I went walking to @shopjunket yesterday, running late enough that I decided to take the @midtowngreenway so I’d cut down on waiting for traffic signals and tiptoeing around relic blizzard drifts (@visitlakestreet doesn’t have a special service district and the sidewalks have been near impassable this winter). But just east of Lyndale I ran into a friend doing art and suddenly instead of speed-walking to Junket for a pair of scissors, I was sauntering on a Thing-Finding, photo-taking adventure to @urbanforagewinery.
This was the scene under the highway bridge (see last photo), MNDOT’s white paint no match for the real world, the chaotic and beautiful mess coming through as the outer layer sloughed off.
Order is alluring, the illusion of external control. My favorite paper is graph, I read organizational books for fun, I collect day planners like a naturalist checking off new species. But the mask is fragile, always, and fighting to put it on the world often does more harm than good.
So much of car culture is about imposing a rigid order on our cities, promising the privileged that they need never talk to someone who doesn’t look like them, that they will escape the vagaries of social discomfort. We promise them LOS and efficiency, 35 mph ten feet from other people’s kids playing in the greening yard, straight lines, white paint.
But that’s all a lie because life isn’t the straight lines and blank canvasses and stoplights timed to be green for miles for cars. It’s the paint bursting from beneath, running into friends, being waylaid. The grid, the canvas, the destination are starting points to keep us from being paralyzed by possibility, just magnetic enough to pull us out of ourselves and towards the messiness of one another. (Friend’s art here: gugeo.blogspot.com)