More Perks

Floppy Disk Car

One of the dangers of walking in my neighborhood is not the smiler with the dagger under his cloak. Rather it is the anonymity of the unexpected. Take this automobile, for example. I almost passed it by. It was parked along Oxford Street and I almost missed it. Thank goodness I didn’t. The owner has decorated it with old floppy disk sleeves. That is clever enough. But look at the color pattern.  That shows a real coloristic eye. I'll bet the owner (or owners) dress well. It must have taken a lot of moxie to do this to your car. Just click on the photo and take a look at the blank space where one of the sleeves has fallen off. Some kind of epoxy has been applied in a spiral pattern to make sure the sleeves stayed put. You can forget about the original finish. You can also forget about any trade-in value. Whoever this person is, thanks for the gift.

Why the Lobster?
Here’s a second gift. I have passed this camper several times. What caught my eye was the plastic lobster wedged in against the water tank at the back. At least I hope that is a water tank.  Not a good idea to store fuel in there.  Sometimes when I pass the parked Chinook, the lobster isn’t there. But most of the time it is. What is that all about?  Is it a signal?  Is the owner telling street buyers that there is a fresh stash of lobster meat onboard? The license plate indicates that the van has come from Colorado. A long way from home. Also a long way to go for fresh lobster. So is the owner telling us that he'd walk a mile for a lobster?  No, that can’t be it.  If it were, the plastic lobster would have been sitting up there on the dashboard of his car right next to the plastic Jesus. The plain truth is I don't have a clue what that lobster is doing there. As Yul Brynner sang in The King and I, “Is a puzzlement.” If I had to guess, though, I'd say that the owner is a fan of David Foster Wallace and is doing homage to his great collection of essays Consider the Lobster.  Wallace would be pleased.

One of my favorite surprises while walking I found in the quadrangle at the Harvard Law School, the one next to Langdell Hall. At the west end of the quadrangle is a statue. I am unable to find a plaque indicating its name or the artist. It vaguely resembles a Louise Nevelson, but I am doubtful. In any case that isn’t why the statue caught my eye. Usually, one thinks of objects casting shadows because of light shining from behind. But the statue has taught me that the wind can also cast a shadow. A few weeks ago—it was November 24, 2013 to be exact—the day was very windy with gusts up to 40mph. I didn’t go walking on that day. The temperature was in the 20ºs and the wind chill factor brought it down to somewhere in the 10º range. I stayed home. But the next day I went walking.  Much to my delight I came upon this scene. The wind had blow the leaves around the edges of the statue casting a three dimensional shadow along the ground.

Shadow of a sculpture cast in fallen leaves
Going for a walk in my neighborhood can be like going to a birthday party where it's your birthday.