Lost identities

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Waiting rooms usually have only the blandest things hanging on the walls.

But where I am waiting (for physical therapy) these days, hanging on the wall are three photographs that I find quite interesting.

Like much art in public spaces, it hangs unidentified and unattributed. And oddly enough, it seems to take up not enough of the wall space. Two of the photos are paired closely on an otherwise empty wall. And the third hangs practically across the room.

The photo that first attracted my eye presents an aerial view of a grid of swimming pools each with a boxy suburban home to match (see image above). The lucky homeowners who move in here will never have to share their pools with their neighbors. Afterall, each house has its own pool; and each pool is exactly the same, each house is exactly the same. No need to worry that you’re not exactly like your neighbor.

It reminds me of my three-year sojourn in Pasadena, where neighbors barely spoke and driveways right up to the front door guaranteed that they’d never have to speak. Pop out the door, pop into isolation of your car and go, go, go.

The grid of pools hangs next to an aerial view of swimming pools attached to beach hotels (shown left). These pools are no plain rectangles. They have baroque flourishes and richness made to attract patrons to share the space, although the sadness and seediness of an unpopulated seaside resort cuts the mood.

And on the far side is a view of waterslides, the narrow, wiggle of a blue, man-made line right next to the gray-green, complex splendor of the ocean.

Whoever hung these pictures is probably long gone, and probably no one remembers the photographer. But if you’re out there, I think they’re splendid pictures, and while you’re identity is lost to me for now, at least you have an identity.

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