Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Milton is credited with the first use of the word pandemonium. He may have even invented it. It is a wonderful word, full of musical lilt even if it is pregnant with a wicked recklessness.
We don’t expect a serene tranquility in a place called called Pandemonium. Nor do we expect to find a serene tranquility in a place filled with pandemonium. It would be a place most likely as we think it should be…a place where all hell breaks loose with no semblance of order: simply (chaotic)(chaotic), which is the square of chaotic.
The word pandemonium and the word condominium have a similar ring to them. Condominium actually means a territory over which two sovereign nations share joint dominion, such as the recent Afghanistanian condominium, though neither we, nor the Afghans, nor the Taliban, nor whoever is jointly or severally in practical political dominion of Afghanistan would admit to that, perhaps fearing a pandemonium of opprobrium. The modern everyday meaning of condominium is an apartment in a building that is jointly owned by its several apartment owners.
If you ask me, Pandemonium and a condominium are very nearly the same place. While a home is a home, I lay claim to neither pandemonium or condominium. Were I to find one in my home or the other as my home, or worse, find myself as a tenant in a Pandemonium condominium, I’d likely say I was caught up in an intractable conundrum.
The lines that proscribe the boundaries between me and my neighbors are frequently marked by a fence, though occasionally there is nothing but a well maintained firebreak. I do not share walls with my neighbors, and if my neighbor accidentally sets his house on fire, it will be a wonder of nature if it causes mine to burn, too. though it is possible. My nearest neighbor is over a mile away. In Mississippi, though we have dry periods of heightened fire danger, a fire a mile away is a cause for about as much concern as a tornado a mile away; it produces a tension but does not lend itself to an outbreak of pandemonium. My friends in rural California have a different view about this, as a fire a mile away in the extremely hazardous drought they are experiencing is as worrisome as pandemonium in the adjacent condominium, and just as nearly as immediate as a fire in it.
I do not like pandemonia. I do not like condominia. The latter, ephemera; the former, millennia.
I really must get out more, and soon.