Drop Out, Tune In, Turn Off

High anxiety days as of late. Took a walk in Braddock this afternoon to catch some relief and found this discarded big screen on Washington Avenue near the Monongahela River. I remember when these were new. I worked as a stock clerk at Sears at the time, after dropping out of high school, and we used to uncrate these TVs and have to hoist them up on tall display risers on the sales floor. These seemed like the pinnacle of technology at that moment, something I’d never be able to afford given my trajectory. Fast forward 15 or 20 years and it’s no more valuable than a spent Budweiser can. Scrappers won’t even bother with them. There’s not necessarily a lesson to be learned here, because most everyone knows objects like this have a lifespan. But to see a TV wreathed in weeds, so far from an electrical outlet, the only thing that can bring it back to life, is jarring in the same way that a single shoe on a highway can incite worry. It offers a story with no arc, a truncated history of separation from its intended place or person.

(Photograph: Matthew Newton. Caption: Washington Avenue in Braddock,Pennsylvania, April 2016.)