Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Points Imagination Raises

I've been very focused, giving over my imagination to some of the details in the piece I wrote about my imaginary visit to Skidrow. It arose from my imagination and it provokes my imagination even further, so imagine that!

The men playing pool is only one part of the whole story, of course, as would be the woman at the end of the bar. They are all fascinating characters and we could develop the possible relationships between them. Do they know her? Probably. Have they perhaps developed or shared any deeper times of intimacy? It would be my guess that she hasn't been particular, nor have they. None of them sounds like he or she has maintained a strict sense of hygiene or kept their lusts under wraps. For them it's Live every moment to the max, you're just an animal anyway.

The setting is another part of the story. And I've just been rereading my original piece, reviewing how I set the scene, delving into, hoping to glean what we can from the hopes and dreams, then motives and actions of the various ones responsible for coming up with the block that later came to be called Skidrow. I think I have it exactly right, that you have to originally imagine the place as vacant. Back before there were buildings, like when the Indians lived in this area, you had just nature. Deer probably roamed these parts, rabbits, various scrub bushes sprouted up. Then came the white man, laying out his cities and towns. They started with the businesses you see in westerns, the saloon, the blacksmith, the doctor's office, the sheriff's office.

But if they had saloons, then that would lead to brothels, or at the very least, hotel rooms you could rent for an hour, and right there -- boom -- you've got the foundations of Skidrow. Let's envision it, though. What would make the district later called Skidrow susceptible to such naming? What are the sociological underpinnings to this? My theory would have to be its location in relation to the classier districts.

The classier districts would have higher rent, higher income, a more upscale clientele. But your lower class folks, people more into quickies and a knife to the gut, would have to go somewhere. So they're getting off the train, taking the main path to the classier districts, they lose their money in a card game, they still haven't learned their lesson, they're in a tailspin, they're thirsty, seeking female companionship, wanting to win back their stake, so where can they go? They seek out their fellow losers who've withdrawn from the higher class areas over to the lower rent digs. It's almost automatic; it's scuzzed out just that fast!

I'm coming up with some different conclusions, but these sound right. In my original post, recall, I seemed to have the builders and entrepreneurs building with a sense of ideals, with no apparent idea about what their district would become. But that might need to be nudged a bit. Who would know better than they the socioeconomic dynamics of classy and scuzzy? So you use a shabbier wood, shabbier building products, cut corners, keep it cheap over there, knowing those folks will always be with us.

It's like Skidrow would be the most predictable thing in the world.

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