You know how when you drop the ball it bounces once, fairly high, then a little lower, then lower, until it is doing quick little bounces just off the ground? That’s how minutes before class work and today once again they were in the final spastic bounces as I burst out of the library gripping “The Subject of Reading and The Colonial Unconscious: Countertransference in J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians.” Even the title exhausts me.
It was sunny, of course, because it is always sunny during the day, at least in space, but it was cloudy here on Earth, beneath the vapor, and chilly with talk of much needed rain coming later to break the bizarre February spring we just completed. I sat on a little wall near a huge, hulking silver sculpture called “Three Interlocking Rings.” I read:
“Thus, the other, rendered infinitely inaccessible, is transfigured into a void in which the colonial sovereign subject speaks to himself instead of speaking to the other (natives) and in which the sovereign subject of the state speaks of the Other (the unconscious desires of the empire) instead of speaking for the other (the desires of natives).”
Sigh. Let me try that again. “Rendered infinitely accessible?” Scrunch. Scratch. Think damn you, old brain.
I looked up at the big hulking three interlocking rings: the other inside the other inside the other, one the empire, one the natives, one the desires of the natives. I looked down at the pool of blue squares around the base of the sculpture. Still slightly murky.
Just then a blur in the distance. I glance up at something coming on fast, like a dog but more like a werewolf, streaking from the long row of sycamores onto campus, a rustle and then a huge deer explodes out across the path into the ivy, dips towards the creek but leaps across, bounding across the large meadow, people stopping, staring, shouting.
A second rustle, a second deer exploding from the bush, this one slightly smaller, bouncier, into the ivy, across the creek, bouncing forward on the meadow, bouncing diagonal, Mills Hall to their right, Tea Shop to their left, across the meadow, through the trees, gone.
I collected my jaw, grabbed my essay and scurried on the winding black path to class. I burst into the room and told the small group of classmates what I’d seen. One worried, “Why were they out in daylight?”
I agreed that was a problem but then I thought: that was cool.
Turns out we’re discussing that essay next class.