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The Archduke of Boredom
Writer: Christopher Sloce
Illustrator: John Cappello
I first met Taylor Meade after the closing of our beloved local CD store Dad’s CDs, which introduced a decade of weirdos from Southwest Virginia into the murkier territories of rock music. Taylor and I’s music tastes mirrored each other: we began as fans of the Who and by the end of the high school had memorized “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”.
Taylor Meade is an archduke of boredom. The Testament of Solomon posits that King Solomon used demons to build his temple. Taylor Meade used boredom to build a bewildering Wise County that was something to be proud of. If it wasn’t for Taylor Meade, I might still be crabby about Wise, Virginia. Taylor Meade and others turned a rest stop into something more surreal. When he explained the concept of dimension hunting to me at China Garden, a restaurant he touches on in the interview, Wise County grew sudden depths. It went from a question to a koan.
Like pornography, you don’t know a dimension and then you see one. You hear an Annie Lennox b-side and see a woman wearing a t-shirt with a long dead Pomeranian airbrushed onto it. It’s a spooky feeling. He uses “Ghostbusters” as an example. I’m going to use the hotel from “Barton Fink” or maybe even the Overlook. It’s like train-spotting (activity, not the movie), but with worse perms. To turn a high-falutin phrase, a dimension is a place where banality becomes utterly surreal and mish-mashed, not unlike turning over a tapestry and seeing the threads all a wreck.
Imagine if you will a department store. You step inside, and the carpet smells burnt and an old man wearing a trucker cap sits chewing tobacco. Odd enough. The doors automatically open. Suddenly the carpet has turned into tile, a bored girl neither you nor nobody you know went to high school with files her nails. You begin feeling detached. Wilting 80s music plays and you notice the place only sells South Pole and US Polo Assn. Altogether, these disparate elements make you go, “huh, that’s weird.” But all these elements together? That’s a dimension. You must know the feeling by now.
But I’ll allow him to explain the rest.
Could you give a brief introduction of what dimension hunting is?
Dimensions exist in areas where reality is completely disregarded. Time itself is at question, whether that be because of old merchandise, songs, or people. There is no true definition, one must feel the dimensions presence.
Dimension hunting is essentially an adventure into the unknown. Usually, when you hear the term “hunting” one is probably thinking along the lines of a conquest. However, when people go on a dimension hunt, it typically it only involves observation. A team of dimension hunters will travel into a dimension to learn from its power and witness the activity.
When did it begin? And who were the first people involved?
As a child, I knew certain places didn’t feel right. It wasn’t until many years later as a high school student that I decided to search for an answer. The first dimension hunters to explore most of Wise County were my closest and most trusted friends: Corey Scott, and Jared Sturgill. Occasionally there would also be female hunters like my sister, girlfriend, and other friends. The people you bring into a dimension must be able to sense the dangers of these areas.
How do you know if a place has a dimension?
Objects and Design -Remember the “Zuul” Building from Ghostbusters? The apartment building was secretly designed as a gateway to reality for Gozer. The outside design does play into the dimensions strength, yet it doesn’t tell the true story. Therefore one must travel inside to ‘hunt’ the dimension. Strange floor plans, unmarked doors, unlit areas, items and decorations from decades past are all good indicators of the physical side of the dimension.
Music- Have you been in a store and you hear 1980s soft rock or country songs that you have never heard? Easy listening music played at soft volumes that have no recognizable identity tend to be played in high activity dimension areas. Where do people find this music? What genre is it? These questions can lead to a deeper understanding of dimensions.
People- In a low populated area like Wise County, you pretty much know every face in town. Therefore, we have an advantage in Wise to identify Dimension Walkers, or the people usually found in the questioned areas. Dimension Walkers usually wear an array of strange clothing from the late 80s, early 90s. They may have a strange accent. Precise gender identification is sometimes difficult because of unisex hair styles.
When all three identifiers are present, you most likely can conclude that you are indeed in an alternate dimension. A place where reality and time seem to disappear.
Are there certain stores with low dimensionality, and vice versa, are there stores with high dimensionality?
Places frequently traveled tend to have low dimensionality. Even though the people are terribly strange, Walmart would be a low activity place. When you start to explore the mostly vacant strip malls in the region you will likely come across higher activity. Some of the highest dimensionality I have ever witnessed has been in a store called Magic Mart. Magic Mart is essentially a bad K-Mart, which is essentially a bad Walmart. This location is good spot to observe for long periods of time because they have a very large sofa section. But staying longer than 1 hour is never advised.
Has dimension hunting taken off in any other areas besides Wise County?
I’m unaware of anyone else practicing this past time, yet I am positive that other dimensions exist outside of Wise County.
Could you tell us more about the time you entered the inn at Wise, Virginia? (ED: The Inn at Wise, Virginia is a trashed historical landmark).
Since one of our good buddies had access to the most interesting yet abandoned buildings in Wise County, The Inn at Wise, we decided to explore. The building is definitely old and was actually being restored at the time. So we didn't really sense any connections to alternate realities in there, just a good chance to do some urban exploration.
Are you retired from dimension hunting or does one ever truly retire from dimension hunting?
No, currently I am still searching for dimensions in other areas of Virginia. Wise just seems to be a hotspot. Being so geographically isolated, it is clear to see why reality has lost its grip in the mountains.
Are there any other places in Wise County that you believe to have a high dimensionality? Where would be the ultimate dimension in Wise County?
Like I said before, look for the strip malls. The big stores like Belk (a southern clothing chain that smells like perfume that sells a lot of Izod), K-Mart, and Magic Mart are a good place to start your dimension hunting career. However, the ultimate other dimension in Wise is China Garden. I’m not actually sure this place is even a sovereign territory of the United States. China Garden is a hole in the wall Chinese place that has the most outrageously old decorations straight from China. Its dimensionality comes from the two other dining rooms in the restaurant that customers are never allowed to dine in. One room is barricaded off with window blinds. I have never been into the kitchen, but once I peered in to see several different computers from the 90s. The kitchen door makes the sound of dolphin when it closes too. I cannot accurately describe this place, so if you are ever feeling up for it, this is the best dimension to observe, all while eating some awesomely delicious (and cheap) Chinese food.