A few months back, I arrived in Shannon Airport in Ireland and had to wait about an hour for my colleague’s flight to touch down.
While loitering about the arrivals lounge, I had a picture snapped in front of a sign that displayed the direction and distances to a number of cities of interest. Having friends, family and colleagues in these four cities, the picture became special, because many friends were unseen yet represented.
As the months rolled by I would occasionally see the picture on my phone and smile.
Then last week, after finding myself missing several of my far-away relatives, I decided to make my own version of the sign that I recall so well from M*A*S*H.
I woke up early on Saturday and made a run to Home Depot where for the third weekend in a row, I said hello to the 6am Saturday staff.
After digging and pouring a bit of Quickcrete, I set the post in the back yard. Once it was nice and straight, I proceeded to make the list of loved ones and the cities they are in. This created immediate problems. There were more relatives and cities than would fit on one sign. I guess I could have created a second sign, but how eccentric would that have been?
I edited the list down to London, New York, Seal Beach, Pelham, Park City and South Korea. Cut from the list were Florida, Oregon, Long Beach, CA, Temecula, San Diego, and many other cities. I am hoping that these relatives all understand. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of art.
There were more than enough websites that would provide me the linear distance between cities. For London and NY, I picked very specific suburbs to set the distance. Given the M*A*S*H homage, I had to represent my wife’s niece who is living with her South Korea-based Army husband. There wasn’t enough room on the sign to paint “Pyeongtaek”, let alone enough room to paint “South Korea”. I had to use two small pieces of wood to attach the 5730 mile marker to sign.
So then after 2 days of part time work, it was done. It just sits there in the back yard, making shadows and reminding me of people who are far far away.
I’m not really sure what to think of this sign. It’s kind of weird and it’s kind of cool. Is it art? Is it a sign that I am crazy? One thing I am sure of though, it’s mine. I made it with my own two hands (and $12 of materials from Home Depot). I may have to cut the dang thing off at the base when I decide to sell the house, but that’s a problem for another day.