In 2013 I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia. Something happened there that really made me think about how I sometimes view things.
It was late in the afternoon and the sun was just starting to sink. We’d been doing the sights in Sydney and decided to have a drink in one of the quayside bars. The tables had sun shades and we chose a table; part inside and part out as it was cooling down. I’d picked a seat partly in shade but which would be in the sun shortly.
15 minutes later, coffee half gone, it was getting chilly; something was up! There were no clouds in the sky and nothing for the sun to go behind but I was fully in the shade. I followed the sun for a minute. BOOM. It was moving across the sky the other way.
When I pointed this out, I used the words “the sun is going the ‘wrong’ way”. We puzzled for a while and using our tourist map, worked out where north was. Fair play, the sun still rose in the east and was setting in the west but as we were in the southern hemisphere it moved across the sky from right to left, not the other way as back home.
Whilst drinking my coffee, I’d been watching folk coming and going about their business; people watching like you do when passing time. There were many tourists like us, but many locals commuting to/from work on the ferries. I wondered how many of the tourists from the northern hemisphere had noticed the sun’s movements. And what would the locals think about their sun going the ‘wrong, way?
I’ve been doing a fair bit of work recently looking at different ways of doing things as my organisation looks to change. I’ve had to adapt and change how I do things too so I can help others with changing how we work.
I recently saw a film called Human Scale about Jan Gehl architechts and their work looking at how people interact with cities and what helps improve life and increases social interaction.
Whilst I’ve some great memories of the different things I saw in Australia, experiencing the sun moving the other way emphasised sometimes we need to go and experience stuff that might make us see things differently.
We need to be ready to accept that things can be and are different to what we know or think we know.
Someone’s ‘wrong’ way might just be another’s right way.
Sociable city perhaps?