Daily Dérive #2: The Museum of Parkaeology

What makes such a place eerie?

  • A place, like this, unfamiliar.
  • The only human sounds are far off shrieks, and you’re hemmed in by the screams of insects.
  • Everything is coated in a layer of dust.
  • Discarded cigarettes, feathers and condoms.

  • Repetitive graffiti.
  • A playground with no children in.
  • Water features with no water in.
  • A woman crouched over her bags in the middle of the path.
  • A man on crutches with a crooked leg.
  • A jogger with red jogging bottoms and a bumbag.
  • No shade.
  • A woman hauling a trolley of huge plastic thread bags, and leading more ahead of her, berating the world.
  • A man drying his clothes over bushes in the sun.
  • Two men furtively gathered around a water pump.
  • The pigeons are slim and toned; some are white, like ghost pigeons.
  • Statues and busts of dead men with mustaches, carved in bleached white stone.
  • The distant sound of traffic, surrounded by walls.
  • Swedish Security private security guards, but only at the entrance, as if cowering.
  • People with apparently nothing to do and apparently nowhere to do it.
  • Dog walkers making it around as fast as they can.
  • No wind.
  • Lamps on lamp posts, with dead bulbs.
  • Stickers that have been peeled off.
  • Empty churches.
  • Empty pleasure gardens.
  • Row upon row of empty benches.
  • Air you can swallow for a full meal.
  • Solitary butterflies.
  • Last year’s fallen leaves.
  • Trees wilting in the heat.
  • A man in a clean white shirt and shorts, with a satchel and a neatly trimmed bald patch, carrying in one hand a takeaway coffee and in the other a pastry inside a paper bag, walking briskly past a guy in an old baseball cap with his arms crossed lying on a flower-pattern torn bedsheet on a park bench with one single shopping bag at his feet and a discarded milk bottle cast aside.
  • A couple talking in hushed voices; she turned to him, leaning back relaxed, he looking away in sunglasses, wound up with everything folded.
  • A man in an orange fluorescent sports shirt cycling puffily up the long incline on a mountain bike that could do with a touch of oil.
  • A distant cough.
  • An abrupt break in the insect chatter.
  • Catching a deep sweat after walking for only five minutes.
  • The sight of a man sighing deeply, and then turning to receive a kiss.
  • My part in it all.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed my eerie drift around the park.

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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