The Carpet

The carpet opening of the ‘Nemonymoous Navigation’ section in this novel:

The carpet was quite ordinary. Nobody around was an expert on the manufacture of carpets, so all that could be said about it was some reference to ordinariness. Even the stains were ordinary. Years of wine and grime. Years of mishandled vacuuming. The careless knees of toddlers as they scorched their model cars through the rough of tufts. The odd tread of strangers.​
​The pattern was non-existent since the carpet possessed a plain beige colour – originally with nothing to recommend it except its unpretentiousness. Yet, despite these various negatives, the items of furniture that pressed its pedestals, castors and broad-beam bases into the pile were rather pleasant in an antique fashion – but whether these represented genuine antiques was anybody’s guess. They were rather down-market sticks of furniture in spite of the dusting by a previous owner who rather enjoyed the varnished or polished gleam of knotted wood more than the clean lines of a carpet’s cleanliness.​
​The carpet itself had no mind of its own – obviously.​
​Nothing could be inferred about its soul. If it had thoughts, it kept them to itself. There is a theory that inanimate objects feel themselves to be so real that nobody – even with the wildest imagination – can imagine them as imaginary. And if anything is deemed unimagined or unimaginary or unimaginable then it is incapable of existing in fiction, fantasy or dream – but merely in real life. And it is true that many actual things yearn to be imagined rather than to exist for real … simply for the pleasure of being fantasised about. This carpet was no exception.​
​It must feel trapped not by the webbed stitching of its underlay, by its carpet tacks keeping it tight to the skirting-boards and by the downward press of the mock antique bric-a-brac and furniture, but also by the knowledge of its essential reality as a floor-covering, with no possibility of weird elaboration or of weaving into the character of something unreal … thus to make it worthy of imagining or dreaming about. For example, that day, there were deep misunderstood mumbles in large areas of the carpet’s jurisdiction – come down to it together with the pad of two spread soled solid feet and the prod of two sharp feet as they moved about amid the lugubrious talking that belonged to the feet’s owners – or so the carpet would have assumed given the carpet’s ability to have such assumptions.​

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