Monday, 10 March 2014
PERCEPTIONS AND PROJECTIONS DEPT - HOW THINGS ARE, OR HOW THINGS SEEM TO BE?
This is going to be a difficult one to express because it's kind of a nebulous concept, but I'm willing to give it a go if you are. Ready? Do houses, neighbourhoods and places have a particular 'ambiance' all their own, or does it all depend on the 'eye of the beholder'?
Oh dear, lost your interest already? I'll persevere. When I was about 13, the area I lived in had a particular 'feel' about it. When I moved house in 1972, aged 13 and a half, that 'atmosphere', 'feeling', 'mood' - call it what you will - continued in my new home and street, and I've wondered over the years whether that was something to do with both houses sitting atop a hill.
You see, when I'd come out of either of those houses, I'd stand at the top of a hill and view the horizon in the distance, giving me a feeling of being 'master of all I surveyed'. As I walked down (literally) either of those streets, the horizon became less visible on the descent, and it's only natural to wonder if my similar experiences of both places is what resulted in my parallel perceptions of them.
Or was it nothing to do with that? Was it just where I was 'at' in my head at that particular time in my life, and was it me projecting my own subjective perceptions onto both neighbourhoods that accounts for how I regarded them at the time, rather than how they objectively were? In short, was it how I imagined them rather than how they really were that determined my perceptions?
Had I lived in either of those houses at different times in my life than when I did, perhaps I'd have 'sensed' and responded to those surroundings in another way; perhaps the ambiance, as it appeared to me, would have been different at 19 than it was at 13, who knows?
Perhaps we just 'see', 'sense', 'feel', 'experience', etc., things in particular ways at different times in our lives, irrespective of how things happen to be. Could it be that we project our own sense of a place onto it, rather than respond to how that place actually is? All I know is that, these days, whenever I walk down either of the two streets mentioned, although I can remember how things 'used to be', I'm all too painfully aware that they seem different somehow, in ways that I can't fully articulate.
Of course, other contributory factors must be considered, one being that at the foot of the first hill was a school I attended as a boy in the 1960s. At that time, WHAM! comic was reprinting the adventures of The FANTASTIC FOUR, and on winter afternoons after school I would see the building interiors lit up in the darkness as the cleaners set about their business.
From the top of the second hill (but farther away) I could see another school of a similar design, which, when viewed in the same wintry conditions, reminded me of the school in my previous neighbourhood. At the time (early '70s), The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL was reprinting those same FF tales, so perhaps the 'deja- vu' type sensation created in my subconscious can hardly be considered surprising. Then again, maybe not.
When we look back on our childhoods much later in life, summers always seem to have been longer, skies bluer, winters whiter, Christmases snowier, etc. - but were they? Or is it simply the case that's how we viewed things at the time (or imagine them later), rather they actually were? Time changes all things, alas, but oft-times far too quickly.
Anyone got any thoughts on the matter? (Presuming, of course, that I managed to express my thoughts in any way resembling a coherent one.)
Posted by Kid at Monday, March 10, 2014