What Do You Choose To See?
Way back at the beginning of the blog I posted a series titled: What Do You See? A better title might have been: What Do You Choose To See?*
Look at the photo below and consider what you see in it.
An operations enthusiast might see a clear track with nothing in his way. A fan of switching might see a boring stretch of track that offers little or nothing to do.
A layout designer will suggest all those trees hinder maintenance access and block your view of the trains. He’ll also say that a rail served industry adds more play value than that scrubby mobile home park.
On the other hand, a scenery builder will love those very same trees.
A photographer will moan about the poor quality of the light or wish for a better composition that included a train.
The point to make is that we all see things differently than others. On a visit to someone’s layout or looking at a proposed track plan, the odds are you’ll quickly start thinking about what you would do with the space rather than dive deep into understanding the builder’s choices and objectives.
The same goes for sloppy terms like good enough. What does that mean exactly? We treat it like it has the same objective meaning to everyone but seldom consider that one person’s idea of a good enough level of detail might be another’s starting point for detailing.
My interpretation of the three-foot rule goes: if you’re three-feet away from an object, any detail you can see should be included on the model.
Now wait a minute Mike, that’s not how that goes.
Exactly. That interpretation helps me enjoy the craft in ways that are meaningful and fulfilling and isn’t that what most of us set out to do? Looking through the filter of our own bias, it’s easy to forget that my interpretation of the so-called three-foot rule doesn’t have to be yours or anyone else’s.
We frame the discussion around this craft as though it means the same thing to everybody, when nothing is further from the truth.
*A thank you to Seth Godin for inspiring this post.