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The Sole Prop's Sister?

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January 2, 2010

Just Because
Saturday. A bit of rain, this morning, overcast but not overly cold. A drive to breakfast and the papers, home now early around nine, some of the various news and web sites I haunt having been read. I said the weather people were forecasting some sun over the next few days, but I seem to have gotten that wrong. The little daily icons show clouds without precipitation, so we're not looking into the abyss here, but sunny skies are evidently for the future. Still, as I mentioned, it's relatively warm and the attitude has decided to follow. A warm attitude, the body parts starting to talk with one another, the heart and lungs beginning to turn over. Maybe a walk to the farmer's market later with a camera.

With a camera?

The only remarkable thing about going to the farmer's market would be in not carrying a camera. Habit, I guess, stating the obvious.

I did write out twenty things I'd like to get done last night in bed. I keep a set of ringed binders, a kind of hard copy notes to the journal I add to now and again at my bedside, and the list contains fairly large projects, some of which I've discussed here as well as simple tasks that can be completed in a morning or an afternoon, some of them tasks I've put off for whatever reason for as many as twenty years.

One of them, a cryptic “oil the guns” refers to two side by side shotguns I've had now for the last forty years, one of them my father's, as well as a rather exotic target rifle he liked to shoot occasionally on weekends at a range as a hobby. Guns need oiling every now and then to keep them from rusting and I haven't run oil through any of them in, again, more than twenty years. Probably won't get around to doing it for another twenty (if there are another twenty), again the task of a couple of hours, but that's the nature of the list. Odd stuff, but stuff that's obviously remained in my mind.

Not everybody understands the guns.

Not everybody grew up where I did when I did with the parents and grandparents I had. Nothing to worry about. Unless you come through my door with an axe more slowly than an axe murderer should and I can figure out where I keep the damned ammunition before you get inside.

And then you'd shoot me?

By then I'll have discussed my situation with 911 and be wondering if shotgun ammunition designed for water birds still works after sitting in a closet all these many years.

Water birds?

I use cameras now. More humane and in keeping with my current (still eats chicken) disposition. I have, in my life at a much younger age, shot pheasant. Not a large number of pheasant, but pheasant. No ducks, although I suspect that was a matter of circumstance than conviction. As a kid who wandered in the woods in his very early years with a BB gun, something he became very adept at shooting, I once shot a Hummingbird. Think Albatross when you think Hummingbird. I knew at the time I'd crossed the line. Not long after the family moved to New York, just outside the city. Kismet has always been my opinion. Too quick on the trigger at the age of twelve can have consequences. People who steal cars sometimes undergo similar lessons.

Later. So, the head is in a funky bubble, the upper palate aches and the day progresses. A walk down to the ATM and then the farmer's market to pick up an orchid to give in thanks to my apartment manager. I'm not sure an orchid is always the best of gifts, as they take a certain amount of care if you're going to keep them kicking, but I figure I'll figure that out one of these days before too long. Before too many more years pass by. Funky headed I.

The overcast is one of those overcasts that could result at any given minute in rain. Nice out, not too cold, but rain is lurking. Well, waiting in the wings. It's gone beyond lurking, it's right out there, a potential for all to see. Even me.

Later still. The minute I suggested it looked like rain the sun came out, maybe I'll remember that and try it again sometime when I'm looking for sun again. A bus ride downtown passing a store front that had gone out of business on Broadway, what I remember as an other than discount clothing store for women, a number of mannequins both in the windows of the empty store as well as scattered around inside the gutted interior, as if in some surreal landscape, captives in another universe. So I got off the bus at the next stop, walked back and took pictures. Two or three men were standing nearby as I was shooting, wondering I have no doubt, about this old dude taking pictures of naked plastic, but for a good photograph I'll put up with a lot more than silent thoughts emanating from onlookers. Besides, that's my take on the situation, maybe they were really thinking “oh hell, this dude is getting all these great pictures and here I am standing with these idiots without a camera”. There are many ways to play the game, no reason not to play by rules that keep you calm, collected and your head above water.

A walk through the City Center coming upon a work crew taking the Christmas tree down, a jolt watching them dismember it in place and carting off the pieces. A good and beautiful tree, it's job done. Rather like being introduced to how your meat is raised and prepared, what it is that cows and pigs and chickens go through before they're dropped into a deep fryer. I didn't need to see that, but it made a pedestrian, but somewhat jarring picture.

Coffee at Peet's (where else?), a couple of photographs as I watched and listened to the street as my coffee cooled down to drinking temperature. A walk back then about half way home before boarding a bus, another amble without thought of getting any exercise, more photographs, a decent day's shooting was my conclusion. Still have this head thing, what I call the sinus-upper palate problem, the head in a bubble severing my connection to the outside, the feeling being one of I'm getting old or this thing is making me prematurely old, something that could one day force me off the street and inside an apartment, less and less able to pursue these pictures. But those are fleeting thoughts, albeit real. You're always thinking you've got another ten years to skip and jump, even, I suspect, when you're down to your last ten minutes. (Hup! Hup!)

A good day, I'm thinking, back now at the apartment, one last not very good or different picture of that tree by the lake because, well, just because. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken on 21st Street near Telegraph with a Nikon D3 mounted with an 24 - 70mm f 2.8 Nikkor G lens at f 5.6 at 1/800th second, ISO 200.