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Ode to a Corner

By Beverly Barrett

There is greater structural stability in a circle than a square. And yet, the architects of the world rarely employ the former form.

And more praise due them. For the life of the criminal would be much impeded by a world dominated by circular structures.

One could not lurk around the corner from some unsuspecting target, watching without being watched. Safely hidden from prying eyes by a ninety-degree angle. Waiting for the moment when a mark, their guard safely lowered by the excellent cover provided by a corner, steps away from the easy ingress of an open window.

The vexing curve of a rounded building moves outwards and away, impeding the line of sight which is the greatest asset of a criminal.

Robbed of the cover and corners, thieves and voyeurs would be forced to seek out shelter in other dimensions. They would be forced to go higher or lower in search of obscurity: either to crawl in the mud below open windows or perch in hedges and trees. To seek out space above or below the usual realm where men are expected to live.

Either way consigned to the province of dirt and muck and creepy-crawlies. There is no dignity in a choice such as that.

No, the quality of life of your garden-variety peeping Toms and pickpockets depends on the architect’s continual rejection of the greater economy of materials and space found in the construction of round structures.