Outdoor Platforms

Outdoor Platforms

What's the sitch with outdoor manmade platforms?

In biology, convergent evolution is the process by which organisms that are not closely related phylogenetically develop analogous traits when exposed to similar environmental pressures. The classic example is flight, which evolved independently in insects, birds and bats. Another good illustration is the streamlined body plans of aquatic predators, shared by fish, marine mammals, and the extinct icthyosaur. We here at whatsthesitch.com operate under the assumption that the majority of our readership is open to the theory of evolution. If you are more of a hardline, head-in-the-sand creationist type, bare with us, as we will get through all this Darwinian conspiracy mumbo-jumbo ASAP. We just wanted to use it to set up the less controversial topic of outdoor platforms. 

What’s the sitch? There are many types of manmade outdoor platforms, each with slightly different traits and origins. But, we contend that they each evolved to serve similar basic functions, stemming from intrinsic traits of the humans building them. 

Namely, we are lazy creatures. Maybe to be more PC (it is 2016 after all) I should say, like all lifeforms, we seek to conserve energy whenever possible. And I say this without any judgement, being one of said creatures myself. We frequently seek out sitting positions in order to better serve our lethargy. By the same token, when utilizing these reclined postures, we would prefer to be exposed to the warmth of the sun, so we don’t have to rely solely on cellular metabolism to keep our brains hot. 

Additionally, going through the polite paces of socializing requires immense amounts of mental energy. Building a structure to protect one’s privacy, while requiring an initial investment, saves energy in the long run via avoided social interactions. 

To summarize, our assertion is that all manmade outdoor platforms primarily exist to provide space for sitting in the sun in relative privacy. 

Decks are a classic outdoor platform attached to a home. These hard, flat, wooden surfaces provide stability for the furniture humans rest upon, and their connection to the house, often with a railing, keeps out all but the boldest of unwanted guests.Patios, similarly, have a smooth, rigid surface, though in their case these traits are accomplished through brick, concrete, or other stone-like materials. Again, patios are adjacent to the home of the owner, keeping strangers at bay. Two easy examples to illustrate the three primary traits. 

Balconies? Perhaps you’ve never made this connection, but, a balcony is just a God-damned deck attached to the upper floor of a house! We don’t intend to blow minds here at whatsthesitch.com, but that is often an unintended consequence of delving deep. In fact, balconies have an increased laziness quotient ([energy saved/energy spent] x π) compared to patios, as you will likely have even fewer interactions with passersby, and users don’t even have to walk down stairs to access them! Incredible. 

A terrace is sort of a catch-all term for a large elevated outdoor platform, sometimes atop a flat roof, and frequently associated with a monumental building. Terraces introduce a little controversy into our theory, as some of the majestic buildings they are associated with are public spaces. So while they are obviously still perfect platforms to use furniture in the sun, you may encounter unfamiliar hominids when using them. In our experience patronizing public terraces, those atop them are usually of the contemplative persuasion, and the few terrace-individuals who do attempt to engage in dialogue are nice peeps. 

A porch is a fully enclosed deck, and a veranda is a roofed porch without a definitive wall or screen. Self-explanatory platforms, though some might even argue they shouldn’t be included within the ‘outdoor’ platforms umbrella. For our money, they still fit all of the criteria. Tree houses are rudimentary platforms, often built by adolescents, using a tree and its branches for foundational support. Etc. 

By this point I’m sure most of you are flailing your arms, gyrating your hips, and shouting at your screens, “What about helipads?! Are they going to mention helipads??” While helipads are dangerously close to the ‘road’ category, we will concede that they are clearly an example of a manmade platform existing outside, and therefore we must defend our original hypothesis and its application to these unique surfaces. Please stop shouting. 

Helipads are most well-known for being firm, flat squares that helicopters can safely land on. They are almost never used to relax upon with the help of comfortable rocker (and in fact, this would be highly unsafe and probably illegal on most helipads). BUT, I ask you… Is a helicopter not a large piece of mobile furniture? And do most choppers not have some sort of large translucent pane allowing sunlight to bathe passengers? And is one of the functions of a helipad not to provide space for setting down an aircraft PRIVATELY, as close as possible to the destination?Helicopters move people long distances quickly, by taking the high road (as it were) and by using high velocities. These distances could be travelled by foot, were humans not so lazy and not in such a rush. Medevac chopper services would also be unnecessary if everyone just learned how to be a trauma surgeon, instead of being so slothful. The point being, helipads, while distinct in certain ways, are still outdoor platforms in the classical sense, in that they exist to facilitate secluded human inactivity paired with sun exposure. 

The discussion of bridges as outdoor platforms is contentious. Many believe bridges are definitively in the road category, which, as opposed to being enclosed polygons (like platforms), are unrestricted stretches of hard surface meant to facilitate movement between more well-defined platforms. Roads and bridges still obviously serve the sluggish nature of humans, and are avenues for UV-bathed mobile furniture (cars, wagons, etc.), thus checking the aforementioned boxes of outdoor platform definition. The controversy exists in the boundaries; a frequently cited argument from the Bridges and Roads are Outdoor Platforms (BROP) camp is that, all roads must end somewhere, and thus, they are indeed platforms, albeit very long, thin ones. The Keep Outdoor Platforms Separate (KOPS) sect think this is a silly, semantic argument, as outdoor platforms are distinct entities with subtle, but important differences.

We here at whatsthesitch.com have not taken an official stance on this issue, and therefore felt obligated to only briefly mention bridges in our current discussion, while simultaneously maintaining our journalistic objectivity (though, in light of this long-winded tangent into the bridge controversy, their inclusion has not been as brief as we had initially envisioned when outlining this sitch. That’s on us. We will attempt to be more succinct moving forward. From now on.) 

Natural outdoor platforms do exist, and often fulfill one or two of the requirements of the manmade variety. Parks are tight, as are rocky-outcroppings, no doubt. But, humans run into trouble when platforms are soil-based as furniture is rarely able to sit flush with these surfaces and, even when it can, the added mass of a human might destabilize the whole endeavor, driving one chair leg into the rich loam. Some innovative men and women have designed furniture for the express purpose of sitting on grassy platforms (see: lawn chairs), though this act in itself shows you the difficulties these environmental platforms introduce. 

Additionally, a beautiful cliff or mesa is owned by no man, and is rarely attached to one’s home, therefore complicating things once again with the presence of strangers, or God forbid, a long hike just to reach the desired platform. Outdoor platforms have their purpose, but are entirely different entities from their manmade counterparts.Just as multiple life forms evolved hinged shafts from the underside of their abdomens to facilitate cradled transportation of vital organs, so too were outdoor platforms developed in cultures around the globe to provide isolated, sun-receptive areas for the placement of well-balanced stools. 


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*theme brainstormed with the inimitable G.M.
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