Table of Con­tents | Arti­cle doi: 10.17742/IMAGE.SA.12.1.5 | PDF

This image is neither decorative nor strictly available for simple denotative description. Our project rejects captions altogether. The spirit of this project is very much one of uncertainty and imagination. We hope that anyone with visual impairments will glean information from the written compositions.

Antic­i­pa­tion is a bor­der (town).

I have known for a long time that one does not go any­where. It is the cities or coun­tries that come or do not come to you.” 
– Hélène Cixous, “Promised Cities”

Wind­sor was even weird­er than I thought it would be. That Patrick was a cov­et­ed Dun­geon Mas­ter was one of the few things that made sense. I had antic­i­pat­ed a city more like Buf­fa­lo, New York, anoth­er bor­der town, where I lived for three dif­fi­cult years teach­ing at a small SUNY school. The chair of my cur­rent depart­ment pro­nounces it as “sun­ny Buf­fa­lo,” and the dis­con­nect always cracks me open, like good satire. Buf­fa­lo is a city too big for its cur­rent pop­u­la­tion: it’s a place where even the archi­tec­ture seems dis­ap­point­ed. Where­as in Wind­sor, the build­ings look baf­fled, an effect of the hodge­podge of archi­tec­tur­al styles and the inescapable com­par­i­son with Detroit.

To be in Buf­fa­lo, as an aca­d­e­m­ic, meant that every first get-to-know-you chat includ­ed: “Let me show you the hotel where Michel Fou­cault lived when he was here.” I had many drinks in this for­mer-res­i­dence-of-Fou­cault hotel bar, where maybe upstairs he was read­ing Roland Barthes’ S/Z and more. It’s hard to imag­ine Fou­cault in Wind­sor, but I can dream him in Detroit. That’s the thing about a bor­der, if you can’t con­ceive of some­thing being on one side, you can usu­al­ly do some men­tal gym­nas­tics to put it on the other.

In Buf­fa­lo, a friend used a dat­ing app and extend­ed the area all the way to Toron­to. When a poten­tial date quipped, “Why would you come all the way up here?” she knew all bets were off if dri­ving to some­where more cos­mopoli­tan for sex was going to be frowned upon. In some places you can get swiped right from here to eter­ni­ty and still not get what you want.

In Wind­sor, sex was every­where, but sen­su­ous­ness seemed hard to come by. Strip clubs boast­ed girls with “New Effort” and egg roll specials—there’s not a stronger way to say “no touch­ing” in the Eng­lish lan­guage. Mean­while fly­ers on tele­phone poles promised men in kilts would pow­er­wash your home, but “no peek­ing!” The sens­es were anoth­er harsh bor­der, patrolled.

In this lit­tle notch where Cana­da sits below the U.S., it feels like everyone’s a bor­der guard of one type or anoth­er. One after­noon as I walked around Wind­sor and Detroit, in the span of a cou­ple of hours I col­lect­ed insults hurled from peo­ple I passed on the street: “fag­got” in Cana­da and “bitch” in Amer­i­ca. Georg Simmel’s famous con­cep­tion of urban cool­ness, the blasé atti­tude, can­not hold in such places. The blasé schluffs off indi­vid­u­als and hangs in the air like mias­ma, cre­at­ing a dif­fuse anx­i­ety, an agi­tat­ed atmos­phere that expos­es you feel­ing it. This kind of space can cre­ate a desire for a hard shell, like Weber’s steel cas­ing, or a mon­ster truck with huge wheels that could roll all over this Autophilic space on Sun­day, Sun­day, Sunday.