Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crossed Trajectories

Deborah Bleich was filing a new rental contract in her home office in Chicago when she decided to clean out a few older files. Among the old contracts and receipts was an invoice dated January 15, 1990. It was from Convergence Gallery, San Francisco. She now remembered purchasing an etching by Japanese-American artist M. Mori Proschan. Although it was after 10 p.m., Deborah's first impulse was to email her boyfriend Paul Merideth. She discovered she had purchased the etching from one Bennie Merideth, whom she had met--now she realizes she had re-met him-- just a few months ago when he and his wife San visited Bennie's cousin Paul in Chicago.

During that visit in June, while awaiting a concert at Millennium Park, in conversation with San, Deborah had learned that she had lived on the same street as Bennie and San had--Heather Avenue, a very small street in the Laurel Heights neighborhood of San Francisco--albeit at slightly different times. Other odd near-misses unfolded: Deborah grew up in Albuquerque, where Paul's mom had lived for a few years, albeit during different years. After leaving San Francisco, Deborah moved back to Albuquerque, a little before Bennie and San's offspring moved to Albuquerque.

Even though Deborah had asked me, on that early summer evening, the location of our former gallery in San Francisco and I had said "1738 Union--between Gough and Octavia," Deborah didn't actually realize she had made her etching purchase from our gallery until last night when she was cleaning out her file folders. And what she doesn't know yet, until I email her, is that she made that purchase on our son Oakley's first birthday.

The picture above is of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, popularly known as The Bean, the dazzling mirrored sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park. People walk into Cloud Gate, look up and see themselves coming and going, all over the place, at different sizes and from different perspectives. At some points in Cloud Gate, they loom large. At other points, they disappear into the looking glass. Observe the image closely, or enlarge it, and you'll see several elongated reddish areas that repeat themselves, at one point converging into a kind of V, and on and on, until they too disappear. Those reddish areas are Bennie's shirt. And I am that smaller dark area beside him, traveling along for the ride, right up to the vanishing point.

Paul and Deborah are far, far out beyond the photo's frame. They are going about their workaday lives in downtown Chicago, anticipating meeting Bennie and San later that evening in Millennium Park. They'll listen to Mendelssohn in the dreamscape of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Before the concert begins, while watching the other concert-goers wander into the dreamscape, walk down the aisles, and find their seats, Bennie and San, and Paul and Deborah will get to know each other by talking about the times their paths almost crossed.


Oakley said...

Well, that is quite interesting. I wonder--does this qualify for synchronicity or not?

Deb said...

San, I've never blogged before! : ( ... sad I know. Please don't tell anyone. : ) This brings on new beginnings for marks the day that I'm a newbie blogger. Joy to blogging! Blog on! Blogs to the world! I think the next time I have a toast with Paul, we'll clink glasses and I"ll say "blogs." Then I'll say "blog me baby, right here and right now!" : )

Anonymous said...

The artist's (Kapoor) name for our beloved "bean" is CLOUD GATE, not just "cloud."

Kapoor envisioned it serving as a gate into the city, reflecting the sky.

We Chicagoans took about 5 minutes to christen it the BEAN and the name stuck.

San said...

A., thanks for reminding me the name of Kapoor's sculpture is "Cloud Gate." I edited my post accordingly.

b2 said...

Definitely qualifies for six or fewer degrees of separation!

Lee said...

San, I'd seen this image before in a picture on another blog but didn't know where it came from. Yours is better than the one I originally saw. Thank you for writing about it. Now I have another reason to hope to visit Chicago someday. (g)