Stuck. Off. Transfixed. Whatever you want to call it.
My attention was unexpectedly snagged by sight of something on the kitchen side table. The red cap to a Sharpie, a permanent marker with a pale ash grey barrel. Next to it was a black-capped Sharpie.
It was as though I was see RED for the first time again. Bright, cherry red, a fascinating color that reverberated up and down my consciousness. Red as a primary hue. Red as a color with the name, “red”. Red as a sweet brightness against the grey, see how it glowed. Red as a brilliancy against the shiny darkness of black. Flick back to seeing red again, just as itself. Looking at it more closely, even though I’d not moved a bit, being swallowed up in the sleek ultra-cherry-red landscape of a fat Sharpie cap.
Remembering other similarly red things. A Twixt game with an ash-grey board, and bright red pieces and shiny black pieces. Being caught up in the patterns of game pieces, the red ones together, the formations of the black ones, how the reds and blacks interacted, how they appeared en masse against the board. How the board leapt forwards from the mixed background of the pieces. A single red piece, now one connected to its neighbors, then all the red ones again, and so one. Patterns emerging and flickering and shifting and comparing and contrasting. Lovely. Fascinating. Appreciating patterns just for their own abstract web-like qualities, then seeing them as strategems, and back again to artforms.
Other red experiences crowd back to memory. Slick new red Corvette parked across the street, all smooth curves that begged to have wax buffed on. A fresh gumball (never a perfect sphere, to my dismay). Some little girl’s red patent-leather Mary Jane shoes, perfectly matched to a summer dress with a shiny red satin sash, and little faux cherries sewn onto the collar.
Button racks at the fabric store. Oh, now there’s a great stimmy place, card after card of shiny things, lots of different colors and shapes and textures, all begging to have you pay attention to them. All pegged up on racks, inviting you to just stand there and admire them, one after the other. So few places in the world encourage such utter rapt fascination.
Buttons are fabulous things … Grandma had a tin full of buttons, gleaned from years of leftovers from making clothes, or rescued from garments before they hit the rag bag. I spend hours sorting buttons. Sorting them by size. Sorting them by color. Sorting them by plain or fancy. Sorting them by shape. Counting the various categories. Spreading categories out into mosaics. Myriads of buttons. Periodic tables of buttons. Armies of buttons lined up in marching battalions. Taxonomies of buttons. Pyramidal arrays of buttons cross-referenced by three qualities. (You want systemetizing Dr B-C, we have it all sewn up!)
I recollect where I am now. Standing in the kitchen, staring at pen caps. Has it been a few seconds, or a couple minutes, I know not. The red is lovely. It’s a joy to get lost in something like that. There never seems to be enough time any more.