At a bus stop not far from my office, there is a sloped area covered with size large river rock - a demonstration of The Organization's dedication to water conservation. Or it's disdain for steep water bills. Or both.
We do live in the desert so it is a marvelous thing to see that someone had the good judgment to replace much of the skinny little grass strippage with something more drought tolerant. Like rocks, because we have TONS of rocks in You-tah and they aren't all being used to fill our legislators' skulls.
While rocks are low maintenance, they're not particularly interesting. Unless some enterprising soul - I'm guessing an art student, a potter in particular - has left his mark.
If you've ever spent much time waiting at a bus stop.... the SAME bus stop every day, you know that pretty soon you run out of things to look at and you find yourself staring down at drought-proof parking strips while mentally making your evening must-do list.
Until one day you notice a rock that looks like it has a face! Very subtle features, but unmistakably human. Huh, you think, cool rock! But your bus comes before you can get a closer look.
Next day, or maybe a week later - it's hard to affix a time line to bus stop coma - you have the same experience. That seeing-the-face thing. Only this time you have arrived uncharacteristically early, so you have time to check it out and notice, wow, there is another one!
And another and another....
Amid the hundreds of the basic roundish rocks, averaging maybe 6-8 inches across, someone had cleverly tucked handmade faux rocks with facial features into the mix. They appeared ceramic in origin, made of multiple shades of clay with various size and expression. Nothing about them was obvious.
I just don't think I can express how excited I got. True, I tend to find delight in odd places but this was a complete Nobel Prize for Cool, odd thing for me.
And what made it even cooler was the fact that no one else at that bus stop ever seemed to see what I saw. At first I was tempted to share this coolest, cool thing with my oblivious stopmates. But I didn't because first, there's the unwritten no-chatting rule at bus stops, which is very similar to the elevator etiquette that says: Everybody face forward and ignore each other! Secondly, it felt like the kind of thing that would lose magic if it had to be pointed out. Or possibly I was just feeling greedy, point is that I kept mum. Which is unusual for me.
Meanwhile, I'm sure those around me were all making mental Post-its that said 'Do NOT sit next to the crazy Bus Stop Mona Lisa Lady who smiles at rocks!!'
I'm not saying that I was the only one who ever saw those faces. That bus stop is visited by hundreds of people every day while I only know what goes on between about 5:04 and 5:09 Monday through Friday when the worker bees gather to head home from work - thinking about what's for dinner or how they're going to fake their way through another 8th grade Algebra homework assignment.
I badly wanted to get some pictures of this rock project because someone had gone to a LOT of work and wouldn't that make a great desktop background? Sadly I never remembered my camera and didn't think to use my phone camera.
And then one Monday the opportunity was lost forever. I got to the bus stop and found... pieces. Bunches of scattered pottery shards because some a$$hole had taken and smashed as many faces, I assume, as they could find.
Over the next week or so the rest either disappeared or joined the Humpty Dumpty club.
Months later, I am still kind of angry about it and I don't know what prompted me, but the other day I related the whole sad story to my husband. Now I didn't expect he would understand my excitement over fake rocks, but when I wondered what kind of a sleaze bag would do something like that, I did not expect the response that I got.
I said "I just don't get it. I mean, I can sort of understand people stealing them; I would guess that they like them so much, they want one for themselves, but I just can't make sense of someone who would just destroy them. What were they thinking?"
To which Homer shrugged and replied "I can't believe you would expect that they were thinking anything. I'm sure it was boys. Boys smash things."
Yeah, that's what he said. And don't yell at me because this is coming from a guy who once threw rocks to smash out half the windows of his neighbors' large passenger van. His friend did the other half. He was probably only 5 or 6 but he says he still remembers how much fun it was to see who could make the biggest spider in the glass.
Yeah. And suddenly I don't feel so bad that his Y chromosome won't be moving on to the next generation.