Thursday, April 07, 2005

GATED COMMUNITY WITHOUT THE GATES

IF I WERE TO PUT A 'YOU ARE HERE' DOT ON A MAP, AND DRAW A CIRCLE AROUND THAT DOT, TAKING IN THE RANGE OF MY DAILY AND TYPICAL LIFE, THAT CIRCLE WOULD ENCOMPASS A SMALL WORLD. THE HOUSE, THE SHOPPING, THE OFFICE, THE SCHOOL, THE RESTAURANTS, ALL, WOULD BE WITHIN A SMALL RING. MOST OF MY FRIENSHIPS, ( MY CIRCLE OF FRIENDS ), DEVELOPED WITHIN IT.
EXCLUDE THE OCCASIONAL EXCURSIONS OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE...THAT TRIP TO BRAZIL OR THE JOURNEY IN WEST AFRICA, BRIEF EXCEPTIONS BOTH, AND THE CIRCLE OF MY LIFE IS TINY.
I LIVE IN A COCOON. A BUBBLE.
MOST OF US DO.
WE STRAY VERY LITTLE BEYOND THE ANCHOR-POINT OF OUR LIVES, AND WHEN WE DO, IT'S IN THE CAPSULE OF OUR CARS. OUR HOMES EXPAND AS OUR CONTACT WITH THE WORLD CONTRACTS. FRONT PORCHES HAVE BECOME UNUSED ARCHITECTURAL STATEMENTS WITH THE A/C ON INSIDE.
OUR NEIGHBORHOODS HAVE PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD TO LIVE IN THEM. THERE'S AN IMPLIED COMMONALITY, A LIKEMINDEDNESS, BY THE VERY ACT OF CHOOSING ( OR BEING LIMITED ) TO LIVE IN A PLACE. IT'S LIKE A GATED COMMUNITY WITHOUT THE GATES.

IT'S BEEN SAID THAT NEW YORK IS NOT A BIG CITY BUT ACTUALLY A BUNCH OF SMALL NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE PEOPLE LIVE.

NEXT: HOW DOES THIS AFFECT US?

20 comments:

hans blix said...

I think it might not be such a bad thing if people actually lived in neighbourhoods and that their small circle was a vibrant community. The problem is that we live in small geographic places but don't have any sense of belonging to a community. By that I mean place where your butcher comes to your funeral. We have the worst of both worlds. We don't go very far (the world comes to us in ways it never did before) but we don't know our neighbours' parents names. We have more access to the rest of the world than we have ever had before but we know less and less about it because we don't know very much about that small circle we travel through every day.

quicksand said...

DR. BLIX, I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE....( ALTHOUGH YOUR SPELLING OF 'NEIGHBOUR' TELLS ME THAT YOU'RE NOT FROM THE SOUTH BRONX, AS AM I ).
I'M ASSUMING THAT YOU'RE NOT HANS BLIX...BUT YOU ARE SOMETHING. ALWAYS MAKING INCITEFUL POINTS. I'D LIKE TO SAY THAT YOUR COMMENTS ARE EXACTLY WHERE I WAS PLANNING ON TAKING THIS. I WASN'T. I PLAN ON GOING OUTWARD FROM THE 'CIRCLE' WHILE YOU LOOKED INWARD.
YES, FRONT PORCHES ARE GONE. AIR CONDITIONING IS IN. WE ARE A BIT LIKE I-POD-WEARING PODS.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXCELLENT COMMENTS.

Purple Haze said...

Mr Quicksand, I can't hardly believe that you spelled COCOON wrong--however your view on life is most astute--my radius is quite a bit larger tham yours as I live 37 miles from home to work. I hope to travel up-island a lot less when I retire (like you) and I often wonder if the fabric of my life will shrink as does my mileage?

quicksand said...

I LIVE IN A SPELLING COCOON. NEVER JOINED IN WITH THE SPELLERS ON THE PLAYGROUND.

MilesDavis said...

Dear Quicksand, I think that when I retire my mileage may in fact also shrink... (Gee, I hope nothing else shrinks...like my brain?)Anyway, we can expand our sojourns by taking monthly little adventures! nothing too grandiose..like on Saturday I visited Washington Sq. Sat on a bench on a lovely spring morning and watched the dogs romp together in a dog run. All was sublime until I witnessed a Pit bull attack and rip off the ear of a sweet little terrier...Yipes!

hans blix said...

Miles Davis' expeuence in Wash Sq Park says a lot about why we live in gated community without the gates. We have become afraid to face life in all the forms it presents itself. We don't want to see that dogs bite off each other's ears or that there may, in fact, be poor people in our little circle who sleep in cardboard boxes. We don't want to face the fact that life is nasty, brutish and short so we are careful that kids never play outside and certainly never engage in activities that don't have adult supervision. Cutting ourselves off from the facrt that the world can be a nasty place means we live empty sanitized lives that are not only environmentally criminal but pretty empty.

quicksand said...

