December 6, 2011 7 Comments
Every other Tuesday is #LetsBlogOff day, when participating bloggers write posts on the same pre-determined subject. Today’s topic: “Taking a Second Look.” Feel free to join in, by the way: it’s all explained here: http://www.letsblogoff.com.
The thing about New York is that you have to remember to look up from time to time. Everybody knows this, but still we tend to look straight ahead or slightly down, so determined are we to cut a path, to stake a claim — to a swath of sidewalk, to our place in the world. In a city so stuffed with distractions, you have to narrow your focus or you’ll never get anywhere. But looking up is essential, for that’s where the gargoyles are, the Art Deco details, the inexplicable romance of the water towers. Up is where the clouds are, where the stars are, and where our heads should be at least some of the time.
I’ve lived in my current home for nine years now, and estimate that I’ve walked by one particular nearby building about 1000 times (a rough guess, but it’ll do). Here’s a reasonable approximation of how I normally see this building when I’m rushing from here to there or back again:
The other night my romantic husband sat me down on a bench across the street from that building for no good reason other than that he wanted to extend the nice evening that was ending what for him had been a stressful day, and just sit, together, in the night. I’ve passed this bench about as many times as that building. Sitting there, for the first time, I saw everything from a slightly different perspective. The bike rack, the Thai restaurant, my romantic husband. Looking up, I saw something I’d never seen at all before: the charmingly-angled second floor facade of an otherwise nondescript building.
And so I saw the charmingly angled building. So what? It’s hardly architecturally significant; at most I suppose it qualifies as cute. And yet it tickles my fancy. And for some unanswerable, ephemeral reason — maybe for no reason, really — my life seemed the smallest bit better for sitting on that bench with my romantic husband, drawing out the evening just a little longer, looking at the shiny moon, feeling the air while I wasn’t moving through it. Better for the act of noticing, and for the things I noticed.