Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Pictures I’m Not Taking

I’m seeing lots of joyful photographs on social media these days of friends on long-postponed vacations, get-togethers with friends and family, celebrating at weddings. After more than a year of lying low it is only natural to mark the return to a more “normal” way of life with things we have missed the most: opportunities for human connection.

As for me, I’m getting there, albeit slowly. But, as anyone who has been reading current posts knows, I’ve been spending most of my time going around in circles in Columbia/HoCo’s parking lots and cul-de-sacs. One doesn’t exactly post photos on social media of that. Besides, I’m there to supervise a learning driver, not snap photos with my phone.

But if I were using these daily trips to be a “roving reporter” I’d probably be snapping photos of:

1. Those signs that appear at the ends of major roads or at intersections. You know, the ones that are about the size of the smaller political signs that one plants in the yard during campaign season. Signs touting real estate are permitted on weekends, I believe. At least in Columbia these kind of signs are heavily regulated but I am seeing plenty of “Suboxone treatment: call us” and a variety of other non-real estate signs. I have yet to see any such sign that gave me information I needed, but, perhaps they’re useful to somebody.

2. Siding. Old-school Columbia houses had vertical siding. Wood, I think. Through the years I gather this hasn’t held up well and owners have redone the houses with more durable siding products that are horizontal. Horrors! Has anyone ever written to the newspaper complaining that Columbia started to go downhill when people started using horizontal siding? I wonder if some day we’ll see a restoration program on HGTV where the host lovingly restores a Columbia home to the “original vertical wood exterior.” 

3. Tot Lots. Well, you can’t take pictures of them. They’re invisible to the ordinary driver. As thrilled as I was with the signage installed around town during the late Jane Dembner’s tenure with Columbia Association, absolutely none of those signs say “to the Tot Lots.” So, if you are entirely new to the area, you will have no idea that playgrounds are hidden along the pathways. Still bugs me.

I was fascinated by readers who pointed out that many cul-de-sacs have sidewalks only half of the way around. What could possibly be the point of that? To thwart door-to-door salesmen?

Advice for the day: if you see a sign that says Farmer’s Market, you just might be in Oakland Mills where the market is on Sundays from 9-1. That’s a sign worth heeding.

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