I’ve decided to read the entirety of The First 49 Stories by Ernest Hemingway. In order to make it interesting (and keep me reading), I’ve decided to post each night to Facebook the story I have read and a quote from that story. Tonight I chose, randomly, “The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio.” It is a rather long story for Hemingway, but one rich in experience. Here’s what caught my eye:
From the other window, if the bed was turned, you could see the town, with a little smoke above it, and the Dawson mountains looking like real mountains with the winter snow on them. Those were the two views since the wheeled chair had proved to be premature. It is really best to be in bed if you are in a hospital; since two views, with time to observe them, from a room the temperature of which you control, are much better than any number of views seen for a few minutes from hot, empty rooms that are waiting for someone else, or just abandoned, which you are wheeled in and out of.
Hemingway’s prose is poetic. Reading Hemingway, I believe, is like eating Escoffier’s cooking. The difference, of course, is that one can today read Hemingway, while it is impossible to eat Escoffier’s culinary creations, made by him in his kitchen. But I digress.
The issue isn’t food, it’s views. Hemingway’s narrator goes on to describe what views can do.
If you stay long enough in a room, the view, whatever it is, acquires a great value and becomes very important and you would not change it, not even by a different angle. Just as, with the radio, there are certain things that you become fond of, and you welcome them and resent the new things.
Hemingway describes the issue of views in South Lake Union perfectly. Change is scary. Why change things now, especially when what has been has worked? True, the city is about many more rooms in a smaller foot print. But if one does not leave ones room, then the view becomes everything, no matter what that view might be.