Thursday, August 21, 2014


Have you ever wondered where has everyone gone or found yourself waking up into what seems like an episode of The Twilight Zone, say "The After Hours" where the character gets off on the wrong, non-existent floor of the department store where the mannequins all come to life, only to discover that she herself is a mannequin on the lam. Unheimlichkeit is the feeling of estrangement or uncanniness referred to by both Heidegger and Freud and it literally means not feeling at home. You don’t have to be a character out of an episode of The Twilight Zone to feel it. Simply return to a favorite spot, say a small town in Vermont where you once vacationed on fall weekends when the kids were little or one of those old-fashioned railroad car diners, (there’s actually one called the Chelsea Royal in Brattleboro Vermont) and say you walk in to find a whole new cast of characters, say an upscale Relais and Chateau as opposed to the simple inn with the friendly room clerk with the green visor who once greeted you. Say the cozy little restaurant has been turned into an expensive outpost of some exotic new cuisine whose portions are so refined and microscopic that they’re lost in a sea of white china. Or let’s say you return to the 50th high school reunion and you don’t recognize anyone, not even the girl or boyfriend, who sheepishly tugs at your sleeve, trepidatiously enunciating your name. Is this the creature you once undressed or undressed in front of? The house where you literally or figuratively grew up may still be standing, but it’s occupied by strangers. That old doorman in your parents apartment building is long dead and the new man blocks your way as you attempt to return to the past.

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