Thursday, August 6, 2020


The new Blogger is shit.  I can't control it.  Many of the functions do not work.  I don't think Google wants to support blogs any more.  So it would seem.  

But onward.  My day went pretty much as planned but f,or one thing--my car had to stay in the shop overnight. The master cylinder for the breaks won't be here until today having to be imported from another city across the state.  I wonder about that.  Is my 2005 Xterra that old?  Would the dealer have told me the same thing?  

I told them to fix my driver's side window, too.  The motor went out.  I haven't been able to roll it down for six or seven months.  There have been times when that is embarrassing.  It also means I can't roll down the window and shoot pictures from that side.  So I'm in for a heavy repair bill.  

I walked home from the repair place.  It wasn't so bad.  As a matter of fact, it is what I need to do more of, not for my health, but as a photographer.  The world surprises you with things you never would have seen.  Photography in the world is about what they used to call "shoe leather."  Now it is whatever toxic material they make the soles of most shoes from.  But you have to put in the miles, I think.  The world looks different from street level.  I will be showing you some of my surprises in the coming days.  

So I look forward to getting my car back in good shape.  I will drive to far away places to walk and make pictures.  So I think, anyway.  Not having a car is a bit strange, of course.  I don't go anywhere except to my mother's and to the grocery store in the Time of Covid, and am usually home alone all the live long day, so what difference did not having a car parked outside make?  Psychological.  I was trapped, or so it seemed.  I am part and parcel of the Car Nation.  In Europe, it would be different.  But here?  

Today's photo is another of the little shotgun shacks that made up the community across the tracks from the "other" part of town.  They are disappearing.  Good or bad?  No such thing.  It is simple economics.  Greed rules.  My ex-wife is one of the gentrifiers of that part of town.  She and her husband have bought up several of the old buildings and have brought them up to speed, so to speak.  He is a builder and now, I guess, a developer.  

I was in Mexico with my Yosemite buddy eons ago to climb Pico de Orizaba.  In a nearby town, we met a couple other climbers who worked for Outward Bound, like my buddy, but in Colorado rather than Cali.  They, too, were there to climb the mountain, so we decided to go together.  When we got to the hut, it turned out that someone had stolen my climbing boots, and I would not be able to go.  The morning of the climb, however, the weather was so treacherous that the three of them made it only part way up the mountain before turning back, so in the end, I had really missed nothing.  A year or so later, I went with my buddy again, and we climbed it in fine fashion.  

After the failed attempt, we were invited to visit the fellow we had hired to watch our packs at the bottom of the mountain.  His home, it turned out, was a shack on the side of a cliff with a great view of the valley below.  He was nervous when we got there, but he took us in and introduced us to his wife and children.  Their lives were pretty primitive, without many of the luxuries we take for granted on a daily basis.  As we sat outside the house chatting, one of the fellows from Colorado began to opine about how this is the sort of life we were rapidly destroying.  He was touting the life of the primitive, the purity of it, etc.  I decided to argue to the contrary.  

"What do you think our host would say if we asked him if he would like the conveniences of a Walmart down there?  Do you think he'd say, no, we do not want those modern conveniences here?  You want to keep him living this way so that you can visit.  It is colorful for you and romantic, but you do not want to live this way yourself.  You just want others to live this way for your own good."  

This kind of set him back a bit.  I might mention that he was a black man, so maybe this was a bit of a double whammy.  

I experienced the same sort of feeling in China back in the early part of the century.  The old Chinese residences were being torn down at the speed of light.  I went into them.  It was the old way of life with shared toilets and alleyways with running water where people spent most of their social time, the places where they got their hair cut and did their laundry.  It is what I wanted to see, to photograph, the idea of China that I got from old movies and filmstrips.  Disappearing.  

I don't think I would have cared to live in them. 

So the shotgun shacks are disappearing.  People are selling them, taking the profits, and going elsewhere.  Who can say if it is "right" or if its "wrong"?  We are losing something historical, perhaps, but who wants to live as a symbol?  Oh, I want them there so that I can drive by and look and make pictures.  They serve my purposes just fine.  But I have hillbilly relatives that live in such places, and I can tell you, they aren't really all that much fun.  

The new washer arrives in a bit.  I need to prepare the area, as they say.  It will have been an expensive week for a fellow who hasn't a job, but I have it better than most.  And, if I'm lucky, I may get my car back today, too.  

I'll be back in the lap of middle class luxury.  

No comments:

Post a Comment