I remember in primary school, our teacher would test our observation skills. Every morning, we would sit down and she would sweetly and diligently ask us things like “Is our school on ‘Smith Rd’ or ‘Smith’s Rd’? Each morning, our stomachs churned with delight or utter disbelief, dependent on what we had noticed and what we had missed. A blink at just the wrong moment, a miniscule turn of the head at just the right one. Though casual and fun, it was an exercise I took very seriously. If you were observant you were somehow a better person. Such is my personality that I strove to be the best at, of all things, observation. I loved the challenge. And, well, frankly, thank God she took the time to run this ‘test’, because I attribute that early reminder of what we might be missing, to my love for detail and noticing things which would otherwise go unnoticed. I think it’s important in my line of work to notice things. To understand how our minds process visual information and how it affects our communication, our relationships and our ability to get through the day. Imagine if we couldn’t read? Imagine if we didn’t understand the seemingly simple relationships between facial expressions and emotions.
So what the doof* am I getting at?
Well, I just wanted to show you these pretty gates. I want you to notice them and give them some attention. Stop a while and think about the gates. I walk around the neighbourhood, grinding plastic pram wheels on bitumen and concrete, and I notice these poor old gates who at one point were decided upon, chosen, proudly attached to fences. Now they’re mostly rusted — paint peeling and hinges creaking. Do their owners still love them? Are they observed? Or, will they be discarded, like rusty junk to make way for a shiny new rust-free indication of where we all stand in the world? Sigh. I wish I could prop them up in a field somewhere and call it art**. Because not noticing those beautiful gates leaves a little hole in the universe where beautiful mundane things go to fade away and disintegrate.
*Yep. I said ‘doof’. Say it aloud. Go on, say it. ‘Doof’.
**The gates were much more difficult to draw than I expected, which makes me realise how precisely they would have been designed and forged. Were they forged? Kind of like a font? #mindblown