I really avoided this Rob Walker The Art of Noticing Exercise for awhile. The basis of the exercise was to sit in the same spot every day for fifteen minutes- and spot the differences. The thought if sitting for fifteen minutes and just looking out the window was a little daunting for me- I don’t necessarily sit still well…

Having done the exercise, I do think it has some benefit- I did notice things I hadn’t before, but alas some of that is environmental. The weather, who goes by, etc. But I did notice that if I shifted my position slightly, there really was a difference in what I saw.

Day One

The Day was overcast. My outstanding memory was of two veterans, or at least they were wearing blue vet caps. They passed one another. One was distinguished black man, walking proudly with a silver topped walking stick, neatly dressed and alert. The other was a white guy, unkempt, in something that looked like a wheelchair/scooter thing. Their individual bearings were so different. I remember three 20 somethings well dressed

Day Two

I noticed that the chairs were locked up with a long chain like thing, attached with a padlock thing. Weather damp and chilly. Ground wet. Two women outside smoking at the outside tables. Less pedestrians. Same amount of garbage. Stores across the street not yet open. Noticed woman wearing distinct yellow plaid jacket.

Day Three

A truck blocks my view of the other side of the street. Hail. Yet pedestrians still aplenty. You can’t help but notice people’s style, those who are hidden by their closes, those who choose to embrace their unique style. I’m surprised by the lack of umbrellas- were people unaware of the rain, though the skies have been dark all week, or do they just not care? Rain makes small droplets from the awning. I am drawn upwards and I notice the water tower atop a building. Hadn’t noticed this before! I wonder how long it takes to make a delivery. Then I notice the driver coming back to the truck and loading his dollies and such back into it.

Day Four

I didn’t sit as close to the counter as I had previously. This affects the perspective more than I knew- from this slightly skewed angle I focused more on the top of the buildings. I noticed graffiti atop the building across the street. The thing I remember the most was the guy who picked up a butt from the street to smoke.

Day Five

This started with me not being able to sit in the seat I sat in for the previous four days. The cafe was empty at 7:15 when I was there, except for this one guy…what are the odds. So I sat about two feet to the left of my prior seat. I noticed a bird sitting on a chair. Weather was not overcast for the first time this week. The chairs were not chained up- made me wonder if the chains were used for the wind as well as theft. For the first time I noticed the picnic table. Also, no garbage- assume it got washed away with the rain.

33 thoughts on “Rob Walker- Look out a Window

  1. I’m distracted by the big chicken in the foreground! I do find this exercise really interesting though and using a window in a city setting opens so many possibilities.

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  2. Fascinating study. I noticed the rooster. Is there a girl on the back? Also, I see the words breakfast and lunch dinner from the backside. Granted, these were fixed objects. Are you going to do this at different times of the year?

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    1. After youโ€™re settled with your stuffโ€ฆI donโ€™t think anyone is moving from literally the only occupied spotโ€ฆ.๐Ÿ˜†

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  3. the guy picking up the cigarette butt..there is a lot going on in that moment… (drugs?, poverty, complete lack of self respect….clueless when it comes to disease…. addiction to tobacco…no shame (doesn’t care if someone sees them)…..

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