Recently, the office where I work was robbed. To an ongoing list I’ve been keeping of actions that engage with and measure tenderness I would like to add: jimmying, rummaging, opening. To jimmy, as in, to jimmy a lock, is a form of entrance made possible by the fact that things can be solid, can be stable, yet not immovable. In this case, to jimmy was a form of entrance most directly made possible by a fork (“that was found on the scene” according to building management). To rummage is a tender way of moving through a space filled with as-yet-unidentified objects, while also visibly spreading one’s own (as-yet-unidentified) un-fittingness within the space. It’s an act of not knowing where you are. To open is more directly related to tender in the sense of evidence than as a feeling: a case is opened.
The evidence in the case that has been opened seems primarily to be the fact that, as I’m later told, the detective who came to investigate recognized the figure that was seen on our surveillance cameras. Assuming this meant a repeat and local offender, I’ll later learn that I was mistaken: the detective recognized him from the homeless shelter near our office.
Every morning on my way work, I look for needle caps on the sidewalk. Every morning on my way to work, I see needle caps on the sidewalk across the street from this shelter and usually within a two to three-block radius. On the cobblestoned portions of this route, the needle caps are usually embedded in the cracks between bricks. Elsewhere down the street, these brightly colored plastic pieces are usually in doorways, up against the sides of buildings throughout this, the Financial District.
To jimmy ties itself to open (a case) because both are about the way that weight is added, the weight of evidence, to everyday objects: I do not understand a fork as an object that facilitates acts of illegality and/or desperation, but I do now.
About the Author: Maia Dolphin-Krute is a writer and artist based in Boston. She is the author of Ghostbodies: Towards a new theory of invalidism (Intellect, 2017), Visceral: Essays on Illness Not as Metaphor (punctum books, 2017) and Opioids: Addiction, Narrative, Freedom (punctum books, forthcoming). Currently, Dolphin-Krute is engaged in a long-term project about the forms of freedom that become possible when continually modulated by physical experiences and material proximities; about how do you live with. More information about this and other projects can be found here.