Katamari Walking

Before Saturday night, I’d never played
Katamari Damacy

and again in
I read about the princely roller pushing the tacky (magnetic?)
ball through the game’s byways, gaining in things, some strategic, many
accidental. All of them counted, catalogued. They’re persistent in my own
Katamari-like memory, the projects I mention, their framing of Katamari Damacy
as an installment of the database logic implicit in much digital writing. Like
toaster ovens placed enigmatically in the middle of the street (what’s that
doing there?
), Katamari logics have joined the clump that is my plan for
WRT302 this fall, too.

Speaking of stickiness (or glue), I’ve been walking
Y. most days
lately. Mornings. We’ve jogged, too, but whether or not I’m jogging,
he walks, mocking me and my slow, laborious pace. Puppies are voracious
collectors; Y., particularly so. He aggregates the street, its detritus,
its unseen flavors. Leeches miscellany: cig. butts, sticks, wilderberries,
leaves, wrappers, styrofoam bits, and so on. This gets at the deep tension in
our relationship (Dr. Phil, Y. takes into his mouth every tiny speck of crap and
debris in reach!). He’s learning "drop." It’s a sweeter
lesson since he’s come to understand that I’m not afraid to dig my fingers into
the dark depths of his kibble-pipe to retrieve the salivascraps rather than have
him ingest them for good. Back to the point of what I was getting at: Y.
is a collector.

The other morning a neighbor who we don’t know was repairing one of the two
Hyundai Accents parked in his driveway. The hatchback trim lining the
interior (the car’s ceiling) appeared to have come loose, fallen in. On the
away-route, our first pass, the repair was just underway. The man was
placing pillows in the back window of the car and, oddly enough, propping empty
beer bottles (green ones–Rolling Rock?) to close the gap. He was
improvising a stabilization system from the whatever-at-hand lying around the
place. Bricolage auto repair. The mouths of the beer bottles would apply
pressure from the bottom side to the damaged trim, which, now held with Gorilla
Glue, would be suspended long enough to dry, hold. Y. and I walked on by
(curious, but trying not to gawk). Added when we passed back by on the way
home: duct tape.

Our course is just 1.6 miles. Roughly one mile into the walk, there’s a
hill. The down-slope is where Y. lifted his favorite toy of all time: a
cracked tennis ball, pre-chewed by another dog. Found it in the street.
Unethical to let him keep it? Nah. It’s a tennis ball. We see
one or two per week along the route, often in the drain gutters. So I let
Y. keep the ball, and we carry it on subsequent walks, although he doesn’t
actually get to play with it–going leash-wild–until we’re a mile into the
walk, until we reach cut-up hill. Cut-up because the ball is
hacked. The tear helps him grab it and keep it held. Cut-up
because Y. goes ape-ass wild just to have it in his clutches. With the
ball, he bounds recklessly into yards and into the street again, taking the
leash to its limits. And them I reel him in. "Drop." (Often I have
to take it from him). Loop.

Katamari walking. The street as inquiry. Don’t know what we’ll find,
but let’s walk. And then there’s a guy using beer bottles to repair his
Hyundai. Minutes later, duct tape. Another time (and for weeks), we
find a tattered Formula 409 bottle, an oxymoron of cleaner as filth. Next,
two small boys positioning plums where tires are most likely to mash them, then
scurrying to hide behind a shrub–a stripe of jam, perpledicular to the street.

Collection and annotation. These are the emphases in Sirc’s "box-logic"
essay in WNM. I’ll be teaching it alongside Katamari logics (pieces
from those above) in a few weeks. WRT302 starts Monday.


  1. I *was* just going to add a note about the command “leave it,” which can help one to avoid having to issue the more forceful “drop.” But then, I realized how darn poetic and interesting your post is, and I feel kind of silly….

  2. three things:
    1. soon Is. begins will collect things in her mouth.

    2. open container law?

    3. found a perfectly good Koosh ball on a run the other day. it was in the middle of a country road. had no qualms with picking it up and bringing it home to J-boy.

  3. “Leave it.” I might have to try that given how poorly “drop” is turning out. Releasing treasured things is a slow piece of training, I’m afraid.

    I think we’ll be okay as long as Is. isn’t ingesting cig. butts and other roadside crap. By then we’ll probably be untraining Y. so he beats her to the goods.

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