Like “The Eerie Statue” this is something that I initially posted on Facebook and chose to share here, as well. Below is the essay that accompanied this image:
From street level, Los Angeles often seems like an endless tangle of concrete; a horrific urban sprawl worthy of being the backdrop to a cyberpunk novel. Certainly, there are parts of it that are beautiful, but these places are for wealthy or long-established households. For most, the Westside’s postwar neighborhoods–with their sprawling ficus trees and lush gardens–are unaffordable. And the further east you drive, the more L.A. seems like a suffocating expanse of pink stucco, broken sidewalks, and polluted sky. It offends the Midwestern eye. It seems claustrophobic, labyrinthine, terrifying. Stuck in traffic on La Brea, you start to question your sanity, and consider moving to Alaska to live with wolves.
Currently, I’m sitting in the waiting room of the Ann Arbor Honda dealership, waiting for my car to be serviced. The Ricki Lake show is playing on the TV, which would be really irritating, except for the fact that I’m on the internet! The city, apparently, has a ton of free wifi hotspots. Who knew? (Answer: locals.)
When I find things like this, I almost always react with the thought, “we are living in the future, and it’s AMAZING!” Except, that type of thing always prompts the follow-up thought of, “oh yeah? Where’s my flying car?”
That’s such an outdated image of the future though. I mean… flying cars, really? They do exist, but they’re definitely not mainstream. And I’m not sure they should be. After all, regular car maintenance is expensive enough–can you imagine the cost of an oil change for one of those? Or the traffic congestion in LA? It’s bad enough already, so I’ll pass. This current “future”–where I can carry a supercomputer around in my pocket, contact my friends by telephone from the mountains of Wales, and take 2,000 pictures on a single “roll” of film–is miraculous enough. And for dreams of a more technological future? How about a space elevator and a Mars colony? They sound pretty good to me!
Today’s Awesome Thing is: A YouTube video about color perception.
I’ve wondered for years whether or not people see color the same way. I know that for people who are color-blind, the answer is definitely no! But what about “normally-sighted” individuals? Is it possible that what I see as green is what you would call orange? How would you assess that?
The full answer to those questions may never be known. However, the above YouTube video shows a clip from a BBC documentary that shows that language apparently shapes our perceptions of color. As a result, different people perceive color in different ways. After I got done watching it, I couldn’t help but say, “WOW, AWESOME!”
Today’s Awesome Thing is: Being able to say “forget it! I’m busy!”
Why I think this is awesome: Because it lets me get away with writing inadequate blog posts. 🙂 Seriously, though, sometimes you just have too much on your plate, and the only way to handle it is to push some less-important things aside. Life balance is important. And sometimes balancing your life means that you have to prioritize what you will and won’t do in a day. And being able to do that, when the voices in your head are saying “BOO, you Suck!” Well, it’s pretty awesome.
Last week, I was taking a walk on my lunch-break from work. I have several routes that I’ve sort of “set” in the years gone by, one of which passes in front of a veterinary office. I was starting down that route, when I kicked a massive pile of dog poo. I was trying to step over it, but apparently my depth perception was off that day. Or maybe the pile was just that big. Seriously–it had to have come from a dog large enough to ride on.
In any event, this did nothing to help my already foul mood. Although I didn’t actually get much on my foot, my favorite pair of flip-flops from Lululemon were completely trashed. They had already taken quite the beating from years of wear from lengthy walks, and I decided that it was probably time to let them go. Looking around, I noticed that there was a woman dressed in scrubs walking a dog passing by. I walked over to her and was trying to ask if I could throw my flip-flops away in her dumpster. I must have had a really terrible look on my face, because she started apologizing and explaining the sidewalk hygiene situation. (The techs clean it up in the morning and evening, but owners aren’t required to pick up after their pets, apparently.) I waived her off and tried to make light of it.
Anyway, the lady vet allowed me to toss out my old flip flops in the garbage bin at the office. Then–totally out of the blue–she said, “hey, I have several pairs of flip flops in my van. Can I give you a pair? They’ll probably be too big, but at least you won’t have to walk back barefoot.” I was surprised and greatly appreciated, and she produced the above flip flops out of the back of her car.
I wore them back to the office, and washed my feet. Now, they sit under my desk as a reminder that there are some very kind strangers out there.