Monday, April 9, 2018

Wednesday 6 May 1998 – Shaker's

I'm at breakfast again, at a little touristy diner—not really touristy, but close enough to the tourist area to attract them in summer when you can't get in here. It's still early enough, in the year, however, to be safe to come here, and there's a long counter, so it's easy to come in by yourself. Actually, this place is a hangout for the local artists, being in the local art district, where old warehouses have been converted into artists' lofts, which are now really upscale and popular places to live, and out of the price-range of all but the most successful of artists. I guess there must be this brief window of time when the warehouses are being converted from warehouses to places where people can live and work for very little money, but that always seems to be a boat that I miss everywhere I've ever lived. I don't know, maybe it's all a myth. Apparently, many of the artists are now having babies, judging by the people with babies in here—it's their current version of art. Actually, the artist that can now afford to have babies are the ones who are successful, and the ones that are successful are no longer painting but doing video installations and other multimedia extravaganzas. From what I've read about our local art community. There are still the few old timers, the old holdouts who like to go out on the pier with their easel and watercolors and paint lobster boats. They can even make a few dollars during tourist season, but they certainly can't afford to live in this new artist warehouse loft neighborhood.

Even more prominent than berets and babies in this place this morning are cell phones. I'm sitting at the counter looking into a big series of mirrors and I can survey damn near the whole place without twisting around on my stool or craning my neck, and this makes it a good place for observation and reflection, so to speak. And what I see, in the booths and at the tables behind me, are a lot of people talking on their phones. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it's not even the artists who come here any more, maybe it's just the real estate people.

I suppose there'll be a time not long at all from now that when you get phone service turned on it will be cell phone service—and it'll be the only choice. It'll be as affordable as anything. Why not? It's one of those inventions that just makes sense. It's not like it's creating a need that people don't have, or selling people something that is already free (water, air) like so many businesses—it's understandable that people would like to be able to take their phone with them. You fell in love—you're waiting by the phone—hell, take the phone with you, then the phone is waiting by you. You may be miserable, in love, but you can still go to the laundromat, the video store, and drive around in the car and park in front of her house and will her to call—call! I guess at this point the automobile, and the traffic jam, and the commute are leading factors in cell phone popularity. If I was in that kind of phone oriented, drive here and there business—hell yes. I'm all for useful technology as such, telecommunications, tele com, the future. But right now, the cell phone is still a symbol of ostentatiousness—and it's still a negative thing in Portland, Maine, where there are poor people and rich people, and the poor people are trying to make a living doing art or doing nothing or pulling lobsters from the sea in a leaky boat, and the rich people are people who own the land and own the buildings and rent the living space to the poor people. And in some cases it goes all the way back to the sailors who came here from god-knows-where and killed everyone and started gridding out the land.

No comments:

Post a Comment