Sunday, August 19, 2007

When I was growing up, Salina had a small dirty place called Bogeys. Its name being an homage to Humphry Bogart, star of many classic movies including Casablanca. Bogeys was one of those odd businesses, ones that prosper enought to stay open but were slow to adopt some modern conviences. It was located down a small residential side street in an aged commercial strip. My friend Andrew's grandparents lived a few doors away, and I always thought they had cleverly picked out a wonderful location, especially for their grandchildren. I can not remember how much a vanilla cone was, but it was a convient amount for young boys to find under the sofa, slip into the lower left pocket in their cargo shorts, and zip over on a bike ride in the afternoons. The perfect word for this perfect time is halycon.

I was a fairly nieve youth, and in retrospect I have little doubt that Bogeys had its fair share goofieness. It was located near a small college, and the drinking habits of Lutherins are legend. It seems like the type of place where the afternoon fry dude was ahead of the late 90's low-fat trend and was staying baked all summer long. It was one of those places that had a venier of family friendly, yet somehow was never able to clean up that tacky feeling you could have sitting on the benches. Salina has a hyperactive health inspector, and pure bribery was the only way they could have stayed open. I find this type of activity somehow comforting. While Im sure there was some "plan" to Bogeys, the beauty was that in being left alone it had a personality that made it a home in my heart.

Casablanca (dar bidia) Morocco is not unlike Bogeys in some ways. It certainly has a tackyness to it. A certain trashiness pervades. Yet, somehow this is a different trash. This isnt clean, its not a family friendly place. Even the fry guy would be scared away. The same things (bribes, thc, etc) that a person might find so quirky their more intense incarnation down right troublesome.

I read recently that Casa was the first town in the world laid out and designed entirely by airplane. Ive known that the town was heavily built up by the French and Spanish during their time here, but this seems to confirm that the random hand that creates beauty was held back. Its not that European colonial powers make ugly things, it is just difficult for the natural forces to take over. Could this artificial additive be connected to the slums that have become so well known there? Poverty mixed with religous extreamism is an explosive combination as the town has experienced over and over.

Im not advocating that Casa be left to mellow out on its own. That the forces of international trade will give jobs to the unwashed masses. I am trying to point out that planned expansions and modern cities often seem to lack a certain connected feeling that evolves naturally in many processes. These can help make something that would be bad, into something acceptable. But if prevented can lead to determential mixes that have the opposite effect of what the planning was trying to achieve.

Besides, who ever heard of using an air plane to plan a city?

Sadly, a few years ago Bogeys built a new building, and cleaned up its act.

I spend half of the ride home today trying to use my book (globalization and its discontents) as a pillow . I spent another part serving as a pillow for the kid next to me who passed out on my shoulder with his bus ticket in his mouth.

That above post sorta implise a dirtyness on the part of Moroccan people. Its not true. I think people here are much cleaner than most Americans would be in similar situations. I am sure I have the dirtiest house in town.

Also, it suggests that residences of suburban American could be prone to violence because they are not exposed to natural randomness and beauty.

No comments: