In Superposition

by Fotis Papadogeorgopoulos

You reach your hand for the light switch. It lands. You did not have to look at it. Familiar. Time to go for a walk. Walks are funny, they can take you to places you know or those that you do not; not yet, or not in one way. A known, unknown and known.

At school, someone, some time ago had said “have you tried looking at your house from the neighbouring one? It looks different”. That year, or maybe another one, singing carols, you catch a glimpse of your house; through a corridor, then a window or balcony, and across the street. It has been etched into memory, or the ever-changing way that memory is bound to behave in.

The moment you enter a new place, or the same place from a different angle, you enter a superposition. The familiar becomes distorted or mixed, time dilates, and motion is blurry.

A blue building, then another. You have seen these buildings before, from this angle even. Now it is night-time though. You have not seen them at night from this angle. Or blue. Why are they blue? You think back to the another memory etched from childhood: you gotta catch them all. So you set out to do so. Even our little superposition is not free of the instrumentalising of every part of our existence, I suppose.

You press on, over wooden planks. This way? Maybe the other? If you keep walking far enough, you will have to walk that distance back, you know. This way then, halfway, a bridge over the tracks. That will take you on a shorter loop.

A blue building, a sign saying “studio” and “staff”. “Studio?”, you wonder. “What is this place?”. A little bit of, uhm, potential trespassing seems appropriate in the superposition. Tiles, things that look like pods. You peer through them and see textiles, mannequins, the world. Your phone is right there, you could just pull up a map. No, that would cause time to come crashing, not yet. You reach out and grasp the building (some might call this taking a photo). No need to fret, you soon see a sign saying “Theater”, and suddenly it clicks, a point in a fog, on a map that does not yet exist.

You have been in this area before. Intuitively, you know you must be near someplace familiar. In this moment, however, it all seems different, suspended. Maybe it is new, after all? You collect a few more places. A person crossing a street, a shop in a corner, a landmark church in the distance.

You move on, and suddenly you are in the middle of construction. The street you were on? To streets you have walked many times before, parallel and vertical alike. A sense of orientation arrives and with it, the superposition starts collapsing inwards, ever closer to one known state.

The superposition is now but a field around you. You clint to its sensation of curiosity and wonder, a lens to observe the now all-too-familiar locale through. Then you catch it, in the middle of the city. A smell, almost like the wood and fire of a sauna, but something else mixed in as well. The stone and smoke of a village house, in the mountains, as winter starts to roll in. You might be in more places than one yet.

You move on, interlacing new and old angles of the city, nourishing and exploring the superposition surrounding you. The same neighbourhood, your neighbourhood, approached from a different direction. You’ve walked through this street before, at night. The funny thing about routes and angles is that you only need to think wide enough, to make them new again.

You reach your hand for the light switch. You look outside of the window, and for a brief moment, the city blinks.

A white and blue building in the distance, over water. The building and trees are reflected on the water's surface.

A white and blue building in the distance, over water. The building and trees are reflected on the water's surface.

A blue, tiled building nearby. Tiles surround a small garden, and bright lights are on inside.

A blue, tiled building nearby. Tiles surround a small garden, and bright lights are on inside.

A blue, tiled building nearby. Skylights, that look like pods, line the way to it.

A blue, tiled building nearby. Skylights, that look like pods, line the way to it.

A street corner, with a pedestrian crossing leading up to it. Surfaces reflect street lights after the rain. A person is sitting at a bar, while above it apartment lights are on.

A street corner, with a pedestrian crossing leading up to it. Surfaces reflect street lights after the rain. A person is sitting at a bar, while above it apartment lights are on.

A pedestrian crossing, lit and reflective after rain. A church tower is in the distance.

A pedestrian crossing, lit and reflective after rain. A church tower is in the distance.

The red neon sign of a Karaoke bar, by the pale green glow of a street lamp.

The red neon sign of a Karaoke bar, by the pale green glow of a street lamp.

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