The above photo is from my spec music video password: BRMC

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect

I’m sitting outside a café in Forli, Italy, eating dinner when a small city bus drives by, barely fitting through the narrow medieval-sized street.  In fact, as the bus slips by, it is no more than a couple feet from the edge of my café table.

As I look up, I notice that the chubby bus driver is leaning out of the window and inspecting people’s dinner plates as the vehicle drives by.  He glances back and forth at each of the tables for a moment, checking out the scope of that night’s dinner menu.  Grinning, the driver then wipes the sweat off of his mustache and continues on.

A similar spatial situation in Rome

In the US, I feel like I never see this kind of absurd real-life humor that only occurs when humanity is forced into imperfect close-quarters.  In general, the US is too new, too organized and, other than a few major cities, too spread out to shove this kind of human ridiculousness in your face.

I believe the modern term is called, “suburbia”.  “Neutered space” can sometimes feel more appropriate.  Modern suburbia (and modern cities) employ perfect street grids, perfect lawns, and are in fact perfect at keeping people away.  As a result, we remove ourselves from the rest of humanity in the name of safety and convenience.

In fact, I would argue that this neutered space also makes us miss out on the humor and surprises that come from a lack of organization.

To steal a slogan from the Hallmark Corporation, what we miss is “Perfectly Imperfect” moments.  Granted, I’m sure each of us encounters something poetically perfect in our daily lives that arises from chance.  However, what I’m arguing is that the likelihood of encountering such unexpected moments diminishes when everything is planned and organized.  Serendipity is killed and charming surprises are made rare.

In places like New York or San Francisco, you are shoved in with the rest of humanity so, in a sense, you are forced into imperfect situations more often.  You encounter life, because you’re forced to be around it, whether on the city street, or in the subway.

Again, I’m generalizing a lot here obviously.  But I think you get the idea.

I guess the question for each individual is, what do you value more?  A perfect lawn with a life planned out in advance?  Or life unexpected, where you find charm in the rough edges and small inconveniences?

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here, just a question of whatever level of uncertainty (and sometimes unpleasantness) is indeed right for you.

I would argue though that the bolder you are, the greater the payoff.

Personally, I take delight in the unexpected and if I ever were to see that chubby bus driver again, I’d give him a high-five along with a classic American, “Fuck yeah”.

Despite his weirdness, he’s made my life more interesting… and perhaps yours if you’re reading this.

And yes Mr. Bus Driver, the pasta alla carbonara was to die for.

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