Monday, April 8, 2024

Staring at the Sun

Today people will put on cheap cardboard and plastic disposable glasses and stare at the sun.  That should tell you something.  WTF?  So they can see the moon cross before it?  Really?  

It will look better on t.v. and you won't burn your eyes out.  

If you are going to do it, at least keep one eye closed.  

My cousin who was staying with my mother is gone.  She left yesterday morning.  I cooked dinner for my mother last night, spaghetti and broccoli.  It was the first beef I've eaten in a month.  It was also the first time I have gotten to talk to my mother in three months.  That's how long my cousin stayed.  That girl is on the pipe.  You can never get a word in edgewise, as they used to say.  She is fine, but she wears me out.  I was afraid my mother was going to be sad, but she wasn't.  

"Back to normal?"


So we sat out and had a glass of wine in the beautiful late afternoon then ate to soft Brazilian jazz playing in the background.  

My cousin had the t.v. on 24/7.  Like so many people, silence is her enemy.  Most people, even the ones I know, can't stand to be alone, can't stand the silence and the noise in their own heads.  They need to drown it out, I guess.  Solitude for me is imperative.  I need "thinking time."  I need the other, too, so that I am not always talking to myself, but it is, perhaps, a 50/50 thing.  Too much time with other people, you know. . . . 

“Thank God for books as an alternative to conversation.”

― W.H. Auden

 And yet, I can sit forever with a woman I love and chat away like a songbird.  Isn't that something?  Years of that, however, might kill it all.  Life needs balance and space.  But we'll leave the space thing for another time.  

I will have to talk today.  I have overbooked myself, I'm afraid.  I am going to the gym where I will have to chat a bit, then to lunch with my successor at the factory (twice removed) and my old secretary whose loyalties are now with my successor, I presume.  Then I'm off to my mother's before going to dinner with the famous German film director of whom I may make a portrait for the poster advertising her upcoming film festival.  The last part, the photography part, is still a maybe.  I find I lack all confidence now.  I haven't photographed a person for years.  I fear I've lost my chops and to fail miserably on a thing like this would be devastating.  So. . . .

When I get home tonight, I will be done for.  I will sit on the couch and close my eyes and the day will play before my shuttered lids like a movie.  I am a bit like those Greek babies in the orphanage  the psychologist filmed who hadn't been held and would cry when touched because they couldn't stand that stimulation.  They would not grow physically no matter how they were fed, nor were they developing mentally, so the nurses began taking the kids home with them at night to nurture them, and. . . boom!. . . the infants began to develop.  The film was made in the '50s, I believe, in 16mm black and white.  If I could find it on YouTube, I would link it here.  

But I can't. 

Now comes the confession part of the show.  No, no. . . not that.  There is a Vespa for sale in a town two and a half hours away.  It's a real beaut.  

It is the same model as my old one.  The owner said it had only 250 miles on it.  

"How can it have only 250 miles?" I asked.  I was speaking to the owner, a woman, on the telephone.  

"I live on an island and only ride it here.  I've never been brave enough to take it across the bridge onto the highway."

It has been kept in her air conditioned garage and serviced by some relative who is a European scooter mechanic.  So I texted Tennessee to find out when he was coming back.  

"Thursday.  I'll drive you down to pick it up if you buy it," he said.  

So now I have a conundrum.  I have never had PTSD from the accident.  Until, that is, I spoke with the lady on the phone.  For the first time, I am not so sure I will feel good about getting on and riding it.  I don't want to be a 'fraidy cat, you know. . . machismo man that I am. . . but I can tell you this.  It is just the two of us here.  Don't say anything to anybody.  I have a few days to decide.  

When I told my mother last night, I expected some blowback.  She just said, "I can't tell you what to do."  Then she said to me, "I miss Ili.  I liked her.  I think it is because of the way she took care of you after the accident."

"No," I said.  "She was always very nice to you, always told you how pretty you were, always complimented you.  That was her superpower."

If I get cracked on this one, I won't have anybody coming to take care of me this time.  I'll be all on my own.  There was one night in the hospital that Ili didn't stay with me.  She was exhausted.  I told her to go to my house and sleep.  I'd be fine.  But I wasn't.  It was the worst night I have ever spent in my life.  Without an advocate there, nothing was the same.  And that is what it would be like now.  

And that, my friends, brought on a little bit of the PTSD that I haven't had. 

But you know. . . something else could happen, right, and there would be no advocate.  Not getting a scooter isn't going to save me.  Hell. . . I'm more likely to get a girl if I have the scooter.  I remember riding the old one around one day on the Boulevard without Ili on the back.  I was sitting at a stoplight when a pretty girl said to me in a very flirtatious way, "Where's the blonde you usually ride around with?"  

"Where are you going," I might say now.  "Get on.  I'll give you a ride."

Yea.  You bet.  There is seemingly no end to the fantasies one can concoct.  

As I have been telling you over and over and over again, I've been going through my massive photo files.  I'll admit there are days when I don't get too far.  I'll see a photo I've never touched and work it up.  One of the things I am finding that surprises me is how many photos I took with my Leicas over the years that are good.  The surprise comes from the fact that Leicas are manual focus and it is easy to miss focus when things are moving or when I am in a crowd shooting from the hip.  But I've "guesstimated" pretty accurately and those are some of my favorite photos.  I would have thought the autofocus cameras would have done a much better job, but it isn't true.  And when I cook up an image from the digital Leicas, they are easy to work with.  It isn't just hype.  You can do just about anything you want to with them.  Leica color science, I guess.  That's what some people say.  

I love the film cameras.  They are beautiful to look at and to hold.  They are more fun to use than the digital cameras by far.  But. . . I can do more with the Leica digital files, and I think, after going through my old stuff for so many hours now, I am giving up on film.  Probably not completely, but for the most part.  I shot the photo at the top of the page on my recent Miami trip and worked it up yesterday.  I hadn't downloaded the files off the Leica M10 card until then.  Working the image up yesterday was oh-so "oo-la-la."  I can just get so much out of those files.  

Today, I will be driving during the eclipse.  Do you think that's bad?  Will cars crash and people go insane?  I know the Mayans will be sacrificing virgins on the alter of the gods.  That's just what people do.  I'll try to be careful and keep both eyes on the road.  If I had the Vespa today, I am sure I would not take it out.  God knows what spirits might be loosed upon the world during this event.  I mean people are already acting nutty.  They are flying to places in the northeast so they can see the moon pass before the sun.  

I'll watch it tonight on YouTube.  It's certain to be on.  

Song of the Day!!!  You gotta listen to the lyrics.  When the eclipse hits NYC, I'm sure cats will be screwing monkeys and bears will trample people in the streets.  Look into the camera.  Stare directly at the sun.  

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