Cats can inspire you to do strange things. And not just via the toxoplasmosis.
I’m jazzed someone’s thought to do this. I realized some months ago that I’ve lived in Capitol Hill long enough that some of the older layers of businesses and buildings are fading in memory. What did that storefront used to be? How many things have been on that corner in the years I’ve been walking by? I am a watcher of things, and yet still, some parts of the past fade. It’s a strange benefit of Street View that you can layer the past and present like this.
Speaking of lost city culture, KUOW just posted a great roundup of parts of Capitol Hill that haven’t shifted: the communes. As a lover of both alternative means of community and living and as a person who considers The Golden Girls to be equal parts comedy and aspiration, I love every bit of this. (For another view of San Francisco’s changing face, look at this wonderfully deep dive into the data yielded from AirBnB.)
On conventions spoken and unspoken; on the elements of living and being that rise up unchallenged when we don’t allow outsiders to examine and respond.
I read Conundrum a few months ago. I have a lot to say about this book for a lot of reasons, but I’m thinking of a particular element here. To give a glimpse into the altered ordinariness of her life post-transition, the author depicts a morning of her life in her village, and one thing she finds remarkable (in the classic sense, in that she feels compelled to remark upon it in particular) is her new interest in the smaller stories that come from people’s lives, rather than the great sweeping tendencies and events that shape civilization at the macro level. She’d spent her earlier life studying cultures and history at the high level; to suddenly be interested in the baker’s husband or the tailor’s daughter was a strange but joyous surprise.
I thought of it because of this excellent post at a blog I like very much. These small detours and choices and changes, these shape civilizations too. And I think it’s crucial to have people who understand the importance of the individual journey in places where decisions are made. People who think they can evaluate the world in averages and high-level views, people who think like that and make decisions that alter lives… these are also people who can destroy lives. And will, blithely, without ever knowing.
So yes, small things mean something. Even those stupid, frustrating stick figure family configurations on the backs of vehicles that somehow always manage to be the worst minivan/SUV/other car to get behind at a stoplight.
Urban explorers ignored their usual tenets and explored the grave of a person still alive.
I came for the story of a strange and particular job, I stayed for the many, many handjob puns.
Long before our era of big data: small data.
What am I listening to? Er… mostly, I”m marathoning Coffee Break French in anticipation of a trip that’s coming up in (eep) less than a month. Je viens de St. Louis, mais maintenant j’habite a Seattle. I’ll do fine in Belgium.
It’s a busy, strange time, with all the attendant possibilities, excitement, disappointments, late nights, overfull schedules, and uncertainty that usually comes with busy, strange times. My brain seems to be finally, wonderfully coming around to the fact that school is done and normal life is back, meaning I can meander again (as much as I ever did), and take pictures and see things and do things and be a better vessel for the whole wide world. I do have a few suggestions for you, should you happen to also be in the greater Seattle area.
Spend an evening (no, seriously, the whole evening) seeing a long and excellent play. The best way to do this: go see it with someone who also loves the book. Use the dinner break to have a picnic by International Fountain.
Be adventurous and go see Teatro Zinzanni. It’s not perfect (more than anything, I emerged missing Circus Contraption more acutely than usual), but it’s a fun, lavish city institution, and I think that’s reason enough to do something. Pro tip: try the Poofy Doos.
Drop an astonishingly meager number of dollars (or, seriously, just get a membership – no barrier between you and art!) and see the Art Deco Japan exhibit at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. (For extra fun, keep room in the afternoon for the conservatory too.) Art Deco and the style of traditional Japanese art and decor are a beautiful match in a way I’d never considered. The artful alteration of traditional patterns to fit Art Deco chevrons, the peculiar nature of the period of abstract art made extra beautiful when it collides with traditional Japanese linework… I could nerd out about this for quite a while, but I’ll spare you. Just go. Unlike the Peru exhibit at SAM, this is collaboration and inspiration between cultures, not appropriation or erasure.
Or just go outside and watch people frolic like new lambs. It’s Seattle in the summer. That’s enough.