Monday, August 08, 2005

Doing it and doing it and doing it

A question posted in THE NEW YORK TIMES by the proprietors of an Ad Agency:

I'm a subscriber to your (Newspaper) in Devonport, a seaside suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. With your wide readership in the U.S. ad industry, I thought you'd be better placed than anyone to help us with a phenomenon we have noticed that involves your compatriots.

We appreciate that the name of our agency, the Department of Doing, is a little quirky and helps us get noticed in an industry where everyone craves attention. But here's the rub. Our premises are on the top floor of a 19th-century shop in Devonport and we have a "Department of Doing" sign outside. We always expected the odd inquiry out of curiosity but fully 60 percent of the people who climb our steep stairs to ask, "So, what does the Department of Doing do, exactly?" are American.

We now have a visitors' book and this comment would be typical: "Fascinated by name - had to come up!" Visitors sign themselves from Chesapeake Bay, San Diego and many other U.S. destinations.

We spend a lot of time talking to our American friends and they are all very charming. But could you throw some light on their overrepresentation as investigative stair-climbers? Is your nation more curious than others? Are Americans bolder, "not backward about coming forward," as my mum would put it? Rest assured that tea, cake and a convivial chat will always be on order for our American guests.

Ghost Cycle in Seattle

Pam's post on famous and nonfamous reminded me to check out the site that is listed on eerie white bikes with red printed signs that are dotted around Seattle. See picture & mission statement here.

I've seen three bikes so far, in areas where there are many bicyclists & bad traffic patterns converge and have wondered what the story was behind the bikes. There's something that hits home for me about memorials for stricken bicyclists, as I used to make my living riding a bike in Washington, D.C. (memorialized here by an old friend of a friend). The main reason I quit was because the idea of getting hit by a "any day now" was too oppressive. So, after two years, I gave up riding.

Ghost cycle, cool project.