Vernacular

Question of the Day: How far from the edge of a road can you be before you become just regular vernacular architecture, as opposed to roadside vernacular architecture?

Related anecdote: As a wee little kiddie, I used to go to Story Book Land on Route 1 near Woodbridge Virginia . . . very roadside, very vernacular, very architecture. Drove by it, oh, I dunno, five years ago or so I guess, and the little concrete scultptures and statues were still visible under the weeds and trash and graffiti and decay and whatnot, and it made me really goddamn sad–not from the passing of a piece of kitsch culture, but for the lost innocence or whatever it is that makes it possible to kids to be so pleased by something(s) so simple and stupid, and for a simple and stupid place like that to have had such meaning for me and my sister as a kid.

When and why do our adult tastes get so specialized and specific that we become hard to please? When you’re three years old, a plaster animal–any plaster animal–is endlessly fascinating, and fills you with joy. At forty-three, you need certain brands, certain things, delivered certain ways, by certain people, who work in certain stores, in certain industries, and if you pay more than a certain amount, then there’s a certain amount of resentment that poisons your transaction, which never really moves you into the joy realm anyway, since you tend to get stuck instead as the distracted, or vaguely amused phase, at which point you look for something else to bring the joy, where once it came to you, unannounced, unexpected, and thrilling for it.

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