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Robert Delaunay: La ville no. 2 (1910–11)
"I leave muddy footprints wherever I walk."

The Grand Refurbish has resolved itself into two contiguous rooms. The upstairs will be complete later this morning, save for a few what might be called odds and ends but which I suspect some of which will very likely become Odds&Infinities, as we'll likely never fully resolve them. I've got that rebuilt door with the odd latch inset which could use some additional carving out but seems too thin for chisel work. The Muse's desk, the base of which I broke when disassembling it and needs rebuilt, blocks reinhabiting that whole room and threatens to become an infinity of its own. Our Carpenter Joel breaks new ground but leaves a few small relatively insignificant undone bits in his wake. Nothing huge or noteworthy, small infinities which don't threaten to break anything or anybody, but still sort of wear on me.

My life includes many, many Odds&Infinities.
Some of these infinities amount to tiny irresolutions, like missing punctuation, while others constitute huge deals, infinities truly bottomless and vast. For most, gratefully, I manage to maintain a studied unawareness. For many, I've just gone unconscious and only rarely ever sense their presence. Some, I've deliberately buried in places I only rarely visit, and so easily forget that they were ever present and painfully accounted for. A few, I guess, I'm rather proud of their existence, unfinished business I probably had no business ever starting in the first place or business I had inadvertently started, then, embarrassed, abandoned without any intention of ever revisiting. These odd bits haunt me, but only intermittently. Each of these unfinisheds, though, represent an infinite sink unlikely to ever be filled. They might represent the negative space of my existence, a shadow with which, a clever person might be able to muster at least a cubist portrait of who I might have become. I am, at some level, the sum total not of what I've accomplished, but of what I've left undone.

I wonder some mornings if I will ever get beyond fussing over that queue of infinites. Will they always hound me? Will my dissociation abilities only strengthen as the list continues extending? This Grand Refurbish represented a bold leap forward for us, but also a rather outrageous steps backward and behind, for it might be a fundamental principle of this universe that every accomplishment leaves a tithe of Odds&Infinities behind, the larger ones quite naturally contributing larger quantities such that those who accomplish the most also, paradoxically, end up with the most eternally undone left behind. If we lived in that trailer I once pleaded for us to move into, our queue of undones might only barely qualify as a tiny infinity. With this huge old place, we almost need an accompanying mansion with a sizable estate to park our increasing inventory of leftovers wanting attention. We may never rest easy again.

In fiction, people seem to make genuine progress, and do so in curiously frictionless fashion. They start something and work it through to completion, then clean up after, leaving no trace of the effort, just the result. In the real world, detritus from every effort leaves an abiding footprint. The Muse took up upholstery once, and built a 'horse', a wheeled platform upon which she could mount the piece she was upholstering to easily turn it and also to elevate it to minimize crouching. The upholstery project long ago finished, that 'horse' remains as a permanent member of our entourage. Basements and garages are filled with such detritus which are there to remind us of the parts of those past projects we swore we'd one day get around to finishing, but never did, or, at least, haven't yet. We leave half-eaten suppers. We travel without ever completely returning home. We stay home and sometimes feel hounded by the tiny infinities surrounding us there. We are no more at ease than we are finished and we're never completely finished. I leave muddy footprints wherever I walk.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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