Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Human Touch

Houston is not a pretty city. In fact, it’s been rated as one of the ugliest cities in the world.

 A Huffington Post writer pointed out, “This is a city so ugly that sometimes you may be tempted to put a bag over its head.” While you can duck down certain side streets to find residential neighborhoods of pretty houses under beautiful oaks, by and large, Houston, the largest American city with no zoning regulations, is an unending sprawl of strip malls: concrete, municipal signs and advertisements and cars, cars, cars.

And when you spend much time in your own car driving around, which you do, if you live here, you start treasuring the sight of actual human beings. Marketers know and take advantage of this, putting out real, live human beings to hold their signs or human-like figures.

I like the things that are a bit more home-made, like the goofy figures that mechanics make out of odds and ends and roll out to the street in front of their shops. I like funny signs. I like graffiti murals and street-art stickers and posters. Anything that shows we don’t live inside some kind of ugly, broken-down machine, that some other individual human being has put something up hoping we would see it.

These heads are outside a warehouse
near our neighborhood Target store.

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