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Can I Have Your Attention? by Jonathan McKee, Curt Steinhorst

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Chapter 7In Praise of Walls

Let's examine the common wall.

(Thrilling stuff, I know, but trust me, it's important.)

A wall serves two primary purposes:

  • Distinguish one place from another
  • Keep out things that don't belong

Or should I say a wall served two primary purposes?

Turn on just about any home remodeling show, and you'll see what I mean. The first thing they do is decide how many walls to knock down. Sledgehammer versus drywall is a growing spectator sport.

Today, we want open floor plans that allow us to interact with as much of our home as possible without changing chairs. We want to be able to watch the TV in the living room from the kitchen while still having a clear view of the kids playing in the backyard. Down with walls! (Except for the bathroom walls. Those walls stay.)

Walls are now an endangered species. And not just physical walls, but virtual walls as well.

The omnipresence of digital devices has eroded the important distinctions between places.

We go to the beach; we work (with Coronas, of course). We go to the mountains; we work (thanks to satellites). We go to Thanksgiving dinner; we work (because who wants to talk with Aunt Milly?). We go to work, and…we don't work. We're too busy booking that beach vacation. And—perhaps the most disturbing trend of all—the place more and more of us get the most work done is on the pot (walls!). Homes have become offices, offices homes, and cars pretty much everything. They're effectively all just one place now. Great ...

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