Saturday, January 15, 2011

Keeping the Narrative Consistent, Or Not

Apologies for not posting earlier today, presuming anyone out there noticed; I was a bit busy wandering around sunny Phoenix, Arizona. During the course of my walkabouts through this desert metropolis, I had the opportunity to think about a few things - such as the writer's necessity to create settings that hang together. Internal consistency and a sensible narrative! It's one of the things that separates good writing from the dross, and I know, because I've produced some of the latter. One story in particular was so long in the writing - more than two years from beginning to completion - that much of it didn't make sense anymore; the plot had changed almost completely from the beginning to the end. As a writer, you mustn't undermine the foundation of your tale through contradictions.

It's so unfortunate that reality never got that particular memo.

Pictured above is US Airways Center in Phoenix. Though it's primarily a basketball and arena football venue, it does play host to other performances - like Harlem Globetrotters shows, two of which took place today. I'd been debating whether or not I should drop the money to watch the Globetrotters, and so I figured I'd go to the box office to see what they had.

To get there, I had to pass through security - a man with what I presume to be an explosives-detecting swabber, as it looked the same as the ones they use in airports now, and he went through all the pockets of my backpack with it. After a moment I was pronounced clean and stepped into the center's towering atrium... but I didn't buy anything. I was still figuring out how I wanted to spend my night.

After a few minutes of wandering, I decided I would go back - but this time, I went through a different door with a different security guard. He didn't appear to have the explosives swabber at all; instead, he physically searched my backpack. After the search, he informed me rather brusquely that I couldn't come in, that I'd have to leave my bag in my car (such a wonderfully Sun Belt assumption; I came in on the light rail) and return.

There are, to my thinking, a few problems with this - and the lack of any exterior signage, to the best of my ability to find it, prohibiting backpacks inside the atrium doesn't even register. Most notably, what the hell is the point of giving explosive detectors to some guards but not others? When I pass through security at the airport, it's not as if it's random whether my bags will go through the x-ray machine or I'll walk through the metal detector. I can't see any point in employing multiple detection methods if they're not universal. What I encountered at US Airways Center wasn't security, it was a roulette wheel.

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