Saturday, January 16, 2010

Speak Walking/Transiting [“Cat Scratch Fever”]

Last Saturday a minor cat bite on my left hand resulted in five days of scheduled intravenous antibiotics sessions at Vancouver General Hospital’s Emergency. During my walking/transiting to and from each day, I tried to record the “speaking” I encountered, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. I then intertwined it with a short description of my personal place in this city. What does de Certeau mean by "to walk is to lack a place" (103)? I have no definite conclusions.

I live in East Vancouver [“You seem the type.”] on East 10th[“That’s such a pretty street and no traffic.”] just around the corner from Commercial, not far from the Skytrain station [“Get’s a bit rough there at night? Little more ‘hobo’ than ‘boho’ on that end of the Drive. But East 10th is nice.”] with my partner, and an otherwise lethargic cat, who last Saturday bit my left hand [“Is it tracking? Cats have this bacteria called Pasteurella. You better come to emergency.”]. I live near the Skytrain station, and therefore the 99 B-line [“Lady! Lady! Don’t buy a ticket. This is the free bus. Just go to the backdoor. No one checks. I don’t want any money. Can you buy me a hot chocolate? With a large you get a free Nutri-Grain Bar at Macs.”], which stops at Willow, a few blocks from Vancouver General [“When did they start announcing ‘Willow/Vancouver General Hospital’? Fuckin’ Olympics. Find it yourself before. DRIVER, BACKDOOR.”]. I used to live in Kitsilano [“Kits? Really?"], nearer VGH [“Welcome to this heavenly hotel. Got a smoke?"], but I had neither a cat bite, nor even a cat then [“This is your first time here? Okay, can I see your Care Card? Just a second. Sir, she is going before you because she does not require a room. You need a room, sir. Please sit down. Sorry, this place.”]. Prior to Kits, I lived downtown on Haro, around the corner from Robson, closer to St. Paul’s than VGH [“Somebody help me. Somebody help me. Somebody help me. Can you help me? I was at St. Paul’s. They won’t help me. They wouldn’t help me. They took my clothes. The nurses did. It’s true. This is bullshit. The junkie nurses took my clothes. Somebody help me.”], but again I had no reason to visit [“Guess Ted Nugent was right. Cat Scratch Fever? Nugent? You’re too young. I’m going to put in the IV now. It’ll be easy. You have great veins. I mean the veins we usually see in here are collapsed.”]

1 comment:

  1. A great enunciative response to de Certeau's speech act approach to walking the city. He refers to the "long poem of a walk" at a certain point, I think, which is what your call and response dialogue reminds me of.