Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Oracle (2003)

The Oracle stands quiescent in the display window, the plastic contours of his face bleached with light. He is always the best-dressed dummy in the plaza. Though he is mute, the Oracle speaks to my shapeless life. He is the reason why I shop here.

Today he tells me that I am lost without you. He says there are as many roads back to you as there are roads away from you. How do I interpret this? His arms remain spread, palms open in offering. I wait, for some glint of explanation.

Beside him is a graphic of a light bulb, yellow on black. There are little dashes around the top of the bulb, representing its glow. This is the Oracle's emblem of authenticity - a hieroglyph that embodies his essence. He is the man of ideas. In his ideal world, all things would be switched on, powered by truth; all of us would remain luminous, covered in nets of light.

Once the shopping crowds die down, and the sleepwalking window-gazers have shifted elsewhere, he continues his message for today. He repeats that I am lost without you. I am lost without you, you to whom I transmit my love. It's you, you are too much you. I am too much me. A double-bind. This is what I am offered.

"Can I help you, sir?" That's my signal to leave. I evade the advances of the shop assistant; the escalator hauls me away. I walk out into the release of blue sky, its fragments of cloud. The car park has no spaces. Behind me looms the sun-clad, glassy plaza. As I head for home, I begin to recite the Oracle's message aloud. I leave gaps of silence, which will later be filled by your questions.

Just as the Oracle does not need to speak in order to counsel me, you do not need to speak to question me: to ask me where I've loitered, how I've wittled away my time. The 6pm news is full of your silence; I have tapes and tapes of it. I love you as I love all silent creatures.

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