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February 23, 2005

i'm surprised more people don't leave intentional traces of themselves. is it because people are so in the moment that they give no thought to its passing, or are they unaware that all moments pass and it might be worthwhile to send a message from the future past? most of the places we pick over hardly seem haunted at all. today's location--1408 14th avenue--was a slight exception. we were there to salvage several hundred square feet of 3/4" fir floorboards hidden beneath generic pile carpet typical of rental conversions. it is a fine house, large and well-constructed, only recently divided into four apartments. sold now, it's going to be knocked down, replaced by a 6-story mixed use building.

                                                                     in the interim, it's been home to squatters who littered its porch with garbage and made a stinkhole of the cellar. still, inside it was immaculate: clean carpets, new cabinets, fresh paint--a curious contrast to the mess and stink at the front door. it was strange ripping up the carpets and tearing into the floors of what looked like a house waiting to be moved into. under the carpets, ingrained in the floors, a few brittle sheets of a December 1, 1937 newspaper. why were they there? what purpose had they served? a forgotten dropcloth? a protective layer? or was it a sort of intentional time capsule? if the latter, it showed how little things have changed: even then the newspaper consisted mostly of ads.