On the way down to Seattle’s old industrial heart, Skid showed me a picture from his phone: some kid at an empty building where graffiti is tolerated. A gallery where each piece only lasts a few days. Good or bad work is laid over good or bad work and then is covered by the next good or bad work.
“It’s that old hot-tub place at 50th and Roosevelt, ” he said. “I want to look around inside, but haven’t made it in yet—well, not since it closed. I had a date or two there back in the day— ”
“That is already way more than I want to know. Also, you don’t pronounce Roosevelt like ‘food’. It’s Roosevelt like a rose.”
“I say it like I say it. Anyway, I’m thinking that graffiti is a type of the new forms that decay produces. ”
“Decay? Cultural decay, I suppose.”
What can you do with a guy like that? Wasn’t it clear that I thought he was stretching his concept of decay pretty thin? “So what wouldn’t qualify as decay?“ I asked.
“If you’going to put it like that question, everything decays, after a while.”
Skid parked in front of a metal-fabrication shop that was opened just in time for World War II, but is no more…and from the look of it hasn’t been for quite some time.
Behind the screech of the door were still-fading hints of lives lived. Everywhere we wandered in the building, ghosts. Skid wouldn’t accept it.
But what do these pictures suggest to you?
I said again, “Ghosts. Can’t you see their work lives on this shop floor, and in the stairs and the chairs and the window upstairs that looks down on this floor?”
Skid kicked at bits of clinker.
‘This isn’t an episode of Ghosthunters. What else do you see?”
“A museum exhibit. The past is in this place. Look, that burnt coal that you’re kicking. What is that but the past?”
Part 2 of, well, I guess it’s 3