Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The old is new again

by Steve Brock on March 30, 2011

Here’s a scenario I’ve seen played out in different ways over the years by, uh, various friends. Yeah, friends. Other people I’ve heard about.

Guy: I’m thinking about breaking up with Tiffany.

Friend #1: Why?

Guy: I don’t know. I think I could do better. More fish in the sea and all that.

Friend #1: Are you insane? Tiffany is hot!

Guy: Really?

Friend #2: Dude, Tif is sweet! You split with her and I’m asking her out…

Guy: Split? No, way. I was just joking.

What happened here besides some bad clichés and stereotyping? The guy in question had a change of perspective brought on by the validation of external forces. His own view of the world changed when confronted with how others see it.

I had a similar experience a few weeks ago. No, not concerning girlfriends but with travel.

I was down in Los Angeles for work and to spend time with my wife’s family. I grew up near LA, so the whole place seems about as novel as a favorite pair of well-worn slippers.

On the flight down there, however, I glanced through the in-flight magazine and found an article about the rejuvenation of downtown LA. Here was an outside party telling me that the place I discounted as tired and worn out might, in fact, be fresh and interesting.

And so it was.

That article helped me to see LA in a new way.

My two sons and I spent half a day in downtown LA, mostly walking just a small section of it near Bunker Hill. I’ll let the photos below give you a sense of what we encountered, but here are a few reasons why it turned out to be a meaningful trip:

  • It defied our expectations. We didn’t plan on finding anything out of the ordinary, but we did.
  • It was novel. New buildings and sights have been built since we lived there. Thus, in some ways, it was a new city to us.
  • It built on past associations. Enough time has passed so that even the recognizable seemed like a new find…or an old friend revisited.
  • Small details meant a great deal. Wandering around in 70 degree sunshine after coming out of cold, gray Seattle made this day – and each of us – come alive. I literally stopped at one point and thanked God for the simple feel of sun on my skin.
  • It was an adventure that unfolded. The article got us to go downtown, but once we were there, we began making discoveries on our own that became our own.

 I’m not sure if the place itself has changed so much as to be new or if we saw what was old with new eyes and that made it new. All I know for sure is this:

It was a good trip; a new discovery in an old, familiar place.

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