds have taken hold of the underpasses, indestructible flowers that spread via underground rhizomes, and rushes, and tall grasses. I wanted to pull over and sit quiet and still amongst the long banks of concrete.

There’s an essay there—I haven’t gone far beyond the pitch, which is that we are attracted to the aesthetics of the apocalypse because we already built it, that the infrastructure that supports the free and fast circulation of cars in the suburbs and countryside is already post-human. It doesn’t take much work to imagine a land emptied of people when you are screaming by monolithic concrete and lonely greenery at speeds that in the nineteenth century it was imagined would make onlookers and passengers lose their minds (when speaking of proposed train lines). Another version of this essay explains that this is the appeal of the television show Adventure Time—it presents a vision of the apocalypse that is somehow more habitable than the suburbs we currently live in, because it emphasizes friendship, love, and connection in an emptied suburban or post-urban landscape that is both familiar and hostile to those values.

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