Saturday, October 14, 2023

In the World "Out There"

I am coming off a truly horrible day and night.  I was poleaxed by the double vax.  I didn't feel that bad when I actually had Covid.  I haven't felt that bad for years.  By the evening, I was getting scared that something truly awful was wrong as it had been over 24 hours since I had the shots.  I took Advil PM and Tylenol and went to bed early, but the night was a horrible ordeal of tossing and waking every few minutes.  I got up at two and took more drugs, but I still couldn't sleep.  I finally gave up just before six.  I don't know how I feel yet.  Still to be determined.  

In my misery, I slept and watched television and at one point tried to go through old digital files in an attempt to begin putting together a website.  I got lost.  I have millions of images, mostly forgotten ones, from decades of making pictures.  I got stuck in California yesterday.  I'd forgotten how much I had photographed there.  So many good pics from San Fran, Berkeley, and even some in Yosemite.  Then there are pictures from San Diego and L.A. and Joshua Tree and Palm Springs.  And, of course, all points in between and up and down the entire coastline.  Marin County, too, and Carmel and Monterey.  

I don't think I'll ever be able to make a website.  

The entire time, my skin hurt, my joints and muscles ached, and my energy flagged.  I'd sleep, then get up and watch t.v.  I hardly ate.  When the sun went down, I hurt more, of course.  

I'm not sure that I didn't get a bad batch of vaccines.  I wait to hear the government announcement.  This is, of course, music to the ears of all the anti-vaxers.  

I was not in a state to have been looking at some of those files yesterday.  I saw myself over the years.  I am like a grapefruit that has been sitting on the counter for a long, long time, ripening then rotting, the fruit disintegrating, the skin collapsing, discoloring, wrinkling.  That is what I thought with corresponding horror as I looked at the files.  

Like Greta Garbo, I think I want to be alone.  

One the other hand, however, I want to make pictures again.  I make them for me, I guess, the way one writes a journal.  No one asks a person why they keep a diary or a journal or a day book.  I guess they might not ask why one photographs, either.  It is not with any expectation of outside approval, really, though such a thing would be nice, but simply for some internal satisfaction.  I guess I still make photos of my hermetic life--all those iPhone cocktail and dinner photos are really pretty good, I think, and they make an accurate statement about the past few years of life.  

But I am thinking of traveling again, maybe.  I mean, if they are correct about vaccines being more effective the sicker they make you up front, I should be more immune than anyone.  If it is true, these two really took.  So now it is simply a matter of breaking with habits, the ones I have formed since January 2020, oh-so-long ago, and changing my life in profound ways. 

What happens, however, if you take an old house cat and drop it off in the distant world?  It is surely just food for the coyotes.  My little feral cat has tired of her wild outdoor life now.  She is aging and when I left the door open one day when the air had cooled, she actually crossed the threshold.  She comes and stares in through the bottom panes of the kitchen door often.  She comes close to me without fear now.  But she has been wild too long and will never be domesticated.  She makes me appreciate the comforts of my home.  

There is something lonesome in the world "out there."  I see it in the photographs.  I realize that more now that I am looking back through the photos I have taken long before Lonesomeville.  I have wandered alone extensively through my life, and I have seen and felt it, and it has broken my heart.  I rode a Greyhound bus through Texas after college, and I swear, I have never seen more lonesomeness than that.  But it was everywhere on the road, in small towns and great cities.  There is nothing more lonesome than a late Sunday afternoon in Manhattan when the crowds have gone.  I ate Thanksgiving dinner alone in a Chinese restaurant one year in L.A. when there was no one on the street.  A cheap table cloth and fluorescent lights and me, the only patron.  Good God, thinking of it now, thinking of weeklong solo trips hiking through the mountains, sailing my boat into empty bays. . . I guess it has been a theme all my life.  Perhaps it comes from being an only child.  

New Beas Hotel.  That's what the sign says in the picture.  I took this down by the Berkeley waterfront which is just on the other side of the highway.  That is not a tourist hotel, I assure you.  It is shelter for some very lonely people--four walls, as Bukowski puts it.  There a man can make a stand.  A person, I mean, but I've stayed in enough places like that to know that it is mostly men.  And I've stayed in enough places like that to know I like the comforts of my own home.  I don't think I could stay in a flophouse again.  I'd want a Four Seasons, but I can settle for a good Hilton if it is well-situated.  But I know I will never throw down a sleeping bag under a bridge again.  No. . . I don't know that.  It is only a hope.  God knows what fierce times lie ahead.  When millions of people are told to evacuate their homes, you may not think that could happen to you.  

I need to make pictures while I can, before everything is gone.  

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