Sunday, August 26, 2012
In graduate school, at least in graduate school for literature, you hear a lot about space. More than you'd think. The idea of public space and private space factor heavily into theory about, say, The House of Mirth (this is actually a really good example, because most events in this book happen indoors, so the ones that happen outdoors become particularly significant). You start talking about things like gendered spaces, whatever that means. I knew a girl in my thesis class who was thinking of writing on the gendered architecture of Middlemarch, and I was like, that sounds fascinating, because, on some level it does, but on another level, I'm all, what?
In any case, living in New York made me particularly mindful of space, because private space is so, so limited, which makes public spaces hugely important. And New York is full of them. Chock full. And I love it. I think that's what's part of what makes the city feel so personal. Public spaces are the great leveler. It doesn't matter how rich you are, or how many investment bankers you know, or where you park your Range Rover, if you want to let your kids play on the grass, or have a picnic, or fly a kite, you come to the same park as me. You sit on the same ground and drink from the same water fountain (that part's a lie, I never drink from water fountains unless I'm out running. I see too many chumps letting their dogs drink).
Edie and I go for walks everyday ( I don't know why I say it that way, Edie doesn't spend too much time actually walking; I'm the one pushing around her baby chariot), and I keep a sharp eye out for public spaces. We've found a few, but mostly what I think are parks are actually the rolling front lawns of massive houses.
I still lay out my panda bear blanket and relax, and if the owners complain, I just start in about the gendered spaces in Middlemarch.