With apologies to Walker Percy:
[Shanghai.] Misery misery son of a bitch of all miseries. Not in a thousand years could I explain it…but it is no small thing for me to make a trip, travel hundreds of miles…by night to a strange place and come out where there is a different smell in the air and people have a different way of sticking themselves into the world. It is a small thing to [some] but not to me. It is nothing for [some] to close [their] eyes in New Orleans and wake up in San Francisco and think the same thought on Telegraph Hill that [they] thought on Carondelet Street. Me, it is my fortune and misfortune to know how the spirit-presence of a strange place can enrich a man or rob a man but never leave him alone, how, if a man travels lightly to a hundred strange cities and cares nothing for the risk he takes, he may find himself No one and Nowhere. Great day in the morning. What will it mean to go moseying down [Nanjing Lu] in the neighborhood of  million strangers, each shooting out his own personal ray? How can I deal with  million personal rays?...
...Oh sons of all bitches and great beast of [Shanghai] lying in wait…
Binx Bolling, on being asked by his Uncle Jules to go to Chicago,
in Percy's The Moviegoer, 1960.
Pg. 98-99, First Vintage International Edition
|Drawer 3.5: From the top: 1. Boxes of red light bulbs for use in household shrines, purchased from a Buddhist supply store once on Bao An Lu, now sadly closed down 2. Emptiness 3. & 4. Divider missing from cabinet; net for handling crickets, bought at the Flower & Bird Market on So. Xizang Lu|
Photo credit drawer: Bruno David; all others are mine.