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.
It happened very quickly.
Jay, my oldest son, was shopping for a newer car to replace his dying (and uncool) Toyota Corolla. He invited me to look at a car he was considering. I drooled, and he yawned. The car was just not his style – but it did fit my age group rather well.
Heather, Rachel and I played around with the idea of replacing our Honda Fit that year-older German car – with very little difference between each sale price. Our discussion turned into action… within a week, the title was signed over to us.
But it has a manual transmission.
A few years back, I said that I’d probably not get another car with a manual – you know, it’s just too much work in any stop-and-go commute.
But the car was so nice. The previous owner had maintained it meticulously and kept complete service records. “Only Mobil 1 for oil changes.” I could tell he was not lying, judging by the condition of every part of the car.
After a few weeks of driving, I realize that the extra effort of shifting has faded into the background. I love it.
Don’t say, “never again.”
It’s super simple to use less resources.
Many times when I visit the men’s room in my office building, I hear men get two or three paper towels from the automatic dispenser.
It’s very easy to dry your hands with just one towel. Use every corner of the towel and dry each part of your hands more than once.
And think of that savings multiplied by once or twice a day times however many days you work a year… that is a lot of paper.
The saving is more than just paper. There’s the total cost of consumption to consider.
And you will be saving your property management company money that they will not have to spend on more paper towels.
Have you ever noticed that Amazon sells lots of cheap stuff with weird brand names?
These goods are shipped from China to you (sometimes direct) without any help from American marketing experts.
Look at the backpacks that were featured in the top eight results from a search on Amazon for “packable backpack”:
- Venture Pal
Only one of those brands would even get close to appealing to an American: Venture Pal. But even the word “pal” is not part of American English anymore. None of those outdoor equipment brands are as attractive to American consumers as:
- North Face
Admittedly, several of those known brands have a lot of equity – years of making quality products. But they evoke the untamed destinations, rugged adventure, or at least a feeling of quality.
And the Chinese brands are often very good value for the money. They may even be made in the same factories as the big brands. But those companies are cutting themselves out of a lot of profit that could be realized if they had better branding.
My recommendation to companies that produce products like Hikpro (“hick-pro”) and Neekfox (what?!) – simply hire a group of American teenagers. They can come up with a better unique name within 20 minutes of brainstorming than five hours spent by a team of Chinese nationals sitting in a room in Shenzhen.
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.