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January 23, 2009

Do you have a favorite balcony?

January 23. Day 207.

Like anyone obsessed by her area of study, I tend to build my dissertation topic -- balconies -- into my everyday conversations. For example...

Friend: On the sixth night, we stayed at a gorgeous hotel that was overlooking the Taj Mahal, and our pillows were made of this gossamer thread that was actually woven from rose petals. The scent was unbelievable. We rode up on horseback, and there were trees on the grounds with raspberry truffles that actually grew back the moment you plucked one.

Moi: Did your room have a balcony?

Friend: No.

Moi: Laaaaaaaame.


Friend: My dad is redoing his guesthouse and he added one of those things to his kitchen... what do you call them... they're round and let you reach your spices easier.

Moi: Like a balcony?

Friend: No... a lazy susan! yes!

Moi: I think the technical term for that is "balcony."

Likewise, I tend to ask (here we go... the asking cometh) high and low for suggestions, references, ideas. The conversation goes something like this:

[Choose your favorite setting. Party, waiting room, airplane.]

"Hi, I'm Ebenezer."

"Hi. I'm Roxy."

"Roxy? As in ROXANNE! You don't have to put on the red light. Have you heard that song?"

[Chirping laughter -- a kinder alternative to replying "Yes! I've head it 23,000 times!"]

"So Roxy, what do you do?"

"I'm a grad student."

"What do you study?"

"Comparative literature."

"Interesting! What area?"

"Balconies. Mostly nineteenth century French and Spanish, with a few earlier Italian examples. Do you have a favorite balcony?"

"Romeo and Juliet."


After enough such conversations, and enough surveys about balconies from strangers and friends alike, today a dear childhood friend I've recently reconnected with sent me an email with an amazing find.
Subject: Thinking of you

Hey, I saw this at the Getty the other day and I thought of you!
WOW! That's the earliest balcony I've encountered, in literature or painting. I've heard babylon had balconies and read about ancient Rome's, but a Roman fresco dating from 9-14 AD??? Located in Los Angeles, so I can inspect it myself?? AMAZING.

Thank you, S!!!!!!!

Gained: Very precious research material.

By the by, gentle reader, do you know of any cool balconies in literature or art? Or do you have a favorite balcony in art, or life?
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