To a large extent, we all shape our own experiences of reality: We see the things we want to see and block out the things that do not fit our world view.
Walking home yesterday afternoon, I was amused to notice how much I tend to do this even when it comes to bicycles.
Both Vienna and Boston are full of generic modern unremarkable bikes, yet the ones I pay attention to are the classic and vintage bikes.
And since I notice these more, in my subsequent memories they are the ones that play a starring role in the city's "velo life".
In a similar fashion, I tend to pay lots of attention to architecture I like and ignore all the "ugly" stuff right next to it. As a result, a city or a neighborhood might consist entirely of beautiful architecture in my memories.
There are countless examples of this of course, and unless we point and shoot in a random direction we cannot take a picture without revealing our subjective biases. Our pictures reflect how we want to see and remember things rather than how they actually are. For example, several readers have pointed out to me that my "street scenes" tend to be miraculously free of cars, and indeed I seem to frame photos so as to avoid them. There is just something about modern cars that is not photogenic: they detract from the feel of the city landscape.
Bicycles, on the other hand, seem to enrich it - especially when the bicycles are nice and the cyclists are well dressed. Yes, that is a Hassidic Jew cycling through Vienna - who clearly has no problem cycling in a suit.
And here is a couple, cycling into the sunset idyllically. While of course I did not stage these scenes, you could say that I chose to notice them out of the many alternative scenes I could have noticed instead.
So, what is my point? Only that life can be filled with golden sunsets and lovely bicycles if we want it to - even on those days when it's not.