I had a conversation today with someone who is not my wife! No, wait, that sounds like I sinned or cheated, or something. I mean, my wife is usually the only person to whom I speak, since there is no one at the office, and the people I pass on the street are not in the mood for chit and/or chat. By my count it has been 144 hours since I spoke to someone, not counting “thank you” to the clerk at the grocery store who did absolutely nothing but stand there waiting for someone to screw up self-checkout. It was more of a “thanks for your service” thing, a recognition that I appreciated her being there in case I was unable to remember the code for bananas.
Today I was passing through a lobby after the walk, and noticed signs that said they would be refreshing the lobby soon. Pictures like this:
Looks like every other lobby. Now it has a 90s dark-reddish wood interior, which was Rich and Sumptuous at the time, but now does not connote the proper modern, technological values. They're keeping the wood in the elevator banks.
Thinking this would be a story, I asked the security guard at the desk if I could take pictures of the way it looked now. I presented my credentials. She said, of course, that she would have to check. She checked. The building manager said I should call them and explain myself and make the request.
Oh, go to blazes. No. I told the security officer that she had narrowly averted an attack by terrorists, because I was planning to sell the shots to Al Qaeda. We had a merry conversation about the subject. She once worked at a place that had good reason to be concerned about people showing up across the street with telephoto lens, but admitted that this was a bit different.
So I’ll have to go back and just click the shutter button as I’m walking through.
Anyway, I had a little happy buzz for a few minutes, knowing that I was not rusty when it came to face-to-face conversation with fellow humans. And here’s the thing: I would never talk to this person on Zoom. There would never come an instance in which I would need to.
It’s the random stuff I miss. School, Target, Church, Skyway coffee shops.
There used to be a lot of it, and there isn't anymore.
So let's retreat into minature worlds milling with people! No, I'm not going to drop this ridiculous Theme Park Construction feature. Sorry.
Here's the park so far.
Here's the space I have to fill.
If you're wondering what the items are in the empty top region, those are closed monorail stations. I am doing the same thing I did ten years ago in Roller Coaster Tycoon: divide the area into quadrants, build up one themed area, then create the others. The first thing to do, though, is infrastructure. I build a monorail around the entire park. When possible, I run it through a mountain - because it’s fun! Not for me, but the imaginary people for whom I build this place, the ungrateful little bastards who will be throwing up on my nice paths and probably complaining because the price of novelty hats is too high.
This is the Western-themed park. Meanders nicely, I think:
Main thoroughfares, curved roads so there's always something interesting to see when you round the bend, and clear signage so you always know the way to the main drag.
For some reason I constructed a distant park done in the Fairytale Bavarian theme. It’s a long walk and probably a long monorail ride, and I don’t think it will be successful until everything else fills out.
The employees are bored and tired of the Bavarian place already.
I do all the work in pause mode, because I can’t stand to be bothered by the pesky notifications. You’re enjoying the sunset, and get a notification that a janitor is unhappy. Good lord. They’re all paid well and the work is light. Suck it up, Johanseen. (Like an old 40s movie, the janitors seem like senior citizens from Nordic countries.)
While looking around I discovered a horrible bottleneck.
So let’s build some new paths.
Ah. That works.
I’ve already made several mistakes, I can tell, but this is the practice park. The other night I called it up for a while to consider the next steps, and reached that unfortunate point: Park Paralysis, where you can't commit to anything new because it's not perfect.
Next week we'll see if I continued to be unable to do anything but tinker, or if I make some bold moves. Or quit.
Composite view of Parisian monuments, by Domenico Ferri. He’s packed in all the famous ones. The Vendome column:
Still there, of course.
The original column was started in 1806 at Napoleon's direction and completed in 1810. It was modelled after Trajan's Column, to celebrate the victory of Austerlitz; its veneer of 425 spiralling bas-relief bronze plates was made out of cannon taken from the combined armies of Europe, according to his propaganda (the usual figure given is hugely exaggerated: 180 cannon were actually captured at Austerlitz.