robotvagina

something for the regulars

Remember that post I wrote a while back when I said that empty chip bags were robot vaginas? Remember that? And everybody who likes to comment commented until Blackbird bade us all stop? Sorry, Blackbird. Somebody reminded me of robot vaginas today (verbally, not by their presence or anything) and it's time for another installment on the subject.

Warning: The following lacks rigor. So did the preceeding.

The real problem with robot vaginas is that I can't think of the phrase without suddenly hearing Bitching Camaro in my head, and I'm forced to run through a verse or two before I can do anything else. Robotvagina robotvagina/ I ran over my neighbours/ Robotvagina robotvagina/ Now it's in all the papers.

Now I'll never get to hang out with J.G. Ballard. I'll come up to him and start talking and he'll give me a dry look, as if to say, "Your robot vagina motif is unsupported by an intellectual base, therefore it flakes easily". Then he'll say it, exactly as the dry look was as if to say. And I'll say, "Hey, way to force a metaphor, Ballard. For such a prolific writer, your prose doesn't exactly spring unbidden from your brain, does it?"

Then he'll put his cigarette out in my eye. And it'll serve me right.

Update #1: I don't know why, but somebody wants your empty chip bags. Sure, you'll get a free poster out of the deal, but how lightly will you sleep, knowing that you've contributed to the development of a vast robot army (all robot armies are vast, by the way)?

Update #2: A quick google search reveals that the robot army is no threat, since they seem to have succumbed to their version of internet porn:


So there's nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear itself and photo formatting.

Special late-breaking Saturday update: It turns out that robots are already making use of their special bits. It's like I was predicting the future. The very very near future.

I now predict that I'm going to go have a sandwich.

how I go from trash to robot vaginas in just one entry

I've been thinking about trash for the last four-five months. In that brief slice of the year when the ground isn't hiding under a foot of snow, our city is ridged with drifts of trash. Plastic bags billowing across intersections or spinning around in alcoves, slurpee cups and drinking boxes rolling around gutters, straws and chip bags and unidentifiable mulch. The trash emerges from under the snow and builds furiously until November or thereabouts, when it goes back into hibernation. Enough of it is biodegrabable and so does not drown us in our homes as we sit and wait for further episodes of Cold Case.

I was out looking at trash today - because raising my eyes means looking at fast-food huts and car dealerships - when I cut through an alleyway and passed an auto junkyard. The sights of the shells of old cars, some blooming with rust, others jacked up on cinderblocks and missing tires, made me realize that there's a useful distinction to be made between trash and junk. Junk is the thing at the end of our repeated use. It's worn, blunted, broken, bleached, chipped, scraped, scuffed, corroded, screwed up and usually kind of dirty. Junk is junk because we've exhausted it, worn out its possibilities and left it somewhere to disintegrate. But even at its most exhausted, junk is infinitely recyclable, useful to someone else. A piece of old furniture or a stained old futon usually disappears in minutes when left next to a dumpster; old scraps of metal end up in a piece of sculpture; a crib belonging to someone's grandparents gets handed down. An object absorbs the history of its use, incarnates in tiny measure the era from which it springs, and as junk it gives back that history, as a stone at evening radiates the heat of the day. Junk is valuable apart from its usefulness, as it takes on the curious aesthetic dimensions of accidental art. Sometimes junk occurs on such a scale that it suggests mystery, as in the abruptly abandoned prairie houses of the Depression, with books still on shelves, mirrors hung on walls and cutlery left in the drawers. At its grandest junk becomes ruins.

Trash is junk's evil twin. Typically, trash isn't stuff - it just contained stuff at some point. Plastic bags, coffee cups, lids and sleeves, straws, slips, receipts, cigarette packs and pinched balls of foil, bubble wrap, styrofoam chunks, cardboard and tape. Trash is almost always branded, the containers carrying the brand for whatever was inside it - a shipping box of diapers, a beaf 'n' bean burrito, a few grams of crushed ketchup chips. Trash is completely transient, meant to attract briefly and then be forgotten. It's strange that something meant to be so impermanent ends up being so persisent. Trash doesn't weather. It just moulders, loses distinctiveness, gathers at curbs and works its way into the sewers. In a city like mine that gets very little rain, it never gets washed away properly, and by autumn the roadsides are lined with a mulch of leaves, plastic and slowly decomposing cardboard. It makes you feel like you're living in a gigantic landfill.

Chip bags are the weirdest trash of all. Are they plastic or metal? They appear to be some kind of high-tech fusion of the two. An open chip bag, all shiny with grease. It's like a robot vagina. Chip bags are the future skins of cyborgs.

So in conclusion I'd like to declare September 27th to be International Robot Vagina Day. With parades, symposia, and a good old pancake breakfast.

*But not one of those patented baby-choking cribs that were all the rage in the early eighties.