From an early age, our vision is “cued.” We perceive what we are looking at through size relationships, shadows, orientation, and a whole host of other interactions. A famous optical illusion is Roger Shepard’s tables. The table tops below are the EXACT same size. Really. Try this link to see for yourself.
As someone who lived in the suburbs most of my life, there weren’t a lot of buildings more than a few stories high. So I was cued not to look-up. My high school had over 3,000 students and yet the only building higher than 1 floor was the gym. “Strip malls” are everywhere in the suburbs and the bigger malls cover vast amounts of land with huge parking lots and most have only 2-3 floors. Ditto with the many office parks that dot the landscape.
As I walk among the buildings in Chicago I bring my lifetime of vision cues of only looking at the ground floors with me and so does my daughter. On a recent shopping trip, we decided to check out the new shops in the Lincoln Park area dubbed “The NewCity” around the North and Clybourn corridor. This area is anchored with a new high rise apartment building, Mariano’s (my favorite grocery store) and many new retail stores. I had seen the signs for Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nordstrom Rack, DSW, Ann Taylor Loft, and REI, and felt those were enough stores to fill our day.
So on foot, we began to explore with our sights set on some new sweaters and shoes. We spent a long time at Ann Taylor Loft where there were great sales, but Dicks’ was a total bust – hardly anything on sale even though it was the day after Christmas. We scored some great gloves and REI and due to an unnoticed red tag bonus at Nordstrom’s, I was thrilled at check-out with another 20% off, so I got a “spinner” suitcase for under $40!! But where is the DSW?? We walked around and around. We had seen the signs, but couldn’t figure out where the store was.
Tired and loaded with bags, we started to head home and then across the way – I looked up. And there through the cold gray sky was DSW – right next to Ann Taylor Loft, but on the second floor. As most women, we had to check out shoes on our shopping trip. So we finally found the door along the side street that led to the up escalator to a very large and nice DSW store. We didn’t find any shoes that day, but at least we did find the store!