Last summer, I developed a theory, and because all respectable theories have names, I named mine Cork. I wanted to explore the closest thing I know to religion: those magical moments when space and time didactically align. When the marionette strings pull. When the chessboard looms.
Here’s the simple story behind Cork. I was walking on the outskirts of Central Park with my then boyfriend, David #3. All week I had been thinking about buying a cork board so I could start organizing my thesis poems on my wall, strategizing and ordering sections. I just couldn’t find the time after work to get the stupid thing. So there we were, out on a post-pizza evening stroll, pausing to catch the sweet iambic strains of a Shakespeare performance, when what doth we spy on the bench: unused, still wrapped cork. The ideal cork. The cork I had been contemplating.
This isn’t the same as, say, needing a pen and then finding one under your chair. Cork is departure from the commonplace. It’s about the specific in the unexpected, an attention to personal detail that renders said detail as destiny. It’s also hugely about time. You can have a cork board on a bench, but in order to have Cork, you have to pass by that bench at that exact second. Cork and clock are inseparable. If I had even been a minute late, I might have ended up at Office Depot.
I think Cork has moral implications as well. There’s an ethical, karmic aspect to it, or at least that’s my thought. With my unhealthy devotion to Lost (I’ll be blogging about that tomorrow–season finale!) I think I’m mentally primed to document minutiae and its tipping power. Cork is like a cross between 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon and Kierkegaard. I sort of doubt I can prove any of this but I still have faith in the findings. And I think, especially in New York City, that we anesthetize ourselves to survive and coexist in kindness. The constant sensory overload forces us to shut down and suspend reflection, or we stress and snap–but what happens when we DO pay attention to the details, when we decide to play Sylvia Brown and investigate coincidence?
In Sophie’s Choice, William Styron struggles to reconcile time relation, the idea that one person could be having sex or making a sandwich while another person, miles away, is undergoing Nazi torture. Here’s what Styron quotes of George Steiner:
“The two orders of simultaneous experience are so different, so irreconcilable to any common norm of human values, their coexistence is so hideous a paradox–Treblinka is both because some men have built it and almost all other men let it be–that I puzzle over time. Are there, as science fiction and Gnostic speculation imply, different species of time in the same world, ‘good time’ and enveloping folds of inhuman time, in which men fall into the slow hands of damnation?”
I suspect Cork is about this, too.
Is time linear? Are some minutes more moral than others? I don’t know. I’m not sure the creators of Lost know, either. But I think about this a lot.
I’ll be referencing Cork in my blog. Have you had any unexplainable coincidences?