Today I came across an interesting sign that somebody had taped up inside his own car. It caught my attention and made me wonder about the story behind that. The writer of the note had clearly experienced some problems in the past, enough to warrant putting a reminder in writing. Was this driver very forgetful? Or was it meant for a spouse or someone else borrowing the car? I noted the underscoring of the word “NOT” and the double underscore of “THIS WINDOW.” I guess if he had merely written “DO NOT OPEN,” the operator of the vehicle might be confused and think the door was also out of service. It’s as if he wanted to make clear that THE OTHER THREE windows were perfectly functional, go right ahead.
Shortly after, I stopped by a produce market/deli and upon returning to the car, I saw in the vehicle parked directly across from me a young couple who had obviously just returned from the deli portion of the store. I say obviously because each of them had multiple slices of bologna dangling from their mouths and were in the process of a feeding frenzy that would rival anything you might see during Shark Week. I do not exaggerate. If I had any kind of merit as a street photographer, I would have taken advantage of the scene. Instead, I looked away and quickly put the car in reverse, marveling in the fact that real life—happening in the most ordinary of places—offers so much inspiration for us writers and photographers if we’re only paying attention. Interesting can be everywhere, and that’s good to remember when you’re in the middle of a challenge like this one (the photo-a-day project) or Laurie Halse Anderson’s Write Fifteen Minutes a Day commitment, and all your ideas are feeling a bit stale. You just never know when a surprise might turn up in a suburban parking lot.
Speaking of surprises, today was the day I finally caught an image of a Monarch. (You have NO idea. I have been trying to catch this thing all summer!) And you know what? I kinda took it as a sign, too. It reminded me that, in the midst of all the other life stresses and crappy things that can happen, in each day there is a moment of wonder, a reason to smile, something beautiful, something magical. Maybe that’s an idea I need to have taped up on my window.