Boiler Room

When I got to thinking of unromantic settings that needed a fictional fresh start, at the start of writing Wilfair, certain locations popped to mind. One? A boiler room, which historically, at least pop culture-wise, is The Room to Be Avoided at All Costs. (See: "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and practically every other movie that requires its scary final scene to play out in a hot, steamy, metal-grinding spot.)

There's also a boiler room in Tower of Terror at Disneyland Resort, which I'll get to in another post (this is one of my favorite rides and a general book inspiration).

I spend far too much time considering paths not taken when writing, I admit it. With this in mind, I wanted to see if I could make a boiler room into a wonderfully flirty spot. Likewise, the La Brea Tar Pits are often seen in disaster flicks. I wanted them to cameo in a romance.

Basically Wilfair's romantic side had to play out in quirkier locales that aren't often visited in lovey tales. This isn't to say some book stuff doesn't happen in traditionally pretty places, but I desire a mix in setting. I desire a mix in everything, actually. Call it conflicting concepts occupying the same space.

Honest, this is one of my most annoying traits. I own up. I want to walk a different path, which is an impulse that doesn't always serve me.

I always opted, happily, to play C-3PO or Boba Fett when all of my friends wanted to play Princess Leia back in grade school. I'd rather portray the sole bounty hunter than one of a dozen Leias, as long as I could be the only one, and not have to share the same role with eleven other people. The Leias moved en masse around the playground while I walked, robot-like, alongside, scolding R2-D2.

Sometimes I played R2-D2, too, when no one else would, even when I was already C-3PO. This meant I was standing/crouching dozens of times during a single recess while essentially talking to myself.

1. That's as deep as I'll ever go here, swear. :) 2. Probably. 3. Love Princess Leia, but yeah, I was Boba and the 'bots a lot.


Here's my highly unscientific, likely-full-of-holes, not-watertight list of romantic places and unromantic story places.

1. A field full of flowers
2. A balcony
3. A street full of twinkly restaurants in a rainstorm
4. A beach
5. A boat at sunset

1. A boiler room
2. Basements
3. Old, paint-peeling motels
4. Odor-strong natural wonders
5. Ceilings

What's on your romantic spot/unromantic spot list? I'd love to hear the places you think get too much play in fiction or film and the places that need a fresh start, a la The Redwoodian's boiler room.

I was going to post a picture of Freddy Krueger, but, yeah. Freddy scary.

So here's something sweeter. This happened in The Redwoodian's boiler room. Thanks again for the amazing illustration, Caitlin #1!


do dah said...

i... basically never consider places according to their romantic potential. that's kind of telling, isn't it? i guess i think any place you and your partner are happily existing together can count as romantic? but i definitely like the idea of reclaiming maligned spaces. i have been scared of several past basements, but am SO intrigued by the idea of a secret basement -- especially a potentially magical one.

unromantic places to reclaim: aisle 11 next to the frozen peas, actually. labs; nasty, cramped cinder block cubicles; and other places in which people do science. suburbia. any building with architecture that the communists would probably enjoy. home depot, or, better yet, the generic neighborhood hardware store. cold, icy northern countries.

romantic places that need a nap: art museums (hands-on dinosaur museums, however, are completely underutilised). the street, especially in rain or when surrounded by a parade and/or balloons. park benches. anywhere that would appear in a tampon commercial (strange, but TRUE). bookstores (even though i would totally love to fall in love in one, or just live in one). bistros. paris (i love you, but you smell like fried eggs, garbage, and diapers).

bess said...

Do dah- Your "romantic places that could use a nap" are spot on.

The street? Horrible, you are inconsiderately either holding up car traffic or sidewalk traffic. I will NOT form an admiring, slow clapping crowd around your 'moment. Who wants a crowd watching you kiss anyway? Gross.

The rain? I'm cold, mascara is running into my eyes and stinging, my shoes are getting ruined, my phone will probably die from getting wet and water damage does NOT fall under the warranty. Hows about we run (romantically) inside or under an awning or anywhere but out in the rain.

Strangely, I am OK with the dramatic chase through the airport or train station. Although that sometimes involves slow clapping crowds as well.

Underused romantic settings: Definitely agree on aisle 11 next to the frozen peas and cubicles but would like to add: 7-ll or other late night conveniences stores or bodegas, a ATM vestibule, historical re-enactment villages, Christmas tree farms, Chinese buffets and laundrymats.

Wilfair Book said...

do dah, love this: ***i guess i think any place you and your partner are happily existing together can count as romantic?***

Totally. I suppose that's one reason I'm thinking of places that don't get the love for, well, love. Because love can grow anywhere, if it is gonna.

Bess and do dah, thank you for your thoughts. So funny and some are so, so true!

Here are a few more places people do fall in love (and should in books and movies, at least more often):

1. Dirty kitchens. Dishes piled high, not cute, movie-style dirty.
2. Any line at any office where you need to fill out a million forms to get something minor done.
3. A windy parking lot outside a big box store.

I'm feeling the Christmas tree farm and labs! You both are hysterical.

Chiara said...

do dah: I'm with you on this as well:

i guess i think any place you and your partner are happily existing together can count as romantic?

And all the romantic places you listed need a nap indeed, too cliche!

Bess: I'm okay with the dramatic chase as well, there's something about it.

Alysia: Any place windy is romantic in my book! I love the wind and storms.

I don't really have anything to add myself right now but I enjoyed reading :)

Erika said...

I love this place! Also now I want to see an upward trend of ATM Vestibule love and Dinosaur museums. Must have!

Can I nominate the stage for overused romantic moments? Why must we all run up on stage, interrupting a speech, ceremony, or rally, to declare our undying love? It usually makes me embarrassed for people. Maybe I'm alone in this though? It's a pretty frequently used spot.

I'd also like to put a bid in for hardware shops. I grew up with contractors and think that hardware stores tend to get overlooked for love. Also automotive stores... Ooooooh a used car lot!

Amanda W said...

I really like this post and thread. That is all. :)

Wilfair Book said...

Chiara: We are co-wind fans! Granted, I like a gentler wind, but I find it very mysterious and soothing. A few years ago I visited the Great Plains and was captivated by wind in the tall grasses.

I love when you mention that you enjoyed something. I always take note!

Erika: Sweet. And, yes, THE STAGE. The running up, the big announcement. I think the last time that totally worked for me was in "Singin' in the Rain." So, 63 years ago.

It's been done a few times since, though. :)

Voting yes on hardward shops and car lots for romantic moments.

Amanda: Seriously on this thread. Everyone is so creative. I'm not sure I'm quite done with this topic, fyi, so apologies in advance if it comes around again in another form.

Wilfair Book said...

Forgive me, hardware shops. A little sleepy but once I reread the comments I had to weigh back in. Too good.

This will definitely be another post!

do dah said...

related to the stage, which is a good one: what are your opinions on public marriage proposals via billboard, skywriting, or similar? i think i'm ambivalent as related to other people, but i'm pretty sure i immediately and irrevocably refuse to marry anyone who tried it on me on the grounds that they obviously do not know me at all.

Wilfair Book said...

Hmmmmmm. Proposals could deserve their own post. They're fraught with so much excitement and emotion and stress.

I think a really grand gesture, a la skywriting, could be fun, if, say, the two people in question had joked about it before it happened. I don't know? I need to mull. Good question.

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