A dazzling exploration of love, death, escape, home, and maturation set in the era of information overload, Attention. Deficit. Disorder. is highly original and exhibits an unforgettable voice that is Listi's alone.
|5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
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I was at Horvak's apartment in the Haight, a couple of blocks from Golden Gate Park, on Waller. It was late, and I was there alone. Everything was quiet.
Horvak had caught a flight to Aspen a few hours earlier. We'd passed each other in the sky. Horvak was in an idyllic mountain paradise, celebrating the holidays with family and friends. I was alone in San Francisco, waiting for a funeral. A defeated brand of envy was the only natural response.
Horvak didn't really know Amanda. He knew her peripherally through me, but he didn't know her well enough to mourn her. Nothing about her death was debilitating to him; none of it really affected him. Beyond the kind of standard empathy that occurs in decent people, nothing much would transpire within him on account of her passing. There would be no resonant impact. He would escape unharmed.
I'd arrived in town late that afternoon. Rented a car at SFO and followed Horvak's instructions door to door. He'd left a key in the mailbox. I walked inside and planted myself on the couch and sat there for hours in silence. Flipping channels. Smoking cigarettes. Tending to my confusion. The television was on, but the volume was all the way down. There was a stack of bad magazines on the coffee table, and sleep wasn't really an option. My head was swimming. I'd come to the conclusion that I had very little understanding of what anything actually meant. That right there was the extent of my knowledge.
Sometime after midnight, I stubbed out another cigarette and rose from the couch. I walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain. Down below, life was happening. Cars were rolling by, rattling and coughing exhaust. Christmas trees and menorahs were glowing in windows. Streetlights were shining. The fog was moving in. People were walking along the sidewalks, wrapped in hats and scarves. I wondered who they were, where they were going, what they did. I wondered what their stories were. I wondered what would happen to them. I watched them disappearing, one by one and two by two, lost in the direction of wherever it was that they were headed. And none of them even knew I was there.
Copyright ©2006 by Brad Listi
The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead. They treated their corpses with spices, herbs, and chemicals, and then they wrapped them in cotton cloth and stuffed them inside of a wooden case. Then they put that wooden case inside of another case. Then they decorated the outer case with information about the life of the wealthy dead person. Then they painted it and adorned it with jewels. The entire contraption was then stuffed inside a coffin, which was then stuffed inside a sarcophagus.
The Parsis, a Zoroastrian religious community in India, place their dead atop twenty-foot-high stone structures called "towers of silence," so the vultures can more easily devour them.
Australia's Aborigines have been known to leave dead bodies in treetops.
In New Caledonia and among Borneo's inland mountain people, dead bodies are placed erect inside the trunks of trees. The bark of the tree is then replaced over them.
The Jivaro peoples of South America inter their dead women and children under the floor. This practice dates back ten thousand years, to the rituals of urbanites in Mesopotamia.
Muslim people bathe their corpses carefully, with warm water and scented oils. Male corpses are bathed by men, and female corpses are bathed by women. Both men and women can bathe a dead child. The corpses are then wrapped in a plain cloth called a kafan, placed in a casket, and buried underground.
Jews wrap their dead in simple cloth and bury them underground too. Once the corpse is lowered underground, family members often toss a few handfuls of dirt into the hole. They might also tear a piece of their clothing, or a black ribbon, to signify their loss. This practice is called kriah, a tradition that many believe dates all the way back to Jacob's reaction to the supposed death of Joseph.
In certain parts of Indonesia, it is customary for widows to smear themselves with fluids from the bodies of their dead husbands.
In central Asia, mourners often get masochistic, lacerating their arms and faces in honor of the deceased.
In Tanzania, young men and women of the Nyakyusa tribe customarily copulate at the site of a dead person's grave, as a show of respect.
In some nomadic Arctic cultures, a doll of the deceased is carved from wood and treated as though it were alive. The doll is often kept for years. It is placed in positions of honor. It is taken on family outings. Food offerings are made to it. Widows have been known to sleep with the wooden doll in their beds, in remembrance of the deceased.
Copyright ©2006 by Brad Listi