Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Emergency Exit

I was walking past the Macy's store in downtown Minneapolis (formerly Marshall Fields, formerly Dayton's). Lining the inside of the windows is a glossy, opaque, black sheeting. The black is opened up here and there to display store items: mannequins with the latest fashions, shoes, handbags, assorted consumer products.

Then I noticed the door. It read "EMERGENCY EXIT - ALARM WILL SOUND." The letters read from left to right when viewed from the street, and were positioned in front of the opaque blackness. The words would be reversed and unreadable from inside the building.

This then couldn't be an exit from the building. Is this, perhaps, the emergency exit from the bustle and stress of a modern urban center? Is it an emergency exit from a nation that is declining politically, crumbling economically, and terminally fractured socially? Or is this perhaps an emergency exit from a cold, cynical, and ultimately meaningless world?

Where does it go to?

I tried the door. It was locked. No alarm sounded.

At least it wasn't an emergency.

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