Hither and Thither #26

In the ’60s, Models Floated Through Paris in BubblesBeautiful, otherworldly, and just a couple of steps from a really interesting metaphor: In the ’60s, Models Floated Through Paris in Bubbles.

division squiggleI might vote for a politician that ran on a Pike-No-S-Place-Market platform. It could be called the pedant party, and I would be their queen. Seattlish would back us to our heady victory.

division squiggleI know lots of people who know just what they’d do if they suddenly inherited millions of dollars. I was reminded last night that my answer to this question is kind of unsatisfactory in the way of normal conversation. My go-to answers are that I would send my best friend to medical school, and I would buy my mom a bed and breakfast (or pay off her current mortgage; her choice). “Yeah, but what would you do for yourself?” my friend pressed. I paused and said, “Well, travel, of course. But I’d still want to make life work out here, even with that, same as I’m doing right now.”

Here’s the answer that’s much more fun to hear. If I suddenly became the owner of frankly ludicrous amounts of money, I would buy shit like this abandoned German theme park. I would turn it into a retreat for Instagram addicts, and I would keep it just as it is, a preserve for a weird blink of time.

division squiggleHere’s a word that I am delighted to have learned recently: psychogeography. It’s a much more elegant word for what I’ve always described as navigating by landmarks (due to a complete lack of any natural sense of the cardinal directions unless there’s at least one fairly large body of water nearby). So yes, I have found my way around for my entire life via psychogeography. I am one of those.

A grand thing about the internet is that these personal ways of seeing and navigating the world start to cohere across people. Enter… the UTBAPH, short for Used to Be a Pizza Hut.

Man, how I love 99% Invisible. Them and their exploration of former Pizza Huts, Pittsburgh-specific ways of giving directions, and the curious beauty of psychogeography.

division squiggleHouse on the Ave

I’m fascinated lately with places that look like other places – brief blocks or alleys here that look like they could be in Europe, for instance. Or this San Francisco-y house, perfectly and delicately lit within the magic hour, looming quietly over the Ave.

division squiggleOne of those things that, to me, neatly demonstrates how stupid sexist shit affects all genders. Man caves, dude. MAN CAVES. God, I hate it.

My dad moved into my grandma’s house after she died in late 2012. She and my grandpa built it in 1969; they added onto it a couple of times, but largely, the layout and the decor was untouched, leaving plain some questionable choices (such as having only a single window into the main living area of the house). My dad began to look at how he might begin to tailor the place to his own life, which I thought was great. I encouraged him and made my own small suggestions, hoping they’d spark his imagination.

“And I’m thinking of turning the downstairs garage into an office, maybe,” he said. “Some sliding doors in place of the garage door, you know?”

“I think that sounds like a really nice use of the space,” I told him.

“It could be my… man cave,” he said, a surprising amount of glee spreading across his face.

In the way that one does sometimes, particularly with family, I took a breath and measured my words. “Dad,” I said, “you live by yourself. Who are you escaping from?”

The glee faltered, and I felt a fleeting stab of guilt for being, once again, the family’s Debbie Downer.

But there is no man cave in the Standard Deviation Ancestral Home today, and we are all better for it.

division squiggleAnd finally, some listening for you. This week, NPR taught me that the slow cooker (praise be unto it) was created so that Jews could have a hot meal on the sabbath. Later, they made a story out of an idea I’ve had but never articulated: that yes, people can be good and skilled and work hard and make connections, but most art’s popularity is determined by timing and circumstances. Think of how many alternate realities you could extrapolate just from pop culture alone! It’s brilliant and marvelously unsettling.