Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ten observations, hold the metaphors

In a New York Times Smarter Living column on Monday, editor Tim Herrera explored ways to counteract people's prevailing sense of over-stimulation and under-focus. One way to resist the world's constant clamor for our attention, he noted, is to look closely without technology's mediation. Herrera shared a strategy used by Rob Walker, author of The Art of Noticing: "Report 10 metaphor-free observations about the world this week." Here are mine, from the past 36 hours:
  1. The morning temperature in my apartment was 77° Tuesday morning, six degrees warmer than the day before.
  2. After a weekend when I hiked and biked many miles, my legs ached with fatigue Monday whenever I walked up or down stairs.
  3. A man who sat near me in the library had two bottles of Powerade on his desk; he finished the blue one and kept a green one in reserve.
  4. An electric bus I rode had less robust air conditioning than the gas-powered alternative from which I had disembarked earlier.
  5. Speaking of buses and hurt legs, I saw a man using a cane to get on and off mass transit. His cane was decorated with a collage of flower stickers.
  6. Paprika, cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, onion, salt, honey, mustard, cider vinegar and sunflower oil made a tasty, tangy dressing to toss with toasted almonds, poached chicken, and spinach.
  7. Taking groceries out of their bags was a counter-intuitive way to fit more of them into my bicycle panniers.
  8. I counted fifteen lines of water arcing from a lawn sprinkler.
  9. There are many places in the world about which I know little, including the Philippines and Moldova.
  10. The classroom where I'm learning this week is in a college hall that opened in 2007, and it has zero windows.

6 comments:

  1. Ok, that's just cool. Now I want to do it, too. I've got my writer's notebook with me. I'll get back to you in a few days. No metaphors - I'm going to struggle with that. Also, I would like to eat the dressing in #6, please, and I, too, have taken groceries out of the bags to fit them into the paniers.

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  2. I adore this! This is a great writing exercise to get the creative juices flowing. PLUS, looking at the world like this can help one stay quite focused.

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  3. Fabulous! I think things like this all day, but never write them down. Now I have a new strategy to collect ideas for further writing.

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  4. I just put the book on hold at my library.

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  5. I likened this to taking minutes at a meeting..."Mr. Smith said that the debate team had done well at the tournament. Mrs. Doe reported the girls' basketball team had a winning season as well." What a great--and relatively--easy way to warm up and notice details.

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