An affectionate reader of the Hathian Observer might already know the hypothesis that is being brought about from these columns, an hypothesis of which this reporter takes the utmost responsibility: the idea that in Hathian, together, and often quite in contrast with, its famous brokenness (see James Matfield’s editorial here) there is strive for beauty and meaningful bonds. As if these two dimensions were two sides of the same coin, Apollo and Dionysus, in a way of saying it. And if one tries to venture in the district called Vodou, this person might experience what I mean. Buildings look somehow decadent, weathered and as if they were surviving a sort of earthquake or were remnants of some kind of post-nuclear war. It is the opinion of this writer that the way the city looks like influences the way the people are like and vice versa, and one can only surmise what kind of people can dwell a town that looks like this. Which is demonstrated by the presence, in this district, of a shabby-looking place called ‘the Pink Motel’: Hathian people have to have their ways of forgetting what town they live in and how they would be more survivors than citizens.
But if one, instead of stopping at the Pink Motel would walk a little further, and would turn left at a big, black wall at the bottom of the road, might find something totally different. Bodyguards with uzi patrol probably the biggest building you may see in town, with pink neon letters that contrast with a total black structure, that seems to have nothing in common with the buildings around: Vice City. If normal buildings around look weathered and shabby and made out of wreckages, the building that shows proudly the name Vice City looks like the project of an architect that may have well contributed to design Beverly Hills; if the first don’t really seem to have any protection – what kind of protection would be needed when there is nothing to steal? – the last not only has a huge wall, but there are cameras and security doors, not to speak about that couple of nice armed gorillas. Deciding that it was enough for the Observer to investigate about, in order to give Hathian people an idea of what’s going on even in the outskirts of the town, I arranged the meeting with a girl called Ayeli, who seemed very willing to tell me about this place. From the information I got after doing some researches, her role in Vice City was something concerning beauty, so I thought she would be the best person to ask about design and features of this place that contrasts so much with the surroundings.
I must admit I arrived at the interview with miss Ayeli with a lot of presuppositions: The name for example, would clearly give the impression that past that wall you could find any possible experience that would make you feel the most corrupted person ever; or the concept of the building itself: how it is possible that such a building exists, especially in Hathian? They must have dealt with somebody in order to have it built. And what to say about the wall? Clearly put to separate the area from the squallid rest of the town, as if the owner wanted to say “I don’t really care about you, this is my property and you’re not going to trespass it”.
So, after being checked by the said gorillas at the entrance, and after having walked past the alarmed doors, I found myself overwhelmed by how huge the club was. it was impressive to be there, the only person alive except for a girl who looked like as if she was coming directly there from a concert at Woodstock: mirrored big round glasses, blonde locks and flower knotted top. The only thing that made me realize that I was not in some kind of dystopia and that she was not coming from Woodstock were the heels, but they were mostly hidden by her bell bottom trousers, and the fact that I was sure that Woodstock didn’t have such neons and stroboscopic lights, which, on the contrary, you would see in Vice City.
Shyly I walked towards the girl and it didn’t take long to me to realize that I was actually speaking with miss Ayeli, who invited me to her office. And as she sat on her chair in a modern office, glass table and modern furniture, the way she was sitting made me realize that I was wrong indeed: she was actually the owner.
The interview started, but the interview is not what I want to focus on. I wanted instead to show how much my presuppositions didn’t match with what miss Ayeli told me. She would tell a story of love and I must admit I was not prepared for that. She says she came to inherit the place from her father, who developed it after getting into possession of a large sum of money by Ayeli’s grandmother. Miss Ayeli’s father wanted to give a future to his daughter, who now has her own family of 4 children. And from what I could know of her, I could see that he must have seen in her the manager figure needed for such a promising place. She can be intimidating, but you would realize that she is only because she wants to protect what is her own, be it her children, or Vice City, that she considers as a child. She might be exceedingly attentive to details, but that would be only because she feels the responsibility of running a place where fashion is important if you want to be meaningful. At this point, maybe readers would like to know about Vice City from Miss Ayeli’s lips, why such a name?
My father was a gamer, and he was fond of Grand Theft Auto. He wanted to recreate the same feeling of that videogame, thinking that also people of Hathian deserve to have fun and to separate themselves from the reality they live in, to participate in a totally different reality and experience. Here people are family, once they walk past the wall, they become family, and Vice City becomes theirs”
Funny. She prevented the question about the wall. And from this point of view, the purpose of the wall becomes totally the opposite: making sure that, once you are past it, you leave behind you also your life as a survivor, and become family. But what does miss Ayeli means by family?
Family means I am Hathian and I consider those of Hathian as my family. When we are together. Dancing. singing. parting. we are family.
I want to state now that what miss Ayeli reported to me was her version and this reporter would hold her statements as true, either because he doesnt have elements that would go against her, or they would not have been enough, once they were brought to attention, or because her arguments were consequential and strong. K. Popper would say that truth is such only until disproven. The only thing I would positively be able to say is that Miss Ayeli cares a lot about her property, and she would also show care for Hathian citizens, providing for them an escape from a reality, and, for a moment, a glimpse of love.