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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Oblivious of the Obvious

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Ever notice how you never notice something until it directly affects you? For example, you buy a new car, then all at once you start to notice and pay attention to drivers who are in the same make and model as the one you have bought. Up until that time you probably didnít notice any of them. Same with the house you bought. After you move into the one you picked out, you begin to notice there is one like yours in every other block. How come you didnít see this before?

Women do this all of the time; they seem to be more conscious of someone wearing the same dress or shoes. Men could really care less. For all we care, the world could wear jeans and a tee shirt and weíd be ok forever with it. Women canít or wonít do this. Iím not sure they can. This is probably how the cave men changed from killing saber tooth tigers to wooly mammoths. Some cave manís wife saw another cave manís wife in a saber tooth tiger skin and told her husband she canít be seen wearing the same thing. So, he has to go out and slay something entirely different just to keep the peace at home. Pretty soon even that has gotten old, so you can see where this story goes. The decimation of many entire species is probably the result of a badly thought out fashion statement. What did a Dodo bird dress look like anyway? Hard to imagine.

Aside from the facts described above, I wish someone would explain to me that you can never find things when you really need them. For example, someone is following you and acting very strangely, but where are the cops you see each and every time you are over the speed limit by ten miles or going too fast in a school zone? No where to be found.

The other day I noticed that I needed to get my passport renewed. To do this you need new passport photos. To save my soul, I canít remember where Iíve seen those little shops that take the photos while you wait. I know they are around here somewhere, but canít find one anywhere. Finally I happen upon one and get it all done. The next day, I see signs all over the place advertisingÖ. Ďpassport photosÖwhile you waití. Where were they yesterday? How did I miss them?

You know those little businesses that you see along the highway where they fix your windshields? Well, Iíve seen them around town for years, but not today, theyíve just all disappeared. I need one of those stone chips on my windshield fixed and canít find anyone to do the repairs. Now, Iíd be willing to bet that once I do get it fixed, Iíll see them pop up on every corner. Same thing with mailing a letter. I think we used to have a mail box within a couple of blocks of every house I grew up in when I was a kid. Today, you have to search for one and probably have to go to the post office to mail a letter. Donít try calling the post office and asking where a box is located unless you like being placed in mailbox hell for an hour or so. Iím fairly certain they never get any complaints over the telephone since no one can ever stay on the line long enough to actually reach the complaint department. Iíve heard that people have actually died while being on hold with the USPS.

Now, the above describes two entirely different viewpoints of human nature. One sees everything that is common with itself and the other is entirely oblivious of the obvious. Iím certain there are more mailboxes around and I have just overlooked them. Perhaps we just see what we want to, when we want to do so. Who knows? Who really cares? Iím certain someone has written a book or a thesis on these quirks of human nature, but I donít think Iíll be reading any anytime soon. I just find it curious that we all seem to have similar experiences. Iíll keep on looking at these since they give me something to write about, maybe Iíll even discover some deep dark social secret that will help unravel the mysteries of life.

On the other hand, perhaps itís because of our age. I havenít figured it out yet, but I keep on trying. Like someone once told me, growing old is not an option, but growing up is. Iím holding off for as long as I can.


© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America - May 27, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
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