I’m writing in a closet right now. We just moved our family into town and away from the bucolic bullshit associated with our last pastoral setting because we needed to be here. We found a place that will allow us to save tons of money and the kids are closer to all of their incessant activities. It’s a win/win. But this new place doesn’t have an office. Just three bedrooms and two bathrooms and a huge open concept living area and a beautiful sun room and this enormous walk-in closet which is now my office. I’m surrounded by cheery wood accented shelving and my wife’s clothes. I’m typing amongst the flotsam of a hectic weekend move and I love it in here. I’ve got white noise and privacy which is perfect. But this doesn’t have anything to do with the piece I’m writing this week; I just thought it’d be nice to let you know where I’m sitting.
The desert to the south of here is populated by a strange people who don’t care about architectural art. Their city is plagued with strip malls and poll barns and other forms of utilitarian structures that are designed for one purpose: to make money. They’ve got national chain restaurants and sporting goods stores with huge flashing signs that illuminate their thoroughfares with the conspicuous light of consumption. It’s a bit depressing. But it’s different up here in Durango. Sure, there’s a Walmart and McDonald’s, but they don’t look like they do in other towns. Their buildings blend in with the trees and cliffs because they were painted in earth tones, and they were disallowed from constructing ten thousand foot tall signs proclaiming their existence. You see, we have ordinances, and these ordinances place beauty and value above profiteering and utility. It’s frickin’ awesome. Our buildings are constructed, for the most part, with aesthetics trumping the paradigm of “quick and easy.” And we’ve got art everywhere you look. There are mosaic sculptures of mountain lions prowling the sidewalks. There’s a bronze sculpture of Shakespeare’s “Puck” dancing over on 8th avenue. He’s shirtless and prancing in place. He’s displaying his ferrous form unabashedly for all to see. But then there’s the one piece of art that pisses off everyone. This one:
It’s okay I guess. To me, it looks like a T-Rex had sex with a banana who then had sex with a moustache. The baby from this three parent love triangle sits at the intersection of 550 and 160. But the reason people don’t like this inbred abomination has nothing to do with its parentage; they hate it because the city of Durango bought the “sculpture” from an artist in California (there’s nothing wrong with Californians, it’s just that we have plenty of local artists who should’ve been paid instead). As you’ll remember from last week’s post, even the assholes in Durango are saints. So when they protest this T-Rex/banana/moustache by way of vandalism, they do so with taste. It gets a large dinosaur head on Halloween. It gets a Santa hat on Christmas or an oversized mortar board and tassel around graduation. Someone made to miniature versions of the statue and put them at its feet as if it had babies. It’s always something, and the city has been getting pissed. But frankly, they can suck it. The people who they’ve labeled as vandals are creating through their humor a tradition. They’re making Durangan this Californian addition, and I love it.
I drove by that perfect little church on Third about two weeks ago and I watched a bride, all smiles and white lace, walk across a verdant lawn dappled with shade from antique elms. She was happy and so was her retinue. It looked like one of those perfect weddings, you know, like a dream fulfilled, and I smiled. A few days later, I noticed a wedding veil hanging from the T-Rex/banana/moustache and I smiled again (and took a picture for this blog). I just wanted to take a moment and congratulate that smiling stranger from a couple weeks ago, and I wanted to thank her for her addition to our dubitable sculpture.