I first heard of this art installation funded by the Public Art Fund back in November, right after it had begun. At the time, I decided to wait until the weather was nice to visit.
So, on the first 50-degree Saturday after weeks of deep freeze, I trekked downtown to Brooklyn to view the piece. When I found my way to the plaza housing the exhibit, my heart fell. Apparently, Just Two of Us is the perfect place to haul piles of snow. Also apparently, just because it is 50 degrees one day, that doesn’t suddenly make all of the snow melt. Weeks of ice and slush that had built up in the area need more than 8 hours of direct sunlight to disappear, which was something that seems obvious but hadn’t occurred to me in my excitement at being outside on a nice day in New York.
Slowly, I made my way closer to the installation. Caution tape was installed on one end of the entrance to the area, but the other side was open. So I cautiously stepped onto the melting ice sheets and made my way closer to the exhibit.
Each step was an exercise in risk: will this section of snow be caked with ice on top and therefore hold my weight, or will it have already been reduced to a soft pile of slush, causing my foot to crush the fragile structure around it–and get very wet in the process?
Some of the steps, luck was on my side; others, I got very wet.
After I was done taking pictures–because there’s no way I was going to come all the way down here and not have evidence of my journey–I carefully stepped away from the installation and started walking away. It was only then that I noticed the caution tape on the other side had fallen and was strewn about the icy ground.
It turns out, I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near that installation, but I had missed the sign. Or had I just ignored it? I saw the caution tape on the one side, so wouldn’t it logically follow that my brain should have realized humans weren’t encouraged to approach the exhibit? Instead, I told myself that it was fine, because I didn’t see the other warning signs–or, really, I didn’t bother looking for them because I was intent upon viewing the installation.
Which is a very obvious metaphor for the silly life situations I somehow find myself in. I see a warning sign, but I ignore it, and I refuse to look harder for more when they’re right under my nose because where’s the fun in that? I prefer, for some reason, to force my way headlong into things that will, only after the damage is done, inevitably expose the other warning signs as clear as a late winter 50 degree day Saturday sky.
And yet, though I realize I should feel stupid for this blatant ignorance in the face of warning signals, all I really feel is lucky that I didn’t heed them, and happy for getting to enjoy whatever it was that was supposed to be kept a safe distance away from me.
I guess I’m contrary in that way. But I also think I’m experiencing life more. Which, yes, means I’m experiencing the destruction and damage that comes along with it more, too, but you have to take the bad with the good if you’re ever going to find the incredible.
That’s my theory, anyway, and Just Two of Us supports this notion, so for now I’m going to keep believing it.