from Bristol

Third piece of fortnight writing. The subject, 'radar' was given to me by Peter Clerke, an artist based in Winchester: director of Blue Apple Theatre and The Occasional Cabaret. My dad.


The death of Radar

That thing that we had [once]. Was it radar?

How did you know and I know when we were so close? Or was it just that you were close enough for the hairs on my arm to touch the hairs on your face?

Or was it your heat. I could feel it from the other end of the street. That nice nausea, I don’t know where it went. Was it radar? I wonder if I, we, could still feel it [if I, we, wanted to].

My dad said to me, wouldn’t it be dangerous if birds lost their sense of radar: they would crash into us in the street. Our whole lives would have to change. That’s how it felt. Like crashing into your face, making it dangerous. By mistake, on purpose. Whole life shifting, changing and learning to adapt. Perhaps it was only I who lost it, this sensitive satellite mapping: tracking enemy aircraft, birds, humans, lovers.

Modern radar can detect objects as small as a loaf of bread. You can’t have been smaller than that, surely –

(I google ‘do humans have radar’ and a yahoo-answers page comes up; a person is ridiculed for asking, so I suppose we don’t.)

But it’s far less effective over long distances, and although I hoped that by writing sewing pressing it earnestly into letters and emails and text messages it would maintain I suppose there is eventually a lag. Or interference, radar jamming: intercepting waves. Ellipses. Stop. Awkward dancing. Stop.


So perhaps it wasn’t radar. Perhaps it was only a precursor, quickly outdated, and a gap between this and the real thing. The sound mirrors at Dungeness: noise bouncing off concrete to detect something that couldn’t move as fast as we would need it to [now]?