The Art of Bewildered Sadness

By | Monday, August 08, 2022 Leave a Comment

In the nearby city of Albany, California, there is an old landfill which is now generally known as the “Albany Bulb”, or just "The Bulb." Over the years it has been a landfill, a dump, an encampment for homeless residents, and a park, as well as being a canvas for some extraordinary art (more at AlbanyBulb.org)

In October 2019 I was walking one of my favorite loops at the Bulb. On the return leg, I saw writing spray painted along the edge of the paved path. I read it as I walked. I was stunned. I was touched. In fact, I was so gobsmacked that I had gone on at least another hundred feet before I realized that I had to go back to the beginning to record this message before it disappeared, as is the fate of so much of the ephemeral art created at there.



I have transcribed the text here, primarily so that search engines will index it, should anyone be looking for it. I have attempted to retain case, punctuation, and spelling, even when it is technically incorrect. This is, after all, a cry in the wilderness, not an essay for a picky college English teacher, and I feel that hand of the author reveals something of what they are trying to express to the world.
OK, so, one time you, yes you and I got high here. You told me that every thing was going to be OK. For the most PART it has been. But you died 3 weeks AGO AND I MISS YOU. Hope youre doing well. Call me if you need anything, though you left, im still here… Anyways. i have to go now. Don’t forget about me Please… good night, sweet dreams
I have no idea who the author was. I don’t know if this was created by a writer, or a poet, or an artist who regularly paints messages in public places, or, as I suspect, if they are the words of someone who truly had recently lost an important person in their life.

In any case, for me it evokes sadness, but also either bewilderment, or naivete, or extraordinary faith. The author is speaking to their lost companion as though they were right there, as though their friend can hear them and can even respond. Either this person is naïve (in a very touching way) as to what death really is, or has such deep faith in an afterlife that they truly believe their friend is right there, listening, and might even need something from them, or, as I believe is most likely, they are so lost that they cannot accept the fact that their friend is gone. I wonder about their fear that their friend might forget them – perhaps it is a reflection of their own fear that they may forget the one that is gone.

This video still makes me sad when I watch it, even years later. I hope that for this anonymous writer, everything has been OK.

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