Robinson Crusoe

A copy of The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe left behind on a park bench in Central Park, New York, after having finished reading it, 2008

Robinson Crusoe

A copy of The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe left behind on a park bench in Central Park, New York, after having finished reading it, 2008

I once went to New York. In New York, I was among many things, most of all an island. Day in day out I floated around in this concrete jungle, politely smiling my way around town. Hi-how-are-you ‘ing around town. Without looking anybody in the eye. Minding my own business, which was among many things, reading books.

In New York I was a book reading island.

The books I finished reading, I left behind on two places. One: I returned them to the city where I bought them, continuing their journey through the concrete waves of an ocean called New York. Two: I left a copy of them in my mind. On my island.

In New York I was a book reading, book collecting island.

A good thing about being an island, is that you don’t really need to care to much about the world outside the island. An island basically does whatever it wants. And New York is the perfect place to do this. In New York. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Just like any other ocean; the limits of New York are the limits of the mind.

My mind was reading books. Lot’s of it. Books in their turn, are of course islands on their own. Little universes build out of pages and words and lots of ideas. In this way, I was building a whole chain of islands around my self. Islands where I could go to whenever I got bored of my own island. Which of course sometimes happened, since my island, although located in New York, consisted of not much more then flat fields of potatoes and dikes against upcoming ocean water and here and there a row of brick houses inside which people scoop overcooked potatoes on their dinner plates together with some overcooked vegetables and a couple of meatballs and drown the whole thing in an murky ocean of gravy.

While being in New York, it was therefor a great pleasure to travel around a bit. To visit islands build out of prairies and horses and where ideas blossomed like poppy fields in the backyard of William S. Burroughs.

There was only one problem about being an Island: it costs money. First of all there is the journey to and from the island. And then there is the daily maintenance. My particular island fortunately was a cheap island. It didn’t need much more then a couple of pizza slices and coffee everyday to keep it running. However the downside of it was, when I got it, it came with a life span. The life span of my island was limited to three months. After that I had to bring it back to the library.

Nowadays my New York island is still there. Right there in my library, where it lives its routine life among my other islands cramped upon the dusty shelves of my life. Because this particular coffee drinking, pizza eating, book collecting island is dear to me, I sometimes pick it up and browse through it. It’s not the same. A lot of places are still there and lots of others have vanished. Most of them obscured by heaps of sand, which are not completely unsimilar to the white noise one sometimes finds on a television screen between the channels. The sand in my mind is bare, except from some washed up ideas and some solitary footprints in search of higher ground.