I am attending a writing conference in Las Vegas this week. Since I attended another conference recently (General Education) in Boston, I can't help but make some comparisons.
The weather here is outstanding. Blue skies and warm! It was cold and windy in Boston.
When I walked around the hotel in Boston, I passed several old, stately churches (see earlier post). Here, I found one. It was modern, with small but made of stone with a large carving covering the front of the A-frame. Oh, and a wedding chapel. Very different styles! Brick buildings a century old faced Boston streets lined with trees, most still bare branches at this early spring time. In Vegas, wide avenues lined with souvenir stores and casinos/hotels are bordered with tall palm trees, green.
In Boston, there are historical sites eveywhere. History is in the air. And red lines on the sidewalks lead us from one historical spot to another (Boston Commons to Bunker Hill). Here, commerce is on display, in a variety of forms. And, although I did go down one street in Boston where the old stately homes had been turned into stores--Burberry, Vera Wang--here the style of commerce is much less subdued.
That said, I have a student who comes from Vegas and loves it. I know she must see aspects of the city that aren't on display to visitors (especially those of us who don't have cars and come from the airport to the conference and go back again). I keep thinking about he love for her city and realize that like many things, the surface perception is only that: surface. Unless we live here (or Boston, for that matter), we only see what we can see in a short time and only what the city wants to share. That is a little like people, too. When we see someone only in one setting (class, church, work), we might not realize that our perception is limited by that setting. W e might not realize that people a much deeper and mo complex than the one face we see. We might not realize the challenges and concerns that color the rest of their lives besides the obvious ones we see in the situations share with them.
Vegas reminds me not to limit my perception to only the part of a city (or person) that I can see.