Now I want to preface these remarks by saying that my thoughts on this subject have not been influenced by anything like a scientific study or even from a learned source of any kind, nay not even wikipedia.
I’ve noticed that when you are looking around in a landscape your eyes are naturally drawn to the written word.
It’s as if our eyes seek out letters and try and discern some meaning, to make sense of the world.
I first noticed this when I was pregnant.
You see I can read anywhere at anytime.
In a car, on a bus, on the back of a motorbike and I never get carsick.
Unless I’m with child.
(what a lovely phrase that is)
When I’m in the first trimester, reading even a word while travelling makes me feel nauseous.
In fact, that’s usually the first sign I’m up the duff.
And of course my eyes seemed to be drawn to every word in the landscape.
Street signs, billboards, graffiti.
Those days are over, but they did alert me to this phenomenon that as humans we seek to decode our world.
And words in the landscape act as captions for what we see.
Of course many of them don’t make sense, but it doesn’t stop our eyes finding them.
And that’s why I think graffiti is so annoying and powerful.
Simply because you can’t not see it.
Even when you try and ignore it, your eyes won’t let you.
I’ve been known to slag off Perth Airport from time to time but on arrival last Monday I felt so welcomed that I have only praise.
I can’t quite believe it either.
I only took carry-on – which in itself is quite impressive for a four day weekend, plus conference, plus dinner dance – so I was able to waltz straight past the baggage retrieval thingys – what is the proper term for them anyway? – past the growing taxi rank – which is always ridiculous – and out to the general vicinity of where the shuttle collects you for the long term parking.
Except the shuttle was just leaving.
I made eye-contact with the driver and did that little moue of disappointment crossed with hopeful smile and gestures of where I need to stand to get a ride – you’ve seen me do it before I’m sure…it’s similar to the look I give at the bar when I finally get enough of your attention to order a crisp Sav Blanc or cheeky Pinot Noir… that look.
Anyway, instead of driving past me and off to the long term carpark, instead of pointing behind him, instead of ignoring me, the driver smiles… I kid you not… smiles, and pulls across the lane into the drop off zone and opens the door.
Off to the long term carpark love?
Thank you so much, I gush.
I turn on my phone to tweet my appreciation – still having a post-conference lovefest with twitter – and before I know it we are pulling into carpark A and I get out to pay the $62 bucks I owe for four days parking (short term would have cost $140 – which is outrageous) and I don’t have a credit card because I’ve had to cancel it again due to the number being on my daughters’ mobile that got lost over the weekend so I have to pay with wads of cash which fortunately I remember to get out of the bank while I was in Sydney.
Thank you I say sweetly to the kind driver and I make my way to the pay machine where a young girl in a high viz vest is smiling at me.
Hello, can I help you?
I’m struggling to find the ticket which I’m sure I’ve put somewhere safe in my wallet/mini-bag but of course it’s been four days and anything could have happened to it but eventually I find it and she puts it in the machine for me, and even though I’m perfectly capable of managing a pay machine as I am a grown up and tall enough to reach, it’s nice to be looked after.
Then she points to the bit where the money goes, and that’s good because I’m used to paying with credit cards which are SO much easier, and I only have a $100 bill because that’s what the bank gave me, but she assures me that the machine will accept such a big note and that I will get notes in change, which is also nice.
I get a cheery farewell and I’m off to my car patiently waiting in S row.
Now I didn’t really need a person helping me with the pay machine but I walked off feeling a bit special – it doesn’t take much.
I felt looked after.
And I’m sure it must be a pretty boring job but the girl was so cheery and sweet and made you feel as if it was her pleasure to be standing around a pay machine at 7.30 on a Monday night, as if there was nothing better she would want to be doing.
And that’s a skill.
So, Perth Airport people, please go and give the driver and the pay-machine girl at carpark A a pat on the back from me, they were great, and you can feel good about yourself too for employing them.
So I flew up to Geraldton the other week and as I flew up the coast past our fair city I noticed what appeared to be – I don’t know – oil slicks? – emanating from the land.
They were all along the coast but stopped once we got past civilisation.
Of course I snuck out my electronic camera and defying the chance that the navigation on the plane would go spastic and we’d end up in Bunbury – trusting, in fact, the pilots to LOOK OUT THE WINDOW and keep the coast on their right – I took a couple of snaps.
Quickly sliding my little instamatic behind a convenient cardie when the cabin crew walked past.
So what is your best guess?
I’m buggered if I know.
UPDATE: Well you guys were rubbish at telling me what those lines were I must say! Luckily at work today I ran across Professor Jorg Imberger who is the water guru of Perth, and he told me they are the result of Langmuir circulation. Vis a vis – it is wind my friends, wind. Well you learn something every day. I am, for one, happy to learn that they aren’t the result of pollution or anything nasty.