Man, it was hot out there, and I was huffing around with all the cameras leaving the car running every time in case I had to make an escape. But leaving the car running may not always be a good idea, and when I got too far away or turned a corner, a cold chill would creep quickly up my back. "What if?" I kept thinking, and I'd turn back around the corner to see the old Xterra still siting there, door ajar. I should shut the door, I'd reason, but some paranoid part of me kept thinking that somehow the doors would lock with the key still in the car, motor running, and I'd have to stand in the middle of the street I was so paranoid about in the first place calling locksmiths to come and bail me out of this questionable part of town.
You might think I'm exaggerating or simply paranoid, but whenever I looked closely, there was somebody resting under an overpass or camped out in grass in the shade of some lone tree. I turned down a street that led to the backside of a sports stadium, and lining the sidewalk were fifty, maybe a hundred tents and lean-tos made of blue tarps, boxes and crates and piles of clothing massed between. I drove slowly and looked at the sad, pathetic faces of the tenants, some drinking from bottles or cans, some slowly ambling, the faces of madness and misery.
A block further, away from the stadium's dark side where sports fans I imagine do not tread, a neighborhood filled with police cars, some barely creeping along, others accelerating wildly around corners and out of sight. Early Sunday morning, and already crowds had formed in parking lots, drinking, barbecuing, whatever. . . . I drove slowly, staring at the crowds staring back, a thousand marvelous photographs I would never get to take.
Further, into industrial zones oddly quiet, huge structures looming, heaps of twisted metal and discarded cardboard, piles of tires, giant dunes of rock and sand fronting tall silos secured behind block walls and barbed wire. A partially opened gate, a rusted, ancient car. I stop, slide out, limp and slither through the small gap, listening, tense. . . one camera, then another. . . .
The sharp light, the long shadows, the eerie silence. . . the heat. Getting back into the car, I thought of you, somewhere, sipping your mimosa.
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