[BLOG #4] Observing thoughtless acts
“Go to a place you used to or still do hang out at often.”
One place came to mind almost straight away. The summit of Clear Mountain isn’t too far away from where I live, and ever since I passed my license test I’d aimed to go up there as often as I could or whenever I needed to — just to clear my mind and take in the atmosphere. The Clear Mountain summit is a bit of a hit and miss sometimes. You can get the whole place to yourself, or it could be filled with people. There seems to be no real pattern to when people gather up there, but when they do, it seems to just be whenever suits them. I decided to head up there last night to take some pictures and analytically observe the space, and luckily I had the whole place to myself.
I’ll sometimes find myself at Mt. Coot-tha with some friends and we’ll be looking at the city with constant chatter from tourists and the nearby restaurants. I ask, “would you like to see this view, just 30km that way?” They often laugh, but once you’ve actually been up there at Clear Mountain it just makes sense. Going at night in summer is always a treat, like last night. The temperature was far below twenty and the air was thick with the scent of eucalyptus and other general bush aromas. The summit itself isn’t really much to look at, just a dirt run-off and what I just recently realised to be the fence to a private property, which everyone tends to sit on to take in the view. The entrance to the run-off was once lined with road markers, but due to the popularity of the spot, the markers have long since been flattened, twisted and misplaced to make access to the unofficial lookout easier.
I found this to be an example of signalling. Even if you’re up there on your own, you can tell that people often drive over the edge of the road, further flattening the markers into the dirt to park up and look at the view.
An unfortunate side-effect of the summit’s popularity is litter. The council recently placed a full-sized bin up there, but very few people seem to use it. Regrettably, litter seems to be a prime example of conforming. While a few cigarette butts on the ground certainly could be from an avid chain-smoker, it also could be from other people who absent-mindedly see the butts on the ground and place their own with them.
Inherently, the road up to the summit is quite twisty and can be a lot of fun to drive in a spirited way, but due to its length and uneven surface, most hoons tend to make their way up to Mt. Glorious Road and Mt. Nebo Road to have some fun, since the road is longer, more even and has higher posted speed limits. Nevertheless, Clear Mountain Road does see a fair amount of action from people out for a drive, and while going fast it’s important to apex corners and keep lose as little speed as possible around corners. I found the double white line on the corner of the summit to be a prime example of thoughtless reacting. Due to it being a blind corner, few people stray past the lines in case someone else is coming, but that doesn’t stop them from using the line as a marker for a perfect point to follow the corner through, as evident by the tire marks.
I scoured my mind for an example of adapting and co-opting, so after taking in the view I got back into the car to go back to my notes and brainstorm. I ended up just looking around me to see if anything popped up, which thankfully it did. Phone mounts are expensive, and when you do find one, it might not fit your car or your phone. A true first world problem. Looking at my ghetto phone mount I remembered back to when I desperately needed navigation and had to get creative to find a way to mount my phone. I ended up turning my air-con vent into a mount using zip-ties and a scrap of wood to add tension to hold the phone in.
I’m honestly really proud of my handiwork with this one, it’s not obstructing any vision and it’s not too far to glance down at.
For the last thoughtless act, responding, I had to come back once again to litter. When I came back down the mountain and went to the service station to fill up, I noticed a Sunkist can on top of a cylindrical light. The flat top of the light lent itself to having something put on top of it, and it almost seems like whoever placed the can there wanted to continue the cylindrical theme… probably not though.
I did try to go into the city and purposefully observe people, and due to my lack of skill in sketching and how unwilling most people are of having their picture unknowingly taken, I was unable to document more examples other than people sitting on things that aren’t really chairs, but due their physical form, they can indeed be sat on.