That One Time, At The Abandoned House On The Mountain.
I woke up on the roof with gastrointestinal problems. Urgent problems; the digesting of a rubix cube. Nowhere to go but down, and definitely no stai–
Why did you swallow a rubix cube?
Oh, about that. I wasn’t really digesting a rubix cube. It was just a good metaphor.
Oh. got it. And why were you on the roof?
Anyway. I went to live in the house on the mountain because I was allured by the prospect of not interacting with another human. I had some romantic ideal that I could find myself, or something like that. And it occurred to me that I had probably never gone 24 hours without seeing another person.
I also had a photography project that was about due and I was coming up short on inspiration. But really I just wanted to not see a human for a few days. To see what that feels like.
Interesting idea. I guess.
I went to the house with nothing; a backpack with a sleeping bag, some bread and peanut butter, my camera, my journal and 5 pens.
5 pens? A bit excessive no?
I like variety, alright.
The rumor was that the house had been a project for a German family. A three stack concrete monolith at the end of a weathered dirt road being reclaimed by the Australian brush. I heard they were bankrupted trying to build the driveway, but that sounds like a load of bollocks to me.
What remained was a three story structure. A cold windowless box of a downstairs living room, with sparse firepits and broken bottles. A short climb up the wall where the stairs should have been and you found yourself on a second story plateau with windows on adjacent walls. The front wall now replaced by the open air, stars, commercial jets and the cape of Northeastern Australia. Out a window and a vertical crawl had you on the roof.
As I said, I went there to find some scrap of myself. To chase some romantic ideal that had been floating around in my awareness since I first woke up to the world around the age of… I don’t know 12. 13.
I can’t say I found anything. I sat. I meditated. I tried. I probed solitude. And there were times when I fancied it, but the day was long and without others, hollow.
I spent the first day alone. I spent the first night alone, on the roof, with stars and spirits.
Then I woke up…
Ah, yes. The Rubix cube.
Yea… the Rubix Cube. Stomach pain and angry bowels and nowhere to go but down, and no stairs.
No toilet paper either, huh?
Hmm. Let’s not get into that.
I spent the second day alone. Mostly foraging for leaves that wouldn’t give me a bad rash or nerve damage. It was Australia, after all. I paced the rooms with wrenching gut pain. With nothing else to do, I tried to nap but with intermittent pain I fell into more of a daze. Stomach convulsions every hour or so. I celebrated the moments of reprieve. The dreams were strange. Often both vile, and blissful.
I hobbled home in the afternoon. The stomach pain subsiding as I walked into the housing complex. My friends were having a get together. I surprised them. I was early.
What a weird story. Is it true?
You’ll have to ask around.
Humans are people creatures.
Cherish your people.
OOLIN | Old Dingy Victorian House, San Jose, CA