Appreciating I-70’s billboards and Booches’ burgers

I grabbed the slick wooden edge of Booches bar, tightening my grip until my fingers turned white. Melted cheese on patties and Coca-Cola on ice waltzed into my nostrils. Beer glasses clinked and the grill sizzled as I stared at the bottles of liquor, resting easily on the shelf behind the bar.

Yes, today was one of those days. You know, the days when you a.) realize that you need to live in the moment and b.) try desperately to achieve that sense of now-ness. It was also a day spent regretting all the days I didn’t live in the moment since the last time I decided I should live in the moment.

But I can’t dwell on that regret. I’m Living In The Moment.

Why enjoy life the beauty of the present today? Earlier in the morning, an art professor told our class about a billboard project she’s working on. Driving from Kansas City to St. Louis, she’s taking a photo of every billboard along I-70 and wondering what each billboard means in the context of its environment. Artist Anne Thompson accepts billboards as a part of the American landscape and doesn’t see them as “ugly” or “uninviting.” Thompson believes billboards are just billboards, but still thinks the super-signs can benefit from art.

The billboards had me thinking: what else around me goes completely unnoticed? I mean, I would have never thought of billboards giving meaning to an environment, much less as a potential work of art. Failing to realize the potential beauty in billboards disturbed me to the point that I needed to live in the present immediately. After all, paying attention to everything around me will help me appreciate life’s beauty.

Quickly, living in the moment became difficult. Text messages, phone calls and Snapchats invaded my life. Loud noises and whizzing cars snapped me out of my present-mindedness. Even a simple hello on the street knocked me out of my rhythm.

Living in the moment all the time is hard. But, I realized the technique of focusing on the present was beneficial each time I started to get preoccupied. Nothing melts worries away quite like a slow bite through a cheesy Booches burger.

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