Sunday, September 27, 2020

Making Pictures


One of the ironies I find humorous in life is that both geniuses and idiots need a good drug to quell their anxieties when life's quandaries befuddle them.  I mean, life isn't easy for either of them.  Today, I read that the FDA is requiring new warnings on the class of drugs called benzodiazepines which include Xanax.  You know that new guidelines for prescribing the drug will follow.  They say it is often found to be used along with opioids in overdose cases.  

And you are not supposed to take it in combination with alcohol.  

I just can't agree.  All drugs except antibiotics work much better when combined with alcohol.  My old girlfriend, who was not drug averse, said that we should not regulate drugs.  If people were stupid enough to overdose, good.  That is a choice, even when it is a dumb one.  I agreed but with the stipulation that the person needed to be over thirty.  She just felt we needed to get rid of as many stupid people as we can.

But of course, just when we need them most. . . .  And you know those fuckers at the FDA have access to anything they want.  They are eating Xanax like gumdrops.  They'll change their minds once the masses start shooting in their direction.  

I also read this morning that a man died from eating too much black licorice.  I'll bet they aren't going to restrict the sales of that, though.  But buddy, there is nothing like eating a bag of black licorice when you've been drinking whiskey and taking Xanax.  I mean once in awhile, you just need to relax, right? 

So I was bragging yesterday about how much better I've been feeling lately.  I've struggled for months now, almost half a year, getting tired and just feeling awful. I've hardly had more than half a day's worth of energy in me.  But lately, I have felt more like my old self.  It could be mental since I've been getting out of the house a little more, getting takeout, etc.  So yesterday, after the Xanax and whiskey and muscle relaxer hangover of the night before, I decided to take my cameras to a distant town.  Not too distant, no more than half an hour to forty minutes away.  I guessed correctly that they had opened up their fabulous Farmer's Market again. There was plenty of sunshine and nothing to do, so as noon approached, I shook off much of my sluggishness and headed out the door.  

It was just what the doctor ordered.  The streets were fairly full of people, most wearing masks.  The many little bars and restaurants were full as they are allowed to be here now in my own home state.  We have beaten the Covid pandemic, you see, through non-reporting and an egregious lack of testing.  Trump was right, and our governor is a mini-Trump.  If you want to party, you can come to the Sunshine State.  There are no restrictions any more.  But you'd better hurry, I'd guess, because in a couple of weeks we're all likely to be dead.  Apparently, we've decided, however, that death is preferable to the life-in-death of not rubbing elbows with fellow infected drinkers at a dirty Covid bar.  And in truth, the state will be much more attractive than it was previously, for Covid will kill off most of the aged while leaving the young for another time.  And they are beautiful, too, if Country Club College is an indication.  

But we'll leave that alone for now. 

I spent about an hour and a half walking around, wandering away from the crowd for the most part, photographing old buildings and corners of the sky.  I walked the nearby neighborhoods where I saw nothing but Trump signs in yard after yard, but the people I talked to were nice enough and didn't seem to want to call the cops on me.  I walked through the market, too, and took some photos of the crowd.  It was exciting to be in streets that moved with life again, and my new little camera was just the right one to have with me.  

The day was hot, though, in the nineties, and after walking in the midday sun, I was sweaty and tired.  The market was ending and the crowd was thinning, so I decided to go back to my car and drive back to my own hometown.  But not directly.  I wanted to meander, to see if I could come upon something that didn't look like everything else, some remnant of individuality, something not of the contemporary commercial mass produced mode. 

And so I drove, this way and that, and quite soon, I found myself in what could not be mistaken for anything other than a poor southern black part of town.  It was archetypal.  As I drove past the basketball courts, there were two cop cars and two cops talking to two black men seated on a cement picnic table.  I thought I was cutting through to the highway, but the road did not go through, so I found myself turning down poor streets with treeless, sandy yards and ramshackle houses in much need of paint.  There were plenty of fellows without shirts walking on the broken asphalt.  I should have put a very wide angle lens on one of my Leicas and gotten down low to the street to take dramatic shots of the scene.  I could see those pictures clearly.  Oh yea.  They would have been great.  

