And so castles made of sand fall in the sea...eventually

Rushing Family Vacation 2011 is in the books. My hope was that during the week a couple of new posts would write themselves. That did not occur, but I developed several promising concepts. The week has taken its toll and I can’t seem to bring my thoughts to focus (it also doesn't help that I can't tear away from Radiohead performing King of Limbs in its entirety on Paladia...again). Therefore, it is with shame that I offer several short, unconnected thoughts as this week’s post (Hendrix references at no extra charge):

-I do not recommend going to the beach immediately following Shark Week.
-There is something strangely unsettling about hordes of Lacoste-clad, white folk lounging about on porches. (read: Seaside)
-I reject the widespread, anachronistic use of the medieval English typology of sandcastle. I believe that in the cathedrals of LeCorbusier (there are 3) and the works of Gaudi, sandcastles find their highest inspiration.

While playing in the sand I had this conversation with a kindly gentleman who happened by:
Kindly Gentleman: That’s a good-looking castle you have there.

Me: It’s Corbusier’s Eglise Saint-Pierre in Firminy-Vert. 

Kindly Gentleman: (pregnant pause)

Me: It’s a hyperbolic paraboloid.

Kindly Gentleman: …carry on.

Yeah, its a hyperbolic paraboloid. (and)
Spanish Castle Magic.

-While we’re doing the dialogue thing, the following exchange occurred more than once:
Me: Spence, when I was your age, none of this shi…none of this stuff was here. We stayed in these few little cabins (Sea Grove Villas) and the rest was forest for as far as the eye could see…
Spence: Yeah, you already said that.
Me: We spent our time fighting horse flies, having bottle-rocket fights and peeling shrimp for the grown-ups…
Spence: Right, did you get to play x-box?
Me: (pregnant pause)...just peel the shrimp Spence…

Oh, the difference 35 years make.

The primary driver of change between the Sea Grove of my youth and current day, was the development of Seaside. Seaside is the landmark town that put New Urbanism on the map. Reams have been written about the importance of the place, I have nothing to add. However, last week I promised to write about my latest impressions. Here goes.

I set aside one night of the vacation for some “me time”. After the family was tucked-in, I poured myself a stiff one, grabbed a cigar and stole off to the beach under the full moon. I was there for an hour and a half, but in reality it was a single moment, a single experience. I enjoyed the entire time, but it was just a snapshot. It reminded me of too many summer blockbuster movies that seemingly start with a stunningly beautiful image and contort the “plot” to justify its eventual display on the screen. When that moment arrives, it is indeed beautiful, but also seems a bit contrived and lacks depth.

While in Seaside I happened across a home
designed by my favorite architect.

I suppose that would be my latest impression of Seaside. Having been there a half-dozen times or so, I am no expert on the place. However, every trip there feels like Groundhog Day. Aside from some new-to-me food trucks on 30A, the place is exactly as I remember from previous visits. I do not find it to be fake or nefarious in any way, I actually quite like the place. However, there is an intangible quality of something not quite right, not quite “real”. Perhaps it’s the beach, perhaps it’s the lack of a non-tourist economic raison d'etre, perhaps the fact that the place has no history beyond 25-years. More likely it is my inability to wind down, relax and enjoy a place of slower pace. I will, however, readily concede that the critique of Seaside being cliché and staged is cliché and staged. Despite all of that, it is one my favorite places to visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment