Monday, April 26, 2010

Your Point of View

There is a man I see just about every day. He walks along West Broadway between Prince and Spring streets in Soho, but there's no telling how many streets and blocks and miles he walks each day. He walks with an offbeat rhythm: perfectly methodical for him, but markedly out of sync to the other sets of legs clipping briskly on the sidewalk.

The right leg leads, followed by a loping left side, his whole body drooping as the leg slowly drags and then swings forward. His stride is long, direct, but his gait is labored, wobbly. "Has he been like this since birth?" I wonder, "Or did an accident take away his full functioning?"

I watch him continue down the street - step, dip, swing, step, dip, swing, step, dip, swing - and always shake my head with a strange mix of bewilderment and appreciation. The words blazoned across the back of his green uniform, partially covered by the sideways strap of the messenger bag hanging around his shoulder: RDS Delivery Service.


My favorite advertising campaign is for the bank HSBC - its clever and thought-provoking words and images are designed to illustrate the multiple perspectives of any subject - and the ads always make me pause and consider: what is MY point of view? If you aren't familiar with the campaign, one of the easiest ads to describe is the image of a baby laying on its back with arms open, face expectant. The image is repeated side by side three times, with the words "love", "legacy", "expense".

I imagine my RDS deliveryman starring in his own installment of the campaign. A picture of him in uniform, mid-stride, body loping to the side and packages filling his bag, with the words "determined", "inspiring", "futile" describing the scene.

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