Different Hearts, and a Different Sort of Darkness

Well, I didn’t spot one other person on the trains today with any form of printed reading material; most riders were deeply ensconced in the glowing rectangles in their hands. But I was presented with a charmingly sinister consolation prize over lunch, when a random tuba blast caused me to look up from my reading next to the river. Lo, floating before me was a medium-sized cruiser emblazoned with the words “Joseph Conrad Yacht Club” on its side, playing host to a disorderly half-dozen musicians on the roof who were looking about blearily, instruments (by this time, even the tuba) unused and dangling by their sides.

The vessel chugged quietly past without further incident or evident realization on the musicians’ parts about what was going on– but I had to wonder what the club they represented was all about. Do they go around sliding for fun through eerie streams shrouded in fog that hides justifiably hostile eyes? Try to keep some sort of imperialist impulse simultaneously alive and hamstrung by its own moral deformities?

Whatever the story behind this cruising curiosity, the dislocation caused by its appearance wasn’t at all unpleasant; surrounded as I was on the shore by business guys out-jargoning each other and tourists taking the same selfies every five minutes, the Conradians’ intrusion into the norm was a little, almost Werner-Herzog-worthy, blessing to help wrap up the work week.

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