08 December 2011

There's an electrical outlet next to my kitchen table, directly underneath my large and glorious black panthers painting (not to be confused with these Black Panthers - the ones in my kitchen are of the feline variety). Outlets are usually close to the floor, out of sight. You don't see them, and more importantly, they don't see you. See, I do a lot of sitting at my kitchen table, facing that wall. That's where I study, where I page through Harper's while I drink my home-made sludgey coffee on the weekend, where I eat my Domino's pizza while catching up on Parks and Rec, where I write words in my notebook and type them on my laptop. I, like many people, look off into some distance in search of words, or of an understanding of some words that we've read, or heard spoken to us. My eyes settle on things, things that come in between them and the horizon where understanding is to be found. My eyes settle on The Outlet.

The Outlet, as you can see, has all the basics required to be anthropomorphised into a face: two slits for eyes and a hole for a mouth; no nose required. It's not just any old face, though. It has a mood. A feeling. It speaks, this face. It's shocked and horrified. Disappointed, repulsed. This is not the face you want to be staring at you when you seek understanding. It is not an affirming face.

It reminds me of Twin Peaks, when Josie becomes trapped in the drawer knob of a wooden nightstand next to the bed where she has just shot and killed herself. It's a disturbing image. BOB is there and presumably he has something to do with Josie's being trapped in the wood. Wood/the woods are a big theme in Twin Peaks; the Log Lady wasn't crazy - her husband, who died in a fire on their wedding night, was trapped in the log she carried around, and he was able to communicate with her.

"Fear and love open the doors," (the doors to the white and the black lodges) Major Briggs says in one of the last episodes. But is it fear that opens the black lodge and love, the white? Or is it fear AND love? The acknowledgment, the owning, even, of the fear involved in loving and being loved? Josie had both, but her fear was stronger. And I suppose, hence her being trapped.

When I was a kid, we had fake wood paneling in many rooms in our house. Very seventies. The paneling mimicked the look of real wood down to the knots. Those panels were just lousy with the appearance of the cross-sections of knots. Those knots, I used to think, looked like monster faces. No, they didn't just look like monster faces, they were monsters. In the wood. I was sure of it. Faces all jaggedy, yet melty, yet woody. Melting, jagged, wooden monster faces. I hated being alone in the bathroom, behind closed doors, with these wood monsters. I don't recall when I got past it, when I was able to look at those knots and not think they were going to possess me. This, too comes to mind when faced with The Outlet. Can't sleep, The Outlet's gonna get me! And then I watch an Alec Baldwin or Christopher Walken sketch from SNL, and everything is fine.

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