Friday, May 23, 2008

on tactile memory

Bending over to open a cabinet and retrieve dinner for my dog, I noticed the handle to the cabinet door. It's a nasty bit of overdetailed poorly cast pot metal that is so blurry and undefined that at times I wonder if they're really there, or just memories of real hardware in some other, more commodious kitchen. They are also just a little bit sticky, but this might just be from Herbie trying to lick his way through the cabinet door.

I grab onto these handles at least twice a day. I remember the feel of them in my hand (lumpy and uncomfortable) and could probably sketch a fair reproduction of one right now if pressed to do it. And yet I cannot for the life of me remember their counterpoints from any other place I have lived. I can't remember the kitchen hardware in my previous homes in Houston, New York, or San Francisco. I can't remember the pulls in the place I shared with Katy in Paris, the apartment where I proposed three years ago. I can't even remember the handles I would grab at my childhood home, at which time they must have been eye-height. All I can do in my memory is graft the current hardware onto the kitchens of years past, a typologically correct but thematically aberrant detail that throws everything else in the remembered scene into question.

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