Across the street from my office is a relatively expensive apartment building.
We’re not talking NYC levels — but the rent is similar for one of those Greenwood Village 2-bedroom apartments to that of a suburban Denver 3-bedroom house.
Yes, there’s location — I could walk to work if I lived there.
But I am not questioning the residents’ decisions to live there — I can understand some of the charms.
Rather I’m questioning the residents who choose to put patio furniture on their small balconies. You see, there’s a steady flow of traffic during all waking hours. Noise and diesel fumes are part of the experience a resident would enjoy by sitting on their balcony for a glass of wine at sunset.
What’s different about watching and listening to waves crashing on the beach? Those sounds also ebb-and-flow. Water flows past your feet, just as compact utility vehicles do along East Belleview Avenue.
Reminder to self… plan ahead.
At one intersection in downtown Denver, what were once beautiful street names are rendered in sunken brass letters.
As you can tell, most of the numbers either got stolen or simply knocked off through wear-and-tear.
The solution would have been for the street-name sign creators to have made the letters about three times deeper, so the surrounding concrete could have more firmly held onto the letters. Or for the letters to be made of a different material that would wear at exactly the same rate as the surrounding concrete.
But they were thinking the concrete was sticky enough and permanent enough to hold the letters in place for years to come.
The obvious analogy is for me and you to build our efforts and things to last.
We love open houses. Visiting a home that’s for sale reveals a lot about the people selling the home. Their lives are on display for guests to see.
Some homes are time capsules — nothing has been changed for twenty years or more. Other homes have been cleaned up and fitted with the latest accessories and appliances so they could be in almost any community of the same demographic in another part of America.
Our latest open house visit was to an immaculate farmhouse that was never a real farmhouse. The owners recreated a country home in the heart of suburbia. The matron of the home had impeccable taste — every room was perfect.
The Victrola room seemed a little excessive to me. Though the collection was small, each of these music players was not functional in the face of today’s entertainment landscape.
But that wasn’t the point. The owners most likely enjoyed the beauty of their hand-crafted machines and the era they represented.
Then I had to reflect on my own collections. Many would say that I have too many small toy cars or pairs of headphones. But at least I don’t have a room dedicated to any collection — like the Victrola museum.
Collecting things can be fun or reach a compulsive addiction level.
Collections are a good way to enjoy human creativity through variety and also experience the spectrum of form and function.
It’s easy to put up a front.
It’s harder to bare your soul.
We like to appear competent, knowledgeable, accepting, loving and kind (or most of us do). And we are those things, to some degree or another.
But we can’t be everything that everyone needs.
There’s a spectrum between hiding our weaknesses to revealing inappropriate levels of personal frailties. We must learn when and where to reveal our true selves.
Where am I going with this? I’m not sure. I don’t have any deep secrets to reveal to whoever can read this. But one-on-one, I’ll be trying to stretch my boundaries by going deeper.
Some praise the idea of increased rules. Others tout the benefits of self-regulation.
I argue for somewhere in the middle.
I am old enough to remember cities before the era of car emissions laws… a brown layer of thick haze covered the skyline on most days.
Today, new passenger vehicles are 98–99% cleaner in what comes out of tailpipes compared to vehicles from the 1960s (source). That change would not have happened without government regulation.
At the other end of the spectrum lies the ridiculous state of health care in the USA. Because of government regulations (and also private litigation), it takes months to pay a single doctor’s bill. And it’s nearly impossible to find out the real cost of a simple procedure because of added complications from the insurance industry.
Why does government involvement in one area yield good results in one area and bad results in another? I’m not sure.
One end of the spectrum says groups have no wisdom. The other end says the individual has no wisdom.
Both are incorrect. Groups and individuals have wisdom — some of the time. And some individuals have no wisdom, just as some groups have no wisdom.
We know so little about the people around us.
Even though I live with my wife and daughter, I realized that I know so little about their day-to-day lives.
Rachel is a junior in high school. I am not sitting in class with her, listening to teachers talk about math concepts that I have forgotten a long time ago. I am not in the school cafeteria during her 15-minute lunch with friends. I’m not in her Bible study when her girlfriends open up about life struggles.
Heather works in an office about 5 minutes from me. But I’ve only visited her office once. I hear tales of the joys and challenges that each day brings, but I’m not in the room when she discusses the latest design challenge of the big project that she’s tackling. I’m not at the chili cookoff with her colleagues.
My two sons, Jay and Ben, have rich and full lives too. And so does everyone I work with, hang out with and know from the past chapters of life.
My challenge to myself is to ask those around me a question that will uncover something I don’t know already. (And there’s a lot.)
A few weeks ago, I took a tumble off my bike. The road repair crews had put caution tape between the cones along one of the roads on my way to work — that wasn’t there the week before. I didn’t see the tape until I was too close. I slammed my brakes and went head-over-heels.
A guardian angel lady saw me tumble and quickly pulled over. She crammed my bicycle into the back seat and took me home, in spite of how I was such a bloody mess.
Through a miracle, I was able to get my teeth fixed that morning at a nearby dentist. Through another miracle, my dental insurance covered the vast majority of this unplanned expense.
Good as new!
Not quite. My face was a melange of scars for the next week. The aches and pains still live on — for a little while, at least.
That incident reminded me that nearly anything can happen to us. And that we’re fragile.
People all around us are injured. We may not see their scars. But we should treat them with love and care, just like that guardian angel lady treated me.
We never know if someone in our daily lives is about to break. The stress of life might be more than they can handle.
A little love and care can go a long way toward their healing. And we’ll feel better for having made a difference in their life.