IT USED TO BE FREE-RANGE CHILHOOD.
IT SLOWLY AND STEADILY BECAME... SUNSCREEN...WATCH OUT FOR TICKS...
THEWEATHER'S TOO HOT... OR COLD ...ALLERGENS
...LAWSUITS...ANTIBIOTICS...
SUSPICION...ESTEEM.
WE'RE TALKING WHITEBREAD WITHOUT THE CRUSTS.
PIT BULL AND TERRIER...WHICH POLITICAL PARTY DOES EACH BELONG TO?

MilesDavis said...

I don't know Mr.Blix. I consider my world pretty damn good so far and recently it's gotten better. As for the occassional random acts of violence..you can keep em. I don't need to see em first hand to know they exist. Hey, I really like this discourse! Thanks Quicksand!!!

hans blix said...

Sorry but I am a bit of a hit and run blogger. My guess is that pitbulls and terriers are both sides of the same coin in the same way as the two parties are. Sometimes they bite, most of the time they just bark.
Milesdavis, I'm glad that life is good. I wish it for everyone, but life is like a David Lynch movie. We may want to believe that the world is a sanitized place but there is nastiness beneath the surface. The real question is how we deal with it. We can choose to be Bible thumpers and blame it all on original sin and say that everyone except the chosen few are damned. Or we can try to soften its edges, keep pushing it back like we have done for the last 2000 years by developing notions of civilty, compassion, solidarity and equality. But even with that, the human soul needs a dark side. Switzerland has been a neutral, sanitized place for 1000 years. Name me one good piece of art or music that has come from there. I can say the same for Tacoma, Wichita...The Medicis and the Borgias were a bunch of hedonistic, sex-mad, wine drinking, gorging brutes, yet they gave us great art, architecture and beauty. Go figure.

MilesDavis said...

Dear Hans, I truly enjoy reading what you have to say. It's good exercise for my somewhat feeble brain. But Switzerland neutral? Weren't they involved in money laundering of billions of dollars of assets illegally seized from Jews during the holocaust? And no works of Art from Switzerland? Mr. Blix, have you ever slipped a Rolex or Philippe Patek on your wrist? Truly a work to behold and not just for keeping track of the time.

hans blix said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hans blix said...

Miles, there is a difference between what a country's official policy is and what its private citizens and corporations do. Just because there are lots of Americans opposed to war and take part in heroic humanitarian activities, like Marla Ruzicka, who died in Iraq trying to get info on innocent victims of war) does not make the United States any less involved in a war. Swiss banks did steal billions and probably will continue to do so. But the last time I checked, the Swiss had not declared war on anyone or taken part in a war on some other country for at least a thousand years. As for Rolex and Patek being works of art, I grant you they are beautiful consumer items. I am not sure I would put them in the same category as Brunelleschi's dome or a Bellini sculpture. These are unique wqorks, not commercial products that are reproduced as often as there is someone willing to fork out the money for them. In 100 years time, 400 years time, no one will trek thousands of miles to be awed by them. I'm willing to bet that if the planent hasn't melted by them, people will still flock to Florence and they will still be left speechless by Michelangelo's David. This is why it is better to leave our little daily circle where they may be lots of Pateks and Rolexes but not too many Michelangelos.

quicksand said...

PHILIPPE PATEK ? WHAT DOES A TIGHT-ROPE WALKER HAVE TO DO WITH THIS DISCUSSION?

quicksand said...

YOU HEARD OF CALVIN AND HOBBES...


OR WAS IT ....

JOHN LOCKE AND THOMAS HOBBES

MilesDavis said...

Oh come now Hans, you've really lost it. Is there really a difference in a country's official policy and what its private citizens and corporations do? Explain The role of Haliburton and our recent bullshit enterprise into Iraq. Also, Art and it's appreciation is purely subjective and your labeling Swiss watches as merely "commercial products" show a naivete as to what constites art. Most art, even art that was encouraged by the church was at some point "commercial"(Case in point..Faberge) Gee...I don't feel so dumb after all....thanks Hans!!!!

MilesDavis said...

P.S. Hey Hans...How the fuck do you know what people will be going to see 100 or 400 years from now???
Separation between private industry and government policy??? Look up ..Industrial Military Complex... Sport.

MilesDavis said...

Please excuse my rashness and use of expletives on the last comment, But I would gladly trade all the artwork in Florence for the life of one child needlessly killed in an air attack in Iraq.

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