Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The broken mirrors: Rita Hayworth, Don Martin and I

There was an old Don Martin Cartoon in the Mad magazine of my youth, where a character spots a hair sticking out of the top of his arm. He gives it a tug and the arm falls off.

So it is with many things. You move one small thing and the horrors leap out. Today I had to find a document on my computer. I have a back up drive, I use Dropbox and, out of fear of losing everything - as I did once - I have back-ups on the computer. And of course I had copied everything across from the old MacBook to the new, lovely and light MacBook Air.

I noticed at the time that I had very little space left and tried throwing out a few old applications without it making much difference. But now, in looking for the missing document, I suddenly saw that the problem was not in the applications but in the apparently harmless documents and photographs.

They were everywhere.

It was like finding myself in a booth full of mirrors, somewhat like Rita Hayworth in The Lady from Shanghai. As below.

Everything was coming at me in quadruple or quintuple or worse. Had they all been simply copies of each other it would have been easy, if a little fraught, to throw the copies away. But they were not the same. They had been modified in different places at different times. The hall of mirrors was cracked. I had to move carefully not to throw away something valuable.

And the valuable things appeared looking a little lost and bewildered. I had to nurse them to a safe place where those that belonged together had the reassurance of each others' company. Whether they were really valuable or simply objects of curiosity I had no time to tell. They just looked happier in their folders.

But the mess, the thorough awful soaking bollocking mess of it was a little frightening. After a while it isn't the mirrors you worry about but the figure they show, the mind that is the source of the mess, the man who put the mirrors there in the first place then cracked them and splintered them.

And that's a whole day's work and it still isn't finished, just a little tidier. Once the single mirror is restored I should be able see what shape it makes and what it shows. One doesn't want to be looking into mirrors very much. One mirror is enough in any case. We are not Rita Hayworth, nor were meant to be.

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