Well it’s been awhile. No excuses really except the fact that my job makes me so tired I can hardly think of writing, well, ever. Though I’m working on it, I’m working on a lot of things lately.
Anyway, I’m reading this book which can’t entirely be said to have a plot. Loosely, it’s about a Parisian concierge who’s far more intelligent than her station and provides the reader with an onslaught of philosophical renderings. There’s also Paloma, whose name only gets mentioned because I am rather fond of it. Paloma is twelve, brilliant, and is desperately trying to make the tiny beauties she observes give her a reason to live. She’s stoically and meticulously planning her suicide to coincide with her thirteenth birthday. It’s called The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L’élégance du hérisson, thought don’t get too impressed I am reading it in English), which was reason enough for me, and it’s pretty much a tidy array of ponderings, observations, and philosophical musings. Now, I can see how this would not be someone’s cup of tea, there isn’t much story after all and I think if I had realized this incredible lack prior to beginning I would have said ‘meh’ and been done with it. But I didn’t, and I love it.
And, I think one reason is because the characters remind me of me. Now, I’m not claiming myself to be some sort of über-intellect, far from it. I think you’ll find I’m rather good at disparaging myself on that matter. But, at the same time, I do tend to ponder things and might be slightly overeducated, having taken a obscene amount of classes in an obscene amount of areas of study while still managing to never obtain a degree. I know that I over think things, this much is evident. I know, par exemple, that sometimes while using any of my various Instant Messaging devices I tend to start thinking of things which turn into me pretty much talking to myself as I keep adding new tidbits to the thought so that it turns into a probably really daunting block of text. I’m also often victim to endless self-analysis… which in and of itself is a bit disheartening.
A coworker, we’ll call her C, always likes to say that I hate everything. Mostly this is because recently I have been talking about how I hate Christmas (to be fair, I don’t hate Christmas, I just got sick of it fast when the stuff came in August and the songs started over a month ago) when the Valentine’s Day stuff started arriving. I will not get into my loathing of Valentine’s Day, hell all of February can go as far as I am concerned (we can move Black History Month) because I think I could devote a whole blog to it and this one is most certainly not it. When I started talking about how much I hate silly love songs (the genre not the song, ironically I don’t hate the song). But seriously, The Job plays some of the sappiest crap on the planet. And I am not against love; I just roll my eyes at the sentimentality of it… even though I know for a damned fact that I am not immune. But once ‘Endless Love’ came on for the third time (only decent when Rachel and Mr. Shue sing it… if you don’t know what I am talking about get off my blog… for refer to four blogs ago) I couldn’t help my outburst of ‘I HATE LOVE SONGS’, which… amused everyone for some reason but also prompted C to say that I hate everything. It’s really not true, though, like Paloma I try and find joy from the small things.
Things I hate could go in a long column, but so could things I like. Little things that shouldn’t matter but ultimately do. Things like plum jam, new book smell, and those pressed pennies people get at tourist attractions. And there are other things; like bridges. Berlin is said to have more bridges than Venice and more trees than – okay I can’t remember where they have more trees than, I am not sure if that’s why I love Berlin but I am sure it doesn’t hurt.
Cleveland has a lot of bridges too, and right now I am about hip deep in a project to photograph them. I don’t imagine I’ll get them al, but someday I’ll be satisfied. When I mentioned this at work they seemed to think it was really weird. Maybe it is, but I hardly think I’m alone in this particular quirk. Still, it caused me to think about why and I came to a conclusion. Someday, probably somewhere between Australopithecus and the Bronze Age (I am betting a bit nearer the former) someone was standing at a river or valley or gorge or whatever and wanted to get across. They probably stared for a good long while, annoyed by this problem. Then maybe there was some sort of storm that caused a tree to fall across this gorge which (we’ll call her) Lucy decided to cross, then one day she comes across another gorge, remember what she’s seen and feels a tree again, this time on purpose. Now, obviously, I was there, and I imagine she probably came across the fallen tree on it’s own, never wishing to cross the gorge until she could, but I can imagine this sort of scene well enough. Bridges were built out of necessity and grew into something that could be beautiful. I’m not huge on architecture (besides Gaudí, of course), I like certain style and designs but it fails to move me like it moves other people, but bridges really do it for me. There are so many fashions and elaborate techniques throughout history, but they are all there because the have to be. They connect things, make the world a little bit easier or functional at all. Cleveland and Ohio City were two different places once, before they were connected by a bridge, then another bridge, until Ohio City just became an area segmenting Cleveland for a couple blocks.
I think this may have something to do with my love of lighthouses and windmills too; they’re both simplistic in basic style while still being interesting and above all, completely functional. Someone someday realized that ships were wrecking at a certain spot and built a building to warn them away. Someone realized that they could harness the wind’s energy to generate power, to turn their wheels and grind their corn.
I am not sure what this says about me. That I’m practical and like practical things? I am not certain that’s true. While I do form opinions and ideals centered around a certain amount of logic I can’t imagine anyone would accuse me of being overly practical; practical people don’t buy books instead of food or stay up too late watching trashy TV when they know their alarm is going off at 4:00am. They also tend to have their lives in order a site bit more than I, and they don’t dream of running off to Las Vegas to become a cocktail waitress just because they think it would be fun. So I am left with simple aesthetics then. Maybe I just like the looks of bridges, and lighthouses and windmills. Maybe there is no real reason and I just spent hours upon hours analyzing something pointlessly.
Well, at least that’s nothing new.