Architecture : Where is my charger? – Jimi Wen – Medium

One evening, my rockstar friend and former boss, Dick asked if I would like to help out at his concert tonight, just to relive memories of our young selves.

The frame shifts to a place that resembles a very large and futuristic concentration camp, think Ridley Scott’s Apple Mac 1984 Super Bowl ad. The site is a very large and modularly comprised of multi-functional cube structures.

Climbing on ladders along a side of the cube, the top surface hosted a bed and some sitting mats. One of my campmates who I did not recognise, was very tall and handsome, he came up along the ladder, and told me that I was the one he was looking for, and asked if I could assist him in developing a particular flavoured pressed tofu.

I was surprised and humbled that he wanted to ask me about food stuff, but I couldn’t tell him anything of competence and with confidence. While contemplating incompetence and lack of belief, suddenly I see crimson or maroon red everywhere. I think it was blood everywhere, though I wasn’t sure whose blood it came from, him or me. A loud public announcement started to order everyone to do something.

Queues started to form, kind of like networking all the cubes within the compound. I did not know where the many different ends would lead to. While waiting in the queue with faceless strangers, I check my pockets for keys and iPhone charger. I could not tell, by time or by the movement of the queue, how much time had passed.

Joe, Dick’s agent, came looking for me, and over a Madarian Oriental styled balcony, politely and as femininely as imaginable spoke to me: “Where have you been? You are missing the final rehearsal.” I rushed to meet her, I was without shoes but maybe with socks, and maybe an iPhone charging cable on me.

As I follow the direction of her voice, I find myself in the grandest main lobby of them all, an immersion as if Escher built this particular Madarian Oriental himself. Though sound travels in a straight line, I could not fly in a direct line straight to the sound of her voice. The Escherian lobby meant I could only take certain combinations of staircases to my destination.

I tried taking stairs that go up, but sometimes that leads me to a higher floor than I intended to go, which I would then have to find stairs to go back down. Suddenly I saw a familiar face, Ling, Dick’s manager, entering an elevator. I yelled, but either no voice came out of me or she did not hear. Maybe no combination of stairs would ever lead me to Joe’s voice.

After finding the elevator, I caught up with Joe waiting for me with indetectable impatience. From the balcony, we went to the freight elevator around the back of the building. Just before the elevator doors were closing, few members of a Thai rock band enter our lift. Judging by their age and wrinkles, they must have toured long. We exchange some basic greetings, palms closed, “sawadee khrup”.

The elevator was old with scratched stainless steel wall panels. We all could hear the cable’s friction against the motor’s gear. The light flickered like the cloud passing by the sun and changing the reflection off the snow in an accelerated time-lapse effect. The flicker of whiteness reminded me of the bloody stuff on me. Shame flickered as the light did, shame on the mess I was making in a confined space and how the tardiness happened might disappoint Dick.

I comfort myself that Dick knew me to be very punctual, as I’ve never been late and always arrived too early. When the elevator door opened, we were facing an eerie valley that was vast, the shit you see with too much CGI budget. There were interlinked plank bridges that seem to lead to the main stage where we could faintly hear the familiar hits being rehearsed.

Joe walked in front of me leading the way, as I followed her, the plank bridge started to warp vertically, walking became climbing, planks became holds to grip and step. What were ergonomic rectangles are now polygonal floating tree cavities. I hesitated to go further forward, but when I look back, the only way not-forward was down. The distorted perspective downwards, into the core of the earth, made the distance seem many times further looking down than it seemed on the way up.

I did not have time to contemplate the difference in this perceived distance since the members of the Thai rock band were coming up behind me. Without a thought, I mumbled: ‘sumimasen”, and tried to suspend myself on the web of ropes that holds all the tree cavities together. Holding on, suspended, the music of the encore song everyone knew interrupted the only distinct thought I could form: “Did I have my charger with me?”

I woke up, with the full comfort as provided by each coil in the mattress, suspending me and supporting my body above ground.


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