Category Archives: Durham

Parking Spaces #89: Eviction, Conclusion, Proposal.

Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Sunny.

Total cars in deck: 22.

In hourly spaces: 13.

No cars on Level 7:

The day after Christmas was unusually warm, and I had some time on my hands, so I went up to the roof, Level 7, with something to read. I made myself comfortable on a ledge that probably wasn’t intended for people to sit on but makes a good bench nonetheless and affords a panoramic view north from downtown. The deck wasn’t designed as a recreational space, of course, and it is almost entirely concrete, although its ostensible pure functionality is betrayed by some surprising aesthetic aspects; but because it is virtually never used for its designated purpose, parking — more on that below — it provides an openness and serenity of the sort central Durham lacks. It is a very pleasant urban retreat.

After I’d been reading for about two hours, a guard wearing an Allied Security jacket — Allied is the private company contracted by the City of Durham to patrol its parking garages — emerged from one of the elevators, walked unhurriedly over to where I was sitting, and told me I had to leave.

Continue reading Parking Spaces #89: Eviction, Conclusion, Proposal.

Northern Greece: what you don’t know can hurt you


We were in Ioannina, in northwestern Greece. This was after four nights on Paxos, one of those Greek islands you see in photos that make you roll your eyes: surely nowhere is that beautiful, and if anywhere is, surely no one you know has been there. But Paxos is, and you do.

James Salter is reported to have said that “one of the functions of a writer is to create envy in the reader—envy of the life that the writer is living.” I happen not to agree with that at all, although I do see where he’s coming from at the level of descriptive prose: it should give the reader the feeling of a vicariousness so voluptuous that the reader experiences that delicious expansion of awareness, familiar to anyone who has been captivated by a book, of being here, reading, while also there, where the book is unfolding. Perhaps the reader’s envy, in Salter’s sense, lies in the space perceived between these two worlds, one real and one conjured.

Continue reading Northern Greece: what you don’t know can hurt you