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What I realized in the end is that I don’t like nice things.

It went down like so – I was talking to someone it’s been a long time since I talked to.  We made plans to meet where we first met all those years ago in Kent.  So Kent is a place I’ve always been fond of – something about growing up there, kind of.  And walking around – there are few places-  the 6 way intersection on Main where we stood around waiting – and the row of crummy frat houses – and then across the way… the new library or community center?  The coffee shop, I don’t care to discuss, the old neighborhood where I once lived – all Very Sleek – new & modern style.  Chain sandwich shops, that fakey weird ersatz plaza style you see around nowadays.  It doesn’t sit well and I talk a bit about how I really wish for a thing that is the same.  I wish kind of earnestly for continuity of place.  And I’m shut down and at a loss.  Places change.  I remember that buildings are supposed to make you feel good but most don’t.  I remember building buildings like this.  Quotes on yards of brick & block & stucco facades.  I remember tenants & feeling a vague shame about constructing these unappealing bunkers used only for commerce.
Things change whether you’d like them to or not, that’s the same old story.  We have our time in Kent and then she drives me back downtown and there I’m more at home.  There, you see the buildings, the good ones.  Something about them – you know, they make you feel good.  We’re walking and talking and thinking about it.  I’m thinking about it-  she’s got other matters in mind. 
Mass culture.  That’s the thing.  I used to have nicer things and I didn’t care to keep on chasing them.  At the bar where we end the night out I’m trying to explain – there’s the same bottle of the same bourbon and there’s the granite bartop and there’s the same lights and the same chairs and the same things, all the same things that you find at every other bar that’s putting on a demonstration of ambient class. 
I’m thinking now of that place in Buffalo where I went with the Dark Lord after his shift at the convenience store.  The walls were made of old car hoods and people were actively spray painting them – it was winter and the windows were broken – snow was drifting around them and the very extremely coked-up sex-workers who came to gawk at us and who threw bottles and had bottles thrown at them, and the glass all swept in the corner and left, and the home-made off brand moonshine in reused Jack Daniels bottles.  I’ve never seen something like that again, never before either. 
Mass culture – there’s a standard of what it is to be upper middle class and or aspirant to it, there’s a marketable, identifiable baseline of appropriate quality & form, and it’s always, always soft & bland and easy to digest.  I remember selling cars and being irritated-  you can have  beige interior or a grey interior.  Agatha says – “If I knew someone and they said their favorite color is beige – I’d think they were robots or aliens.”  Cause it’s not anyone’s favorite but they’re inoffensive and thus commercial.  So you have the strip mall of chain sandwich joints and the same bar in the lobby of all the hotels and nobody is offended – except maybe me.  I try explaining it but she’s onto something else & again and always – I know that I’ll never be able to explain an never should persuade a lady to enjoy the broken & horrible the way I do.
I’m told it’s because I have an excess of privilege because I’m huge and thus not fearful in the way that most people are.  Maybe that’s true.  I think about the times people have tried to make me feel afraid and usually it’s about money and usually I ignore them.  Don’t pay your bills and you can’t have nice things – that’s what they tell you.
But nice things are all nice in the same boring way.  Mass culture.  Buildings are supposed to make you feel good, but most don’t.  Downtown the buildings give you a sense of permanence & continuity.  They’re huge and stone and built more than a hundred years ago, you see, before mass culture and mass production, before things were inoffensive first.  They make you feel a good way about the world – or a bad or angry way.  But a way.  They command your interest.  They’re not nice but rather grand & impoing.
Nice things are all nice in the same way – ruined things – and I know this from my time exploring the ruins  -they’re all ruined in their own way.  Every ruin is its own place every wasteland is uniquely itself and unattainable.
We talk about the nice hotel rooms.  I tell her – downtown the best place is or was the Wilsonn school.  The abandoned elementary school that you have to enter through a partly flooded basement.  Some explorers went there and brought a bunch of carnival sized stuffed animals – the big prize ones and they set them up as an audience and presumably they put on a play. When I was there there were dusty programs laying around.  Every place is nice in the same way – but I’m one of maybe 30 people?  At the outside, who went to the Wilsonn school and saw the weird stuffed animal audience and experienced the uncanny personal efforts that are the part of a ruin that can’t be translated & can’t be made on a mass scale. 
“It’s not for everyone.”  That seems to mean it’s probably for me.

Date: 2016-10-19 11:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mordicai.livejournal.com
This cookie cutter "nice things" you describe is not the only model.

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