written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My View

I've done some biking and walking and train riding around Dallas, but for some reason hardly ever with my camera. Meandering through pretty neighborhoods and coming across parks, empty but no less inviting, I never quite felt as if this were a place I was to get comfortable with if only for a month. For the most part, in my head, I have spent my time here like one might amble away a couple days of an extended layover trapped in the inconsequential hospitality districts surrounding an airport. Content with the amenities, but unconvinced that this in itself is apart of the journey. No one really relishes there idle time in places of transition, besides those more connected to the present than myself. And I suspect this has little to do with the immediate environment being inherently dismissive, and more to do with the person being in a state of dismissive-ness.

My time spent here in the pretty college neighborhood of Highland Park, Dallas I have spent convincing myself of my rapidly approaching departure from it. I have frequented a coffee shop over and over, yet still refused the repeated buyer’s punch card on the grounds that “I won‘t be here long enough to get the free coffee.” I haven’t really tried to make friends with my work acquaintances at the bookstore telling myself time would be better spent studying Chinese or reading a book about China or riding the train to no particular place and walking around with no particular intention, as if just to exercise the mentality of traveling. All together not a bad way to pass the days and I have really enjoyed it, despite my eagerness to get on with my adventure. And perhaps a time of social distance was called for before moving to China, like weaning me from the dependency of easy communication.

The world outside my immediate window is loud with traffic and people talking underneath the trees, the occasional church bell and stadium noise, but I feel very quiet here. I get lost on the freeways and I don’t know how to get to places that everyone else is familiar with, like the mall and Target. The office parks and shopping plazas are hazily set off by the bright blueness of the central Texas sky as if everything had the reflected waviness of deck furniture by a pool. On my rides on the bike path from Highland Park to the Downtown, the trail skirts the backsides of the office parks, trendy shopping districts, and new fangled sky rises whose careful facades face the freeway. The scenery passes like weightless projection on a white flimsy screen. Everything I ever wanted to take a picture of, but didn’t, were those shots that hint at the traces of people in places where people are supposed to be but aren’t--the empty overly lit parking garage, the single office whose lights left on floating squarely in a wall of black windows reflecting only the orange lamppost light outside, empty rappelling rafters left by window washers on the backside of a mini-skyscraper. But if such shots, if ever taken, were to say anything about human beings, the most they would say would be about their photographer, whose eyes were excited by temporary emptiness and quiet and who found themselves enticed to be on the backsides of things, in the after hours, before they lit up again. And of course those shots that I didn’t take might reflect the leisureliness of this transition, the idle transiency that I feel here.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson