A strange thing happened to me the other day.
I was riding in the car with some coworkers, returning from lunch. We were stopped in gridlock traffic (which seems to be the case more often than not on Roswell Rd.), and as my eyes (as usual) flitted from side to side, taking in the colors, shapes, fonts, states of decay, and other assorted minutiae of the storefronts and signs in the supersaturated commercial district, I happened to notice a sign on a nearby Chinese restaurant. It said:
GIANT CHINESE B.BQ.
Now your average person, even your average detail-oriented person, may have glanced at that sign and not given it a second thought. But I was immediately consumed with perplexity over the liberties taken by the sign maker with respect to the use of periods. Why, I wondered, did the first “B” warrant a period while the second did not?
Or take another example: Tonight when I got home from work, I found a new MacMall catalog had arrived, and I perused it with passive interest while SLP was on the phone. I was mildly irritated to see yet another use of the annoying stock photos of perfect people in black mock turtlenecks with their arms folded atop some invisible barrier, which have become staples for use in stupid photo illustrations in these catalogs, where the perfect people are made to look as if they are leaning against a steroid-enhanced 5-foot-tall software package.
You’re probably thinking that my awareness of these stock photos of perfect people in stupid poses is the focus of my detail-obsessed attention in this story, but you’re wrong.
In fact, I noticed something even more stimulating to my detail obsession: On one page I saw a photo of a young woman with long blonde hair, and on the next, a distinctly different young woman with short, curly red hair. And that was when it hit me. I noticed that the hands of the two women were in exactly the same position. In fact, the arms in the picture belonged to the same person and were from one single photograph, but the heads were different. What’s more, the skin of the hands in the photo was color-corrected to match the facial complexion of the woman in each photo.
Clearly, if I notice something like this on passing glance, I have a problem.