temporary conditions

by uzwi

After they had eaten, they finished the bottle of wine. Marnie switched on the TV and surfed desultorily, sampling a reality show in which people were invited to queue for items they couldn’t afford to buy; then Ice Melt!, now in its fifteenth season; before fixing with an impatient sigh on the second half of a documentary which traced the slow demise of the great Chinese manufacturing cities of the 2010s. Anna was reminded of the images of Detroit and Pripiat popular in the early days of the century, when decline and reversal–quick or slow, economic or catastrophic–had seemed like temporary conditions, anomalous and even a little exciting. Long bars of light falling obliquely into the vast rubble-filled interiors of factories already stripped of everything from doors to heating ducts; smoky pastel dawns in abandoned flagship housing projects where drug addicts queued patiently for an early fix; vegetation pushing up through orbital roads closed to traffic less than ten years before; faded, uninterpretable graffiti: lulled by these dreamy images of dereliction, she felt herself falling asleep. [Empty Space, pp58/59.]