I spent the first two weeks of winter break at home in Lancaster refining my ability to sleep at least 12 hours out of every 24. Beginning each day at noon, I would sheepishly emerge from my room and pretend to have been awake for hours — often forgoing my ritual bowl of Cheerios in favor of less suspicious lunchtime grub. Despite these efforts, my parents would inevitably greet me with an ironic “good morning” as I arrived into the kitchen each afternoon — a statement I grew to regard as mockery considering the time.
On days when I suffered relapses of productivity, I usually wouldn’t get too far in my work before experiencing some technical impediment or well-baked distraction. One recurring problem was our internet connection on the farm, which hasn’t been the same since abandoning dial-up last year in favor of a much faster — but less reliable — satellite. These days, we lose connection with the civilized world every time it’s cloudy and must watch the forecast to determine the best time to check email.
Feeling the need to break the aforementioned cycle of sluggishness, I booked a cheap Southwest flight to visit my aunt at her home in Miami. I imagined that heat would bring a fitting end to my winter-break-hibernation and inspire me to finish off some pressing work. Unfortunately, heat was nowhere to be found on the east coast during the first week of January. In Florida, as in the northern states, people were fretting about a surprising wave of “severe cold.”
Although perfectly comfortable myself, the locals didn’t know how to handle a mere 50 degrees; my aunt and I even spotted a woman wearing a full-length mink coat! The local TV networks gave cold-weather advisories and discussed the vulnerable Florida Oranges with trepidation.
One afternoon, my aunt took me to lunch in downtown Miami and we explored some of the new architectural anomalies along Brickell Street. The images above show the Icon condominium by Phillipe Starck where they reportedly spent 15 million on enormous Easter-Island-inspired colonnades. Inside, the design borrows liberally from the imagination of Lewis Carroll and recreates portions of Alice’s fanciful world.
Apparently, since the economic crisis wiped out the housing market, people are less willing to buy their own piece of wonderland. Several months after opening, one of the towers remains nearly empty with only two residents sharing some 50 floors. In light of this desolation, the Easter Island columns have taken on a whole new meaning.
I have since returned from Miami, and am enjoying a sunny (but much colder) day on campus in Ithaca. The Spring semester is about to get underway, so stay tuned.