October 3, 2017 (Tuesday)

by Yule Heibel on October 2, 2018

Prepared? Unprepared? How do I feel about my trip, my departure this afternoon to Florence? Prepared? Unprepared? Some of both? I’ll take Option Three, please…

I know something – some things. But I know a lot of nothing, too. No things. Do the some things and the no things vie for importance, almost like on some kind of mental scale? “I’m weighty!” “No, I’m weightier.” Positive / negative, which one “wins”? It’s almost as if life itself does this constant weighing exercise. The only wisdom, perhaps, lies in knowing what to allow on the scales in the first place. Can’t let everything on, for sure. But how do you know, when you don’t?

It’s sunny, but still cold. What to pack? To wear? Shoes? Sandals? Layers on top? Travel light, they say. But freezing and sweating are both uncomfortable-making. You don’t want “normal” discomfort when traveling – you want more.

Pain? No. Not that.

How to parse the pain of a country awash in weaponry. This Las Vegas shooter had twenty-three guns at home (what a home that must be…), and nineteen in the hotel room with him. He only had two arms, of course. Arms. Oh Superman – 1982 Laurie Anderson comes to mind (“So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. / Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms. / In your electronic arms”). Why do we call weapons “arms”? Because we think they allow us to handle things?

Who knows. We’re an irrational, unpredictable lot, there’s no way around that. It’s interesting how so many things I used to care about more “passionately” (such a Silicon Valley buzzword…) have atrophied. I had to think of my podcast subscriptions, and how I’ve lost interest in some (many?) of them.

It’s hot, the sun is pounding on the vast expanse of sunroom window glass. How do those people in Zaha Hadid’s building on the High Line stand it? Or the people in any of those buildings which are basically designed as if they were giant sunrooms? I do not believe that glass technology is so good as to allow “just the right amount” of heat to flood in. Technology almost never works as advertised, and in the end the older technologies make more sense for older things, like housing, which is ancient. Older technologies would include siting, exterior shutters, exterior awnings. But all these things are banished in the kind of modernism espoused by Hadid or in the glass “supertalls.” You might see it on smaller-scale green buildings (I’m thinking of “smart” awnings and shades on Dockside Green buildings in Victoria), but not on the behemoths which genuflect to style.

Brassy no-compromise style is uncomfortable. You don’t really need that level of discomfort, not where you live nor when you travel.


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