Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

There Is No Future In This Architecture

I am one of those people who does not own a car. Neither does the Palinode. Our childlessness and lack of shopping lust makes a car seem like an extremely expensive child. The huge expense of energy - personal, financial, and planetary - that goes into the care and feeding of cars stresses me out just to think about it. When my co-workers were shocked at the cost of my monthly bus pass, I pointed out that they spend that much just to park their cars at work every month, and that is if they do not count all the nickle-and-diming when they pay for parking when they leave their neighbourhoods.

Don't get the wrong idea. I am not on some soapbox to eradicate cars. If the Palinode and I had children to ferry about or had to commute to work, a car would make more sense, but hundreds of dollars a month spent on car payments, gas, parking, and general upkeep just seems insane when we can go to work and do our shopping fairly locally.

This car-free style of living means that I take the city bus nearly every day, and I must say, the transit system and the advertisers who install advertising on those buses must hate us low-class cretins who use public transport, because they do their best to make it an aesthetically displeasing experience. The ads that grace the interiors of the buses are often clumsy-looking and garish. On top of that, ads like the one in the following photo are somehow deemed acceptable, despite their lack of any sense:

bad bus ad

The above ad reads "The perfect give giving solution". GIVE giving? This ad was actually written by a person, and then the copy was approved by another person or persons, and then it went through a designer, who must have been at least somewhat literate, and then the ad was approved by the Southland Mall, and then the ad was approved by someone within public transport, and then it went through a printing service, and then someone installed it on the buses, and in all that fooferah that goes into getting an ad out into the public, NO ONE STOPPED TO SAY WHAT THE FUCK IS "GIVE GIVING"?

They hate us, and if they don't hate us, they at least think we are not very bright, or maybe they just don't care, because WE ARE NOT DOING OUR PART TO SUCK THE PLANET OF ITS REMAINING RESOURCES AND WE MUST BE ILLITERATE.

Moving on, here is another example of the ugliness of buses in general:

Avril Lavigne's tour bus

As you can see, this is Avril Lavigne's butt ugly tour bus. Of course, it is aesthetically on par with her website, so there's that.

I was talking to a couple of her roadies, and they said that Bubblicious was backing the tour. Apparently, they have buckets of the gum on their bus that no one is eating. I guess Avril's backup dancers have had enough of it. Personally, I think that it is the fact that they spend half their time in a matte black tour bus which windows they probably cannot even see through properly what with them being nearly blacked out and plastered over with a fuschia Bubblicious logo. Someone send them full-spectrum light boxes and some vegetables, stat.

I have been called an idealist since I was a very young child, and maybe this is one of my crazy ideals, but I do not see why we cannot surround ourselves with beautiful things. Why do we have acres and acres of salmon stucco housing plonked down around strip malls? Why are parking garages little more than excavated concrete? Why do electrical boxes have to be such eyesores? Why are there whole swathes of uninspired big box stores when they are neither convenient nor terribly accessible? There is no future in this architecture.

Usually, because I live in an older building in an older neighbourhood, I can go for weeks without noticing how ugly a city can be, but then I always make the mistake of looking up when I am on the bus, and there it is, plain as a misspelled, prosaic advertisement jammed into runners above my head.

This idealist wants an environment that lifts me out of the to-and-from mundanity, not one that further entrenches me or, even worse, is so caustic to the eye that I turn even further in on myself.

Oh, hell, at this point, I just might be able to settle for grammatical sentences with correct spelling. Will someone please send the Southland Mall a dictionary and a copy of English Grammar for Dummies?

50x365 #182: Bob J.

50x365 #181: Wolf