Introvert guilt

Introvert guilt: a feeling felt by introverts who leave or avoid social activities to spend time alone.

This weekend I went on a trip for the LA studio class I’m taking next semester.  Every time I sign up for a class trip like this I’m excited until sometime midway through day two of highly structured group activities that run from 9 am to well past 9 pm.

Some people thrive off of this kind of environment and I can see why.  It’s dynamic and somewhat invigorating to constantly have people to share your opinions with.  It’s not meant for people who mentally recharge best in a quiet, empty room, maybe with a book or television for company.

The world is not designed for introverts.  It’s designed for people who enjoy, even need, packed days and constant company to fend off loneliness.  Our culture has an obsession with the idea that sociable = happy and “anti-social” = unhappy.

When I opted to go back to the rented condo at nine pm on Saturday night instead of going to a gallery opening, there was this awkward series of questions about how I was feeling (“Fine!”) and what I was going to do (“Run, read, catch up on email…?”)  But I ran the gauntlet and ended up curled up on my twin bed, noshing on hummus and veggies and reading American Gods.   

And gosh, I was so content.  I woke up the next morning at seven am, stretched, and worked out for almost 90 minutes.  I was a ball of happy energy all day.

Still, I felt a little guilty.  As it turns out, Danny DeVito was at the club that my friends went to after the gallery opening.  And after that, everyone went to get authentic LA Mexican food.  Maybe, maybe you missed out on something, my brain said.  Maybe you should have gone.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Everyone functions in a different way.  On a different night, going out would have been a great choice.  After eight hours of discussion and conversation and group meals I was ready to quietly spend some time alone.

I fought back these guilty feelings and just.. let go.  This is who I am, and it’s not hurting anyone if I want to spend an evening alone.  If anything, it enabled me to better contribute to the next day’s discussion as I felt reenergized.

Introvert guilt– not worth my time.



On Bullshit, Architecture and Locale

I think information should be layered in our environment.  Cultural information.  Not didactically.  It should be an integral part.  When I say layered, if you are interested, you extract it.

– M. Paul Friedberg

I generally don’t like listening to architects talk about their design philosophy.  As a historian, it rarely tells me anything illuminating and tends to wind up coming out sounding eloquent but vapid and meaningless.  Even the great Louis Kahn is guilty of this– I doubt many people really ‘get’ what he meant when he said that a brick wants to be an arch.

The fascinating thing is that it’s part of some unspoken code of architecture that nobody can call them on it.  Architects (and academics!) consider a good conversation or a skillfully written paper one that involves a slew of ten cent words, with bonus points issued for words like orthagonality or interstitial.

Some might call this jargon and argue that every field has it.  I call it bullshit and argue that for a profession so concerned with urbanism and the human condition, why are we so incapable of speaking in a manner that the common man can understand?

A large part of what I believe is wrong with design is the simple fact that there is a massive disconnect between the architect and the people inhabiting the spaces he/she designs.  Almost all of the interventions, particularly in public urban places, that make a space into something unique and reflective of the community are initiated not by architects but by either local artists or residents.  This disconnect can be traced back to architectural education, but that’s an entirely different post.

Whenever I visit a new place, the elements that stand out to me aren’t monumental or part of the canon of architectural history.  It’s the love locks on the fences of Cinque Terre, the subversive graffiti in Berlin and the metal plaques with quotes from Joyce’s Ulysses placed throughout Dublin.  Those little changes in the environment initiated by nobody noteworthy enough to give a lecture at a major university that seem, to me, so much more significant than the most lauded monuments of contemporary design.

I heard the above quote from M. Paul Friedberg in a podcast (99% Invisible) where he argues that we should be imprinting our poetry, our history, our culture upon the built environment.  What if every designer could rise to the challenge of putting a little bit of local culture into their work?  Would that lead to an architecture that is truly for the people?

7. Take one weekend adventure per month [November, Orange County]

So I didn’t get the chance to blog about last month’s adventure, but I wound up taking a wonderful trip down the coast to Monterey.  Many pictures were taken (which may materialize later… looking at you, Tom!), much seafood was eaten and I was able to finish a book while lounging on a rock at the beach. Overall, an awesome trip.

I decided to make this item less ambitious over the holidays since I’ll be doing a lot of traveling (and spending a lot of money!) to see family.  This weekend I’m in Orange County visiting my uncle, aunt and cousins.  Since they’ll be moving to Kansas City in a couple months I feel super lucky to get to spend some more time with them (and in such a beautiful place!)

After Thanksgiving dinner, my cousin and I made our annual pilgrimage to Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point.  I’m always pretty amazed by how stunningly beautiful this place is.  Shame that this is our last Thanksgiving in California!  Maybe next year we’ll be writing our names in the snow.

Walking down to the beach

Walking down to the beach

Sunset over the ocean

Sunset over the ocean

Toes in the sand! Something you can't do in SF...

Toes in the sand! Something you can’t do in SF…

Took some cute selfies!

Took some cute selfies!

.. and some silly selfies.

.. and some silly selfies.

actually,  a lot of silly selfies.

actually, a lot of silly selfies.