In death as in life, we are the pavement-strollers, the window-shoppers, the bored, bunion-hobbled boulevardieres. We’re there waiting for something—anything—to happen. So we can be photographed, or filmed, or videoed, a blackcloth of hysterectomies, in front of which events can be played out again, yet never exhausted. History is never in the round—it’s always on a stage; and while the curtain may be death, why is it then that so many scrutinising eyes stud the proscenium, peering into the dimness of the stalls? Are they tragic or comedic masks—or not masks at all?
I was hungover and jittery in St Louis, and there was a blizzard raging across the Midwest. As I looked at the departures board in the airport it riffled into DELAYED, DELAYED, DELAYED … the only exception being the New York flight: my own. Cursing this glitch that was sending me to my doom, I tramped down the companionway, reflecting ruefully on how my last moments on earth were to be spent noting, yet again, the bizarre habit air transport infrastructure designers have of fitting odd vertical surfaces with carpet.