You call that art?

He sat in a poorly lit corner of the furniture crowded coffee house.  His apparel would become outdated if you described it.  Pen in one hand, and a black notebook in the other he bent over his work.

She was at the counter, chatting with the barista, biding her time until she noticed him.  The attraction instant and subconscious.  A primal understanding, here was a mate with talent.  The way young girls swoon over pop stars, or the girl at the bar goes home with the guy that clears the pool table.  She approached the table and sat.

He glanced up from his work, immediately taken in his own way, physically reacting to his own unconscious understanding of her quality.  He felt fueled and inspired by it.  Whether or not he realized it, sitting across from him was the only reason he practiced his art.  His designs the human equivalent of carefully pruned plumage.  He smiled at her, and went back to work, with passion and drive.  He could work the rest of his life sitting across from her, the power of woman so subtle and strong.

She sat and watched him work for a while, without saying a word.  Enraptured in the way he would look up every now and again, making her wonder, is it a portrait?  Or maybe a poem.  Perhaps he’s writing a screenplay.

Is it about me?

“Can I see?”

He clutched the notebook close to his now palipitating chest.  This was his work, what would she think?  It is a big moment, but he has courage and confidence.  He smiles, and pushes the notebook across the table.

She looks at it slowly moving it from side to side.

“What is it?”

Perplexed with a sprig of disappointment she looks to him.


Sometimes I wish I’d been a painter.  My work isn’t the Picasso of PHP, but perhaps an AI graduates fruit still life.  The shame is, it’s hard to gain a good feeling of accomplishment without recognition.  And recognition can’t come without some sort of understanding.  I can spend weeks on a piece of code and the only thing noticed is the UI.  It’s like being the Bass Guitar player in a rock band.  Or writing poetry in Esperanto.  Few and far between are there those with enough subject matter knowledge to ridicule or praise your work.  Sure, friends and family provide acknowledgment and love, but they are biased and generally unqualified.  Like your red neck cousin complementing you on your choice of wine (Livingston I presume).  I want to hang my functions and classes on a wall.  I’d love to hear the real experts say it sucks.  We all want to be admired.

Though, I guess it could be worse…  I could be a plumber.

4 thoughts on “You call that art?”

  1. Girls that don’t appreciate the poetry of well-written code simply don’t know enough about it to appreciate the genius of someone who’s good at it. Most have never tried anything like it and find it too complex to understand, so they can’t comprehend the artistry.

    There is a more enlightened, albeit smaller, class of women that either A) do appreciate the artisan finieries of code because they’ve previously either worked with it or close to it or B) are just wise enough to understand that to code is to create and that any act of creation is an inherently expressive endeavor capable producing an artistic masterpiece. And any woman who has yet to realize that probably isn’t worth dealing with anyway.

  2. Nice.

    I like it, though I never really feel that way about my code. Maybe math, but not code 🙂 . And I just annoy my girlfriend when I start sputtering half baked geometry.

  3. I always feel a little bothered by my code. Like I missed the left turn at Albuquerque on my way to Pismo Beach. I’m usually proud of my math, maybe it’s because my proofs are harder to run than my code, which shows its defects in startling clarity. Maybe it’s just that math has even more power than lisp macros. “Let D be the set of all dissections of [a,b], and let U(f,d) be the infimum of the upper sums of f on a dissection d in D” is an abstraction the lambda calculus shies away from.

    Playing with limits really exposes the power of math, while playing with templates or conditional compilation always leaves a dry taste in my mouth. All the same, just making something run badly is satisfying, and iterative refinement is a pleasure. But showing that any class of objects necessarily has conditions x, y, and z given a and b is power incarnate, even when it’s botched it’s exhilarating. The biggest problem with math is that there’s no way to generate ‘stream of consciousness’ style what might be valid, it’s all fits and starts. You can always iterate over the problem space with a computer until you think of something clever and elegant to be proud of. In math, sometimes you write total nonsense, and know it quickly.

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