Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Black Cat Liberator

I went back to work yesterday, then I met up with Ili for lunch.

"You look different when you are working," she said.  I knew it was true.  I felt different.  There is a mantle that must be donned to do what I do.  No matter how I try to play it off, I become somewhat officious.  And so lunch was fun but nothing like a vacation lunch.  The difference was sharp and startling.  One difference was that she was drinking beer and I was drinking coke.  It was a little German deli and we sat outside in the cool air on a side street of a little downtown that is making a comeback.  It could have all been perfect but for work.  I realized then how wasted a life can be. . . working.

In the late afternoon, I left the factory for the day, the sun dropping toward the horizon.  I hadn't exercised, not even a walk, but I was too pooped for it then.  How, I wondered, have I managed to go to the gym after work every day?  I didn't think it would be possible again.  I texted Ili who was having a manicure and a pedicure.  "Should we meet at the fabulous bar for handmade cocktails?"

We did.  It was closed.

We talked about where else to go, but anywhere else would just be drinking, and we could do that at home.  It was not about drinking.  It was about the drink.  And so we blew it off to make dinner.  At home, now that the holidays are over and we are being prudent, we drank Campari, Vermouth, and Perrier with a twist of lemon.  A perfect non-drink.  We sat and talked and tried to recapture the feeling of the days before.  After a simple dinner, we smoked a cigar on the deck in the cool night air. It was sad, though, knowing that work loomed in the morning.

Work.  It is too kind a word for the mind shifting that must take place.  I understand that work must be done, but it should not be required of me.

I went to the garage and got out the Black Cat Aero-Liberator, the instant film holders, and some of the last of the Fuji instant film.  I have to learn how to use the camera again.  It is not easy.  It is slow and go at best.  But I will make some portraits today of people at the factory just to see if I can get the process down again.  And then, perhaps soon, I will take it to the street and try to make portraits of strangers.  That's the plan, anyway.  I will tell them that I am a Black Cat Liberator and that they should not be afraid.  I mean really. . . it's just a photograph.

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