Voltere Agees -- Interior Design, 10/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Mercifully, I just tore off last month's sheet from my glossy desk calendar. I must follow that with a quick report on a strange ophthalmic catharsis I experienced recently, a supranatural accident many others probably lived through in these eventful times. My well-stocked inventory of opinionated views and steadfast forecasts—on which I jadedly doted for years—was torn asunder before my unbelieving eyes. My neatly cured cognitive hams were transmuted into a collection of party balloons that, after maddening jigs of whistling deflation, came to rest with a thankfully harmless plop at my jumpy feet. That deed alone would have surely driven me out of my few remaining wits if I did not remember that Halloween was coming soon. As alchemy would have it, all my notions soberly appeared as what they always were: myopic and inadequate takes on my surroundings, starkly highlighting my insufficient grasp of an unimaginable reality that had been waiting for all New Yorkers on the corner of Church and Vesey Streets.
As is no doubt the case for many of us, the walls of my intellectual pantry were blown away clean in a searing flash on September 11, 2001. Tactfully, if I may, I am happy to report that the sunshine is now coming in, revealing that I had more than an adequate supply—albeit rather dusty—of tolerance, strength, and care for my neighbor. My unobstructed views also revealed a demanding space that rages to be filled with new perspectives.
Modern perspective is indeed an old beast that designers, architects, and we people in the trade know all too well. In fact, we have been tangling with it since the Renaissance, another period when all too often mayhem was the main course, strife the side dish, and sorrow the drink. Then and now, I submit, the tonic required to counter the ill effects of this foul fare is the same. We must bring to our craft a renewed zest, the whole complex of our morality, our illuminated knowledge, a rekindled taste for the world we live in, and most of all a passion for our times. It worked for the Renaissance and it will work for us now. Moreover, if the CNN-induced stupor persists and anyone needs immediate help, the advice my distinguished forbear directed to a certain Dr. Pangloss might perhaps clear the air: "That's true enough, but we must go and work in the garden."