Tuesday, May 11, 2010

old fuzz

Why do most of my associations with the word 'fuzz' tend to revolve around variations of incompleteness, accompanied by a hint of tenderness towards anything fuzzy? Young animals are fuzzy, the women we love are never hairy but fuzzy, even the men we like we'll call fuzzy when we don't want to call them sasquatch -fuzz being an embryotic form of hair. Logic can be fuzzy when it's not fully formed yet, but calling logic fuzzy is not a devastating critique, is it? The logic can still grow an actual beard and become very scientific. And when we ask what the fuzz is, we usually imply that there's a child-like excuberance about an event that in and of itself needn't necessarily warrant such high anticipation. Justin Bieber springs involuntary to mind. Fuzz is youthful and has the softness of being not quite there yet, which makes it endearing in a similar way to babies.

Oddly enough, this quality of fuzz extends to the opposite as well: old sweaters, for example, acquire a whole lot of fuzz being worn and their weariness (excusez le joke) and fuzziness endeares us just the same. In that case, fuzz is a result of age, and though some of the fuzz might be as old as the sweater, due to it's softer nature and to the fact that the sweater was there before the fuzz, the fuzz is viewed as young relative to the sweater. It's probably impossible to have a sweater made of fuzz -and that fuzz would over time accumulate another layer of fuzz, some sort of metafuzz, anyway- so fuzz is always incomplete. There can always be more fuzz, its job is never done.

This endearing softness and paradoxical quality to make deterioration look youthful is probably one of the things that caught my eye and got me associating, when i saw this on my old travel bag


The bag underneath this fuzz is 14 years old and has been through more bagage belt hells and overstuffed abuse than i care to count. It is remarkable that it's only showing some fuzz; lesser bags would have ripped, exploded or simply laid down and disintegrated long ago. But it's not the bag that i photographed; it's the fuzz. The way this old fuzz managed to play with light as we were once again traveling and it was once again being thrown around carelessly made me a believer in the power of fuzz. The signs of wear and more to come made soft and youthful, that's the fuzz.

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