Thursday, 1 December 2016


The building seems so small, almost as if it would fit neatly into a snow globe or one of those miniature Christmas villages you see on display in garden centres. When did it shrink? No, it can't have done for adults still work there and none of them, those you've seen entering, are of diminutive height.
Is it your eyesight? Quite possibly. But how could that be? Could macular degeneration cause solid items to appear to a different scale to what they are? All these questions you silently put to yourself as you continue to stare at the main entrance of this toy building, and wonder how the hell you get inside. You'll need to get closer to understand its mechanisation. Perhaps there'll be a little loop-and-hook on its side which if unfastened will open up the whole front, or perhaps as you walk forwards you'll minify and the building instead will seem huge.
The longer you stand here, considering other possible explanations, the more fearful and uncomprehending you get, so that the only course is either to retreat or advance like a toy soldier: unwilling to play yet has to obey his owner's commands. Still, you delay the moment of attack, taking deep breaths and trying to calm that nervous feeling. You didn't have to come, after all. Nor are you expected so nobody would know if you turned round and retraced your steps, with a lighter heart and a much eased stomach, homewards.
What if you held an imaginary pencil or fine paintbrush up as an artist does to measure the perspective? You try it, as you've seen it done, with one eye squinted, and when that corresponds to your view as it's currently appearing to you, you repeat the exercise with the other eye as if you were sitting in the chair at the optician's. And like there when the red and green looks much the same so does this building when sliced in half and looked at through a filmy scarf, which now it's served a purpose, a very different one to the one it's accustomed to, gets draped around your milky throat again.
Is it probable there will not be a deciding factor? It would be so easy, too easy, to stop here, squinting as if the sun were in your eyes and thus preventing you from moving, with some assurance, forwards. What if, however, someone took your arm? To be kind. And tried, with good intentions as they had indeed got the impression you were blinded, to cajole you through the gate, up the path and through the main door, past Reception, and into the Great Hall in some kind of shuffling gait as if you were tied together in a three-legged race which only one of you was desperate to win. But then I guess you could say if this were to happen that the decision would have been, quite obviously, made for you.
This is not going to happen. And so you continue to stand, turning your head and feet in order to appreciate the building's petiteness from different degrees as if you were a human sundial, and still the building appears as a little house on a Monopoly board, three of them in a row like when a player is flush and buys up everything he lands upon or puts a property anywhere he owns, and yes, they do, to you at rate, look as though they could be flung back in their box at a moment's notice. Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that large hands, from above, could appear to peel up the ground on which they stand to shake it clear of anything that has no business to be there as if it were a picnic blanket messy with crumbs, before folding it, corner to corner, and storing it in a cupboard where it belongs and where it can be retrieved from on a rainy day or in picnicking weather.
The Lilliputians have no idea they're in danger, or that you're imagining it for them. Or even that you harbour an irrational terror of small things, particularly insects: moths, beetles, earwigs, spiders etcetera, though not for some reason ladybirds, but in general anything that flies or crawls or can disguise itself as a pencil shaving, and to which now must be added tiny people.
Nobody tells you of this, of these perspective changes; that as you grow taller things will seem smaller, or that as you grey your stature too will, in time, diminish.

Picture credit: The Toy Shop, 1962, Peter Blake