I opened my eyes this morning and thought about these photos immediately. Something bad happened to the Sun. November 2011.
My grandmother’s birthday. I multi-exposed against some ancient snaps from over two years ago; didn’t realize that until I scanned the negatives. This unpredictable nature of film is unnerving and haunting at the same time – especially when you’re nearly out of film and dig out some really old rolls.
Księże Małe, 2013/09/15. Random fires are one of our very few entertainments.
…are people who read my message and don’t bother to reply. Even though it’s a question with a one-word reply that’s a no-brainer. Even though they know I know they read the message (thanks to the obnoxious read reports Facebook and iMessage provide).
What’s wrong with you, people?
My bike is my independence. It’s the freedom and the pleasure of going wherever I please; to ride like mad across the town and then sit by the quay and watch a lonely sailboat until I’m frozen to the bone by the chilling wind.
My bike has two lights, white and red. I don’t know any better way to celebrate The Independence Day than this.
This one would be a plain boring snapshot if it wasn’t a tragic song reference. Someone once sang about the ninth floor only to jump to his death soon afterwards.
When I first moved to Wrocław, back in 2004, I lived on the last floor of one of those blocks in the so-called “bedroom districts” in the west of the city. I had some serious depressive episodes back then; I used to sit on the windowsill for hours simply because depressed, suicidal people did so in movies. I remember I almost fell out once; that was the tipping point when I realized that even though my mind is clouded by dense, dark fog, a will to live is not something that dies easily.
I can’t stand sloppiness from people who call themselves professionals. Consider these:
- A proofreader who lets mistakes slip even though the spellchecker underlines them.
- A candidate for a frontend developer job whose CV is a design disaster: mixed fonts, wrong punctuation, etc.
- Another candidate for the same job who can’t even spell the names of the technologies he claims to know.
Am I setting the bar too high?
Well, shit. Someone up there actually listened to my complaints that life has been flying by way too fast recently. I just lost my 5th gear.
I had a minor bike accident today; my bike’s front wheel caught on the tram rail and caused the entire [Kosma+bike] assembly to wobble uncontrollably for a split second before becoming a live payload catapult.
Here’s how it feels. The only reason I’m describing this is because as long as I’m focused on writing, I’m not focused on the fact that my left arm will be pretty much out of order for at least two weeks.
The moment you lose control of your bike, you know it. There’s a short struggle where you try to stabilize it – before jumping off. Here’s the first tip: a controlled fall is always better than an uncontrolled one. Even if it involves jumping off a vehicle rolling down the street at 20km/h.
So you jump. There’s a short flight which I remember quite clearly; the sight of the road inevitably approaching at a weird angle. At that point, somewhere around hitting the ground, a thought came: so WHAT NOW? Well, there’s the second tip: don’t fight. If you come rolling, curl up in a ball; if you start sliding (like I did), just slide. If you try to lessen the impact damage by shielding yourself with your hands, you’ll break them, so just don’t.
You came to the stop. Congratulations! My first reflex was to pull the bike off the street. Tip no. 3: don’t do it because if you do, the witnesses will drive away and you’ll have no one to help you in case something bad just happened. And you don’t know what happened yet since you’re on a gigantic adrenaline rush. You could as well have a broken limb or an internal hemorrhage and not have a clue. If I didn’t pull the bike off the street, I’d be basically blocking half of the intersection. This would be bad for all the people rushing somewhere, but – as I discovered at that instant – rushing wasn’t the best idea in the first place. Bad for them, good for me – at least I’d get some help.
So, here’s the moment when your consciousness starts to slowly process what just happened. You were probably rushing to some meeting, event or work – except now you’re all dirty, your entire body aches like hell, you’re sitting in on the curb in the middle of an intersection – and your bike is broken. You’re amazed by the lack of reaction: people slow down and continue on; no one stops to ask if anything’s wrong. You absentmindedly text someone to let them know you won’t be coming to an appointment because, well.. you had a bit of an accident.
A few minutes pass. As you regain your calm, you look at your bag and realize it’s all dirty because you slid on it – and then you realize your entire digital life was inside. Tablet, phone, camera – you turn them on one by one, finding it a miracle they all survived the fall much better than you did.
You muster up enough strength to pull yourself and the bike to a safer place and start counting the losses. Missed appointment. Ruined day. A rather hard-to-find part of the gear mechanism shattered in pieces. Clothes & bag dirty. Some blood on your face… oh well. You reach for your iPhone, thinking of using it as a mirror… and only then, when you twist your left arm in an awkward way, you cringe in pain as you realize just how far your muscles got stretched in the accident. You lift your left hand in the same gesture you use to grab the handlebar; the resulting pain is so bad you instinctively tighten all your muscles, making it even worse. You self-diagnose the obvious: bones intact, muscles stretched way too far.
That’s the point where you just resign. You catch the tram back home. Whatever you were rushing to get to in time doesn’t matter anymore; all you long for now is the comfort of your own home and a cup of tea.
And that’s it. It may seem like nothing; give or take two or three weeks and I’ll probably be fine. At the same time, life just got so much harder: even typing this is an effort for I can’t quite find a comfortable position. Thankfully, the wrists took no damage, but there’s little comfort in this if you don’t have any lifting force to get them to where you want them to be. Forget violin and piano; forget Quake and Starcraft. It’s not the kind of accident that will keep me from coding, but it’s going be much less enjoyable.
Until I order a replacement part my bike’s 5th gear won’t work. Sadly, there’s no replacement part to lift me from the 2nd gear feeling I have right now.
No bike for me for at least a month. The irony is that I had the accident four days before the first snowfall; I was planning to replace the tires for the spiked ones around now.
Life’s so slow now it’s boring. Guess I got what I wanted.
I just had an enlightenment that’s so important it’s already hanging above my desk – and I’m replicating it here lest I forget:
Creation happens offline.
It came in a flash in the middle of the night, after I turned all my computers off and was drawing something in my sketchbook. I realized every single creative endeavor I take upon needs no internet access to complete. Be it playing music, drawing, coding, editing photos, et cetera – the creative phase happens in a state of isolation from the world and even if there’s an upload phase, that’s just the cherry on the top of the cake.
This inevitably means I’ll soon start some kind of “work offline” experiment. It will end abruptly after three to five days as my lolcat addiction will kick in, but three attempts later it will actually work – albeit in a much different form than I’d ever expected.
PS. We are shockingly good at rationalizing our addictions. Until this day I was quite convinced I actually needed internet access to work – while, in fact, it’s the opposite.