rome & istanbul//im having a bit of a problem visiting touristed out ancient and religious sites. specifically, the coliseum and the blue mosque. theres problems on both ends, i think, so lets just go chronologically:
why the fuck are people going to these places? why the fuck am i going to these places? its really weird. im looking at a building. its a very cool building. and im looking at it. im soaking it in. and then its over...and thats really all there is. time moves on. but it needs to be more, it needs to be important, to last, and so the tours, the headphones, the lollipop signs guiding guests, the information, the history, the postcards, the tiny models and ashtrays, and then, the pictures, the pictures, the pictures. what is this? this plastered smile in front of the -it- is not so beautiful as the living smile next to you, holding the photos in hand, is it? why that same smile? i stopped letting people look at the camera long ago; i want the interesting pose, the unexpected expression, the loving nuance. but a smile in front of the coliseum is nothing…so soulless it seems! so uninspired! so done. and worse still the photos of just things. why are these pictures being taken? no one will like looking at them, will they? why a picture of every single thing? every single thing?
it feels to me so sad, so lonely, that life seems so empty and we need these photos to fill it up. look, look, i was here, i did this, i saw this, i did something. i have done something. my life has meaning. i am not this empty coincidence of light and sound hurtling through vast space for a infinitesimal moment. i am this, i was here. i did this.
and yeah, im not taking pictures, but im not letting myself off of the above hook. im traveling the world right now, and why? is my life so desperately empty and needing?
following this thread wont be pretty. so lets move onto the blue mosque, shall we?
whey the fuck are people letting people into these places? i like mecca. i like it that i cannot go to mecca unless i mean it. and thats what was killing me at the blue mosque, for there, just over this cordon, are people meaning it, on their knees, meaning it, filling up and emptying out, breathing, crying, needing this, loving this. this place is for them. and im standing there, my sandals in a fucking plastic bag in my hand, looking at the incredible dome, and then just looking at these people right in the middle of a most intimate sacred moment. and this is not a im-a-westerner-not-a-muslim thing, im certainly going to feel the same way next ride when i visit the vatican friday. this is a i-am-not-here-for-the-right-reason thing. oh the people that talk too loud in quiet jazz clubs, they are not there for the right reason...and it hurts, it hurts me when i am nearby and trying to listen to god on stage in this little jazz club, and now here i am just looking at someone while they are talking to god. im just looking at them.
now i work through this, i can see the god in all the tourists around me, and rah rah rah god in my own self scorn. and the god in my plastic shoe bag. and im having a great time, and in the end what more can i ask for, my life is empty, every life is empty, and i can fill it as i may and thats the life. i get moments of transcendent brilliance, suddenly all the filters gone and im listing to the man in the glass box intone the koran over a cheap microphone so his voice sounds like robotogod, and i love it. but i like the dream of mecca better, what i imagine it must look like, and the just as true god i see when im sitting at home, eating an apple, wondering what mecca must feel like, and suddenly i remember to taste, right there at home and not so many miles away and empty.