Randonautica #9

The intention today was “Reset”/”Renew,” that general idea. I set the first quantum to “Anomaly” and was sent here:

The protesters lost the case, first in municipal and then state court. The subsequent sit-in at a Greensboro Woolworth’s on February 1, 1960, which did much to spark activism around the South, has historically received much more attention than this one in Durham did, including a documentary film. The Royal Ice Cream sit-in in Durham took place more than two and a half years before the one in Greensboro, during a period in which, as the film’s opening interviewee puts it, “from the [1956] bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, until February 1, 1960, virtually nothing happened in the arena of civil rights. It was absolutely dead. Even Martin Luther King said that.”

The commemorative sign in the picture above was not erected until 2007. Apparently, prior to that, “North Carolina’s Highway Historic Marker Committee maintained that the Royal Ice Cream Sit-in ‘did not have enough significance'” until citizens in Durham pressed the committee.

The site is now occupied by this:

The Global Scholars Academy is “designed to connect at-risk Durham area youth to a wide array of intellectual and social capital resources [… O]ur goals are to identify scholar needs and attributes, broaden and deepen their education, diversify their personal networks, and expand their access to potentially life-changing domestic and international experiences.”

On the way north from the sign, I passed this construction installation, with its sign fallen:

After a number of experiences Randonauting, the user may discover that the mind, adhering to the “Intention,” may begin to reinterpret or reroute the experience based on the intention itself, irrespective of the actual coordinates plotted by the app. I was in the mood for coffee and there is a fairly new coffee bar (soon to be a diner as well) about three blocks from both the Royal Ice Cream destination and my house. It dawned on me that the intention to “Renew”/”Reset” could easily be understood as an impetus to find, on my own and without reliance on Randonautica, one of the so-called “blind spots” which everyday life, that is, habit, prevents us from ever seeing, no matter how geographically close these places might be to us. So I decided to go to this coffee bar:

I enjoyed talking with the owner, who told me that opening his establishment during the pandemic, far from being a hardship, has actually allowed him to ease his way into business while also getting a sense of what the market might be like going forward. Rather than trying to restore his enterprise to a pre-COVID-19 status, he is instead free to imagine and build it — the dining area and kitchen are not yet built — as a post-COVID-19 operation.

Next, using the “Attractor” quantum, I was sent to the same place as the protest to which the bot kept sending me on a Randonaut outing last month:

On the west edge of this parking lot are dumpsters and a picnic table:

I frequently see homeless people sitting at the picnic table. Sometimes they sleep outside the city-owned building behind it, which has been unoccupied for many months. A couple of weeks ago I saw a pair of policemen looking at the pile of bedding and other possessions a sleeper had left in front of the door.

Next to the dumpsters was a bin of bedding and clothing:

I set the next Quantum to “Void” and received coordinates that are in a spot very familiar to me. Given my “Reset”/”Renew” intention, I saw no reason to go to the destination: the Intention again superseding the structure. At what point does the app become merely a pretext for new experience which the user can fabricate without the use of a bot or any other external mechanism? In other words, how long does it take before Randonautica, having shown the user how to vary one’s accustomed routes, renders itself unnecessary? To what degree are the coincidences it arranges purely a matter of mind?

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