Nowhere Man

I’m a bit baffled by what “nowhere” means as of late. I’d always understood the term to mean a sense of being lost or not being in a particular place, or in referring to a dialogue that unlikely will attain a conclusion or consensus.

But lately the term seems to apply quite specifically and intentionally to the end points of a pedestrian bridge — one north side and one south side. Apparently the end points of the bridge lead to “nowhere” — no place in particular.

If I deconstruct this argument a bit, I don’t think that the advocates of this argument literally believe “nowhere”; I think they simply mean that they do not know exactly where; if I were to choose a word, I’d choose “somewhere”. So while ‘Bridge to Somewhere’ might be more apt, I think it pales in comparison to the meme of ‘Bridge to Nowhere’. Thus the argument boils down to the notion that regardless of whether it is somewhere or nowhere, they simply know not where and this is a serious issue.

Now I agree that where matters as we spend much time deciding on things related to where: Where do I work, Where do I live, and on. But why does Where matter so much for this bridge and NoWhere else?

Certainly Where never enters into the rancorous debate on funding the so many urgent things we are told we must fund: infrastructure, codes, blight, graffiti. So urgent yet funding it requires money NoWhere to be found although demagoguery can be found EveryWhere you turn. Or on economic arguments so implausible, they collapse if you challenge them AnyWhere you choose.

Clearly we need to bring jobs and industry back to the city but of course we must do so from industries NoWhere to be found although they must be SomeWhere, in this case, from decades long past.

Definitely we can turn things around by razing and demolishing swaths of the city, like the Chalmers building. Then we can have an empty lot, but don’t call it NoWhere, because builders will come from EveryWhere to build something that will make the city an important SomeWhere. Never mind that we have lots of empty lots with buyers NoWhere to be found choosing instead to build SomeWhere else. Still we should prize empty parking lots or turning green space into parking lots like at the former museum because, well, Where will people park if we do not have parking lots EveryWhere we turn; it’s a brilliant strategy: parking lots EveryWhere, growth NoWhere.

Undoubtedly the funding for the bridge can be used ElseWhere so we should repurpose this funding to a more deserving SomeWhere; I’d agree but EveryWhere I look, no other SomeWhere foregoes funding for SomeWhere else.

In the end, we get NoWhere simply because any place that is truly SomeWhere tries not be like EveryWhere else; and until we craft a more constructive dialog on Where we are versus  Where we should be,  we will not get AnyWhere at all; we will still be stuck  here.


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