March 14, 2011

Manual focus

It looked like everyone in San Diego was getting new carpet last week.

Several days in a row, I drove behind pickup trucks filled with rolls of carpeting. Most looked like they were hauling away old stuff, but there were a few trucks with shiny new stuff as well. Maybe there was a sale at Penny's!

About a year ago, Sean and I were working for about a month up in the Huntington Beach area. It was a really long commute from San Diego, so there was plenty of time to "sight see". One morning, I mentioned how odd it was to see a truck delivering Audis every day. Sean looked at me like I was crazy. But once I pointed it out, we saw a truck with shrink-wrapped Audis heading north nearly every day for a month.

It was just so odd to see so many Audis being shipped when it seemed that few people were buying any cars at that point (much less luxury models). We started imagining they were shipping something else in the trunks of the cars.

Of course, there are probably as many carpet trucks out every other week, and maybe we were just traveling at the same time as the daily shipment of Audis. But once you start noticing something, your mind keys in on it and you start seeing it everywhere.

Our minds have to filter out most everything we see (or at least push it down to the subconscious), otherwise we would be constantly overloaded with information. It tends to let the expected stuff fall to the background and key in on the unusual or out of place. But with some practice, we can still register the ordinary, yet beautiful things that cross our path.

Beyond the monthly resolutions, one of the things I wanted to do this year was take a picture every day. I wanted to start tuning into my surroundings and see some of the things I had been missing. I did great through January and February, but lost the habit the past couple weeks. I need to get refocused so I start noticing the beauty again, and not the delivery trucks.

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