On Tourist Attractions

I do like tourist attractions.

I like eavesdropping on guides pointing with umbrellas, listening to someone read aloud from Lonely Planet, watching people take pictures that might end up on holiday cards or living room shelves.

There are often lines, it’s often loud and hot. Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands have beaten this path before us. And still.

I like that this piece of land, hunk of marble, crumbling ruin is unseen to our eyes. We’re discovering it for the first time. Which has a specialness to it. Like it’s worth paying attention to.

When I moved to New York, I didn’t wait for out-of-town guests. I took myself to see the sights.

And if you get a drink at the top of Rockefeller Center or ride the SeaGlass Carousel at Battery Park, there aren’t many jaded or world-weary regulars. We’re all irregulars, shamelessly staring and a little amazed and taking it all in with our unfamiliar eyes.

So, all that I like about tourist attractions comes down to this: they remind me how refreshing it is to see this world with unfamiliar eyes.

And if I want more of that, which I do, and if I don’t make time to see the unseen sights today, which I often don’t, then there’s always this basic and beautiful truth from Maya Angelou:

“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.”

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