Ever since I was a boy attending my friends parties at the local pizza parlors, I have seen all kinds of balloons of different colors shapes and sizes. I’ve seen yellow balloons, tall balloons, green balloons, and square balloons. Balloons always made me uncomfortable in the way a stranger at a strange party would, I felt that balloons were able to see and judge me the way my parents did… or my friends. Needless to say, I just never really got along with balloons.
This all changed when I was given a red balloon one day as a symbol intended to heal more than just any ailments I may have had, at least I thought that this was the intention of the Red Balloon, for the first time in my life I felt that a balloon was willing to talk to me instead of talk about me to its friends… you know other balloons. I had a nice conversation with the red balloon, I told him it was nice to have met him and that I appreciated him listening to what I had to say(at least I think it was a him… do balloons have genders?) He(or she) also thanked me for listening to what it(I feel this is not really that PC but lets go with it… it just makes more sense to me) had to say about humans, and helium tanks, I told it that it was my pleasure. Before I could ask if it had a gender or why it came to be, or even why it decided to come to my doorstep and be so kind to me, it deflated and died.
I decided to hold a nice and private funeral for the Red Balloon and to immortalize it by hanging its body on the wall of my bedroom… sure this may sound kind of creepy… but remember people stuff their dead pets and put them as decorative pieces in their living rooms, so I thought that since the Red Balloon and I became friends for one night that this homage was more than appropriate.
Most moments become forgettable… there are too many to count. We live our lives that are made up of just a series of countless unimpressive moments. But what makes live worth living is that every once in a while a moment becomes unforgettable. It may be a moment of joy, of pain, of love, of loss…. but either way these moments soak into your brain and we absorb it. These moments make us feel alive, because near the end of our lives we will look back at these moments and tell ourselves “this is what it meant to be human”.
“It’s actually a rare and precious thing to discover what it is you love to do, and I encourage you to remain unapologetically consumed by it. Be faithful to your gift and very confident in its value.”—Jonathan Ive (via jennaaaye)
When I wrote this, I was sitting at a coffee shop in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. There was a man next to me trying to explain the concept of a cell phone to an older gentlemen. He was explaining things like, “how to make a phone call”, “how to add a number into your phone” and “yes, the phone still works when you’re riding the bus.”
The town was founded in 1869 by a group of Methodist clergymen who decided that, after trekking their families down here for summer “camp meetings” (basically, a summer-long family “church camp”¹) every year, they might as well colonize the place. So they built a church, and then they built their housing around it; community.
It makes sense to me that technology isn’t widely accepted or understood here.
Anyway, what has struck me most, thus far, about the east coast is the apparent lore around every corner. Nothing comes without a story. The house my wife and I are staying in is over 100 years old: It creaks, it rattles, not all the doors fit in their frames, there are floorboards that move under your feet while you walk. I’m not the only person to have slept in the room I’m sleeping in, and, though I’ve not seen any yet, this place is bound to have a few ghosts.
In Philadelphia, I stood where they signed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I walked by graves with names of revolutionary war soldiers, pastors, and statesmen, and walked the same halls that Ben Franklin did. The houses nearby had “built in 1779” inscribed on them, and other crazy things like that. History happened right where I was standing, and it was both weighty and intoxicating.
Then it hit me. I figured it out: My problem with “the ‘burbs” is that there is no history in our sidewalks. Nothing truly culturally significant has ever happened in our malls. As far as “history” is concerned, our roots aren’t (generally) much deeper than the fact that some dude in an office somewhere “master-planned” the community.