Politics Magazine

The Distortion of Absence

Posted on the 17 August 2018 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

I’m sure it’s happened to you, too.After some time away, you return to somewhere familiar.For some reason this doesn’t seem to apply to places you spend only a little time—for example, the cabin where I tend to go on vacation every year.Rather, it impacts quotidian spaces, the places you see nearly every day.Returning after an absence, the place looks strange, as if you’d forgotten what it was really like.A fairly common example is a college dorm room.When you return to it after, say, the winter holiday, it looks not quite how you remembered it.It’s a little smaller or larger than you recalled, or you didn’t remember that the floor tiles were that color.Within a day or so the feeling disappears and you accept the “new normal.”

The strange, or unfamiliar, is the source of many monsters.Freud famously phrased the uncanny as “unheimlich,” un-home-like.It is close to what you expected, but not exactly.The uncanny valley is that place where things are about right, but slightly off.It generates a creepy feeling, as if reality is being distorted.On a business trip to Boston a few years back I visited Boston University School of Theology, a place where I spent over two years in my twenties.745 Commonwealth Avenue hadn’t been renovated, but I stepped inside and was stunned by how wide the hall was.In my mind it had become far narrower.It was downright disturbing, as if I’d walked into somebody else’s past.It made me wonder—is any of this really real?Or more frighteningly—is my memory that fragile?

The Distortion of Absence

I recently spent a day working in the New York office.While the office itself seemed the same, the city did not.Emerging from the Port Authority Bus Terminal I knew exactly where I was.Or did I?I’d walked roughly the same route daily for almost five years, and two years before that a similar track.It was as if the bus had exited the Lincoln Tunnel into an alternate Manhattan.Unheimlich.I’ve returned to many places after being away for awhile and this distortion of absence always creeps me out.Can my memory be that faulty or is all of this an illusion?The gap between present reality and remembered reality provides crevices into which monsters crawl, waiting.By the time I reached the block of my office the feeling had gone away.But somehow, the monsters remained.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Creative Writing Craft Talk & Workshop

    Dear friends, family, and the twelve people that follow this blog:Hark! Mo Duffy Cobb is returning to the classroom this Fall, both at Holland College to teach ... Read more

    The 20 September 2018 by   Moduffycobb
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Right-Wing Christian Support for Kavanaugh & Dismissal of Male Violence Towards...

    Right-Wing Christian Support Kavanaugh Dismissal Male Violence Towards Women: Fight Keep Patria Potestas Foundation "Christian" Culture

    Merriam-Webster DictionaryDavid Badash, "'Not Relevant': Franklin Graham Says Alleged Kavanaugh Assault Just Something 'He Did as a Teenager'":In his CBN... Read more

    The 20 September 2018 by   William Lindsey
    LGBTQ, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Foundation and Extension in Your Yoga Poses

    Foundation Extension Your Yoga Poses

    by Nina"Watch your base; be attentive to the portion nearest the floor." — BKS IyengarBecause Baxter will be discussing axial extension of the spine (aka... Read more

    The 20 September 2018 by   Ninazolotow
    FITNESS, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING
  • Tyler Rich EP Review

    Tyler Rich has come a long way from Yuba City, CA to Nashville, TN and he's put in a lot of work to get to release his debut EP with Valory Music and Big... Read more

    The 20 September 2018 by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Creationist Textbook is Rubbish, Says Creationist Study

    Creationist Textbook Rubbish, Says Study

    I often complain about creationists, and about as equally often I hear back "why bother with them". Well, I bother because they're incredibly harmful to... Read more

    The 20 September 2018 by   Reprieve
    BIOLOGY, SCIENCE
  • 1930s Fashion – Fall Fashion Trends in 1931

    1930s Fashion Fall Trends 1931

    A Slender Silhouette for 1930s Autumn Fashion Cosy and smart for Fall in 1931. A Black woolen suit, worn over a cream blouse. The typical foundation wear was th... Read more

    The 20 September 2018 by   Glamourdaze
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • Cooking Keto with Dr. Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy

    Cooking Keto with Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy

    The first episode of season 2 with Cooking Keto with Kristie is finally here! In this episode, Kristie invites Dr. Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy to join her in the kitche... Read more

    The 20 September 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE