Give the pres­i­dent his wall—but make it ed­i­ble

Texarkana Gazette - - OPINION - Gina Bar­reca

Michael was watch­ing CNN in the liv­ing room, and I was flip­ping ca­su­ally through the pages of Ar­chi­tec­tural Di­gest left by the week­end guests. AD is not one of our usual mag­a­zines. We get The Econ­o­mist and Mo­tor Trend, so an up­scale style glossy was a treat. I was sit­ting at the kitchen ta­ble wait­ing for the ravi­oli to come to a boil again—they have to start bob­bing, and then you turn down the heat but only slightly—and the un­fa­mil­iar pub­li­ca­tion was the ideal di­ver­sion.

As I looked at ads for onyx bath­tubs, float­ing like flot­sam and jet­sam through to the kitchen were Pelosi’s and Trump’s dis­con­nected words about se­cu­rity, home and in­fra­struc­ture. I thought idly about how the pres­ti­gious, for­mi­da­ble and grandil­o­quent Ar­chi­tec­tural Di­gest might ad­dress a con­struc­tion project on the scale of Trump’s wall.

What ma­te­ri­als would those high-end de­sign­ers use for such a bigly as­sign­ment—given that it must si­mul­ta­ne­ously make us feel cozy, in­ti­mate and ex­cep­tional while com­ing in at, or un­der, the pro­posed build­ing al­lowance of $5.7 bil­lion (not in­clud­ing tips)?

It would be a mashup of de­lib­er­ately South­west­ern chic and fe­ro­ciously ur­ban in­dus­trial, thereby giv­ing the con­struc­tion a glo­ri­ous in­for­mal­ity while a pro­vid­ing a neu­tral and in­di­vid­u­al­ized back­drop. Steel slats were ad­ver­tised nowhere in AD, so clearly they are outre. Per­haps a wildly play­ful take on the Maginot Line, em­ploy­ing Lib­erty print fab­rics in a retro-ironic way, could form a series of over­sized ot­tomans, wit­tily in­vok­ing the em­pire af­ter which they were named.

As the ravi­oli started to boil, I also started think­ing about how won­der­ful it is that an Ital­ian-Amer­i­can grand­mother is once again rep­re­sent­ing me in a pow­er­ful po­si­tion in Wash­ing­ton. Look, a per­son thinks a lot while she’s cook­ing; I am not apol­o­giz­ing—merely ex­plain­ing.

As these el­e­ments swirled around in my mind, and as I gen­tly placed the ravi­oli on the dishes, I sud­denly had my rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea about the bor­der: We should build The Great Wall of Pasta.

We must use ar­ti­sanal hand­crafted food­stuffs to con­struct a gi­gan­tic ed­i­ble ed­i­fice. It would sat­isfy ap­petites, in­spire new recipes and still count as a demon­stra­bly in­tim­i­dat­ing en­clo­sure, if only calor­i­cally.

I’m not the only one who thought that pasta would make a good wall. Renowned Ital­ian Amer­i­can author of “Movieola” John Do­mini was, per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly, the first to sug­gest pasta a la Gen­ovese when I asked, on Face­book, what ma­te­ri­als my friends would use if they had to put walls up around their own dwellings.

The wall wouldn’t only be made only of pasta, ei­ther. It would also in­clude kre­plach, manti, piero­gies, samosas, em­panadas, fufu, and kartof­fel­k­noedel. Be­hind the wall would be a grand­mother, or grand­mother proxy, hold­ing a large wooden spoon. If you’re a sweet­heart and hun­gry, she’ll serve you; if you’re a bum and an in­grate, or ask for stones when she’s of­fer­ing you bread, she’ll chase you away.

My friends had strong opin­ions about what they’d use if they had to make their own en­clo­sures. From a sam­pling of over 250 re­spon­dents, here are the re­sults: 1. Choco­late; 2. Jello; 3. Silly Putty; 4. Fruit Cake (“It lasts for­ever”; “It must be good for some­thing!”); 5. Books; 6. Marsh­mal­lows.

There was a sig­nif­i­cant group of bam­boo afi­ciona­dos. As Suzanne John­son from D.C. ex­plains, “I want bam­boo be­cause I want all the pan­das.”

My editor sug­gested type­writ­ers.

Fi­nally, New Yorker Lisa Chau said that if the sole rea­son to build a wall was to keep peo­ple at a dis­tance, the wall should be built en­tirely from her dat­ing pro­files. Ac­cord­ing to Lisa, these pos­sess a “mag­i­cal abil­ity to scare the men­folk away.” To each their own. That was the catch, of course: In my game, you had to imag­ine putting up walls around your own place, not fenc­ing in our coun­try.

Fenc­ing in, walling in, walling up or clos­ing down our great na­tion is clearly a ridicu­lous idea.

I wouldn’t ask my friends, not even as joke on social me­dia, to imag­ine it.

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