I didn't.  Rather. . . I found my way back to the bigger road and meandered my way elsewhere.  So much for suffering for your art.  

I guess I got a little turned around, but it didn't really matter to me.  I just kept driving.  Before too long, I found myself in the next town over on a road I knew well, though I was surprised to find it ran out this far from home.  It was one of the main roads in my old cracker neighborhood which has since become one of the most infamous and dangerous parts of our fair city.  I decided to take it all the way back home.  I passed the usual small shopping plazas with the usual businesses advertised by the usual signs, and then I began noticing the names of cross streets that I used to know well, Clark, Good Homes, Hiawassee, Powers, Hastings. . . . and then, I was crossing the road where I would turn to go to my childhood home. 

 I didn't.  

There was the site of my old high school, torn down and rebuilt but on the same ground.  I passed the road I would turn on to go by Jack Kerouac's sister's house where he lived for quite a while and made a little zen garden when she died.  I drove past the old citrus processing plant and the Frito factory, and the commercial supply house for construction companies, the dream job for kids of my ilk.  I drove across the highway where a few buildings down was a gas station I worked at for awhile in high school, the old kind with the bays for changing oil and tires and fixing engines.  

It all had surprisingly little effect on me.  I was not nostalgic nor sad nor glad.  Like everything else, I guess, that is all gone.  

When I got home, I showered and ate. . . and then I took a nap.  It was a hot day and I was still kind of shot from the night before.  I woke up just in time to go see my mother.  She was there where she always is, sitting in her chair in the garage looking out onto the world.  I gave her a beer and took my own chair on the other side of the garage.  People pass by on the sidewalk, and my mother calls out to them and waves as if she is on a farmhouse porch calling to people coming up the lane.  She doesn't wait for them to get near.  She starts waving and calling out as soon as she sees them at a distance down the street.  It is the hillbilly way, and as much as I want to tell her she might want to wait until people are nearer, I don't.  They must all think we are crazy, but fuck it, she's my mom and she can do what she wants.  She's only being friendly and the neighbors are always nice.  

She updated me on the Hillbilly Saga.  My cousin heard a knock on her door yesterday, and when she opened it, two policemen gave her a restraining order that the neighbor had filed.  My mother said that my cousin is very despondent over it all, depressed and anxious.  She has a medical marijuana license and keeps a good supply, but I am thinking that Xanax would make her feel better, too.  Still, my cousin plans on coming south next week to pick up some Covid on the coast.  The thing is, she will never notice.  You know how it is with hillbillies.  They are always sick with some ailment or another.  They are always farting and belching and coughing.  They always have a bad neck or back or leg or hand.  That is how they get their disability checks.  And then they work "under the table" so they can buy all the redneck luxuries life has to offer.  

After mother's, I came home and made a paltry dinner and ate it outside with the cats.  Though I am drinking much less than I have been during Covid Times, the level in the whiskey bottle was making me nervous, so I headed up to the liquor store in the fading light just to make sure.  But I never cracked the bottle, nor did I finish the small amount remaining in the other.  I just feel better knowing it is there, you know?  

Now that I have quit watching what passes for "the news," I am happier at night and I am reading more.  Last night, I didn't turn the television on at all.  I wanted to download the photos I'd taken that day and have a look at them.  I put on some music and decided to edit one or two of the better shots.  Boy oh boy, it was just like old times, and when  I took a look at the clock, it was almost midnight.  Jesus.  

I got up, turned off the computer, made my ablutions, and went to bed.  

To bed, but not to sleep.  I didn't get to sleep all night, it seemed.  I dreamed dreams galore, weird and strange ones, but I never felt that I was asleep.  It was a horrible and tortuous night.  It could have been the result of the concoctions of the night before, of course, but I prefer to think it was from sitting in front of a computer screen for several hours editing photographs before bed.  All that jittery blue light is supposed to be bad for your brain.  They make glasses that cuts out the blue rays, and if I am going to begin editing again, I will certainly get some.  Either that or I will only edit in the mornings.  

Now it is Sunday and I need to move.  There is definitely a nap in my future, but perhaps some more photography, too.  

Maybe I'll drive back and shoot those shirtless boys on that broken and pitted road.  

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