Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Weekend in the Bay Area

The weekends are a great opportunity to take a break from the normal routine. Some weekends are better than others, and some weekends are easily forgettable.

This past weekend, I went on an adventure to the bay area; in particular, Los Gatos and San Francisco. I had a great time, driving, thinking, and dreaming. I spent some time driving without the radio and just listened to my thoughts. When I arrived, my lovely friend Jessie greeted me with an 8 year old puppy named Daisy.

Being outside of Orange County is refreshing. I was enthralled knowing that waking up the next day, I would see something new. I was so happy staying with a good caring friend, whom I was able to catch up with. I can imagine what I would be doing if I were home, I would have woken up, grabbed a bite, hung out at a coffee shop and seen the same thing... Just on a different day.

So that day was different, spent some time in the downtown area of Los Gatos. There were many small businesses, much to do, much to spend on. I wasn't up there to shop or flaunt. With Jessie, I brought my ukulele and camera. We hung out and told stories, I played her a few songs a friend and I had written. Then I documented the occasion with a portrait of her and also the fountain that was beyond us.

Later that afternoon we walked Daisy around the block. I left Los Gatos, drove an hour up into the mission district of San Francisco. I spent some time in a coffee shop, took some portraits, read, and had random conversations with a few people.

My humongous camera attracted some people's attention some of which asked me “do they even still make film for that?!” To which I would reply, “yes they do. Film isn't dead, you know.” A few people mistook my camera for a video camera because of its size.

One conversation I had was with a man named Jeremiah. He was on his way to leave the coffee shop and inquired about my camera. He asked me “do they still make film for that?” The typical question that affirms my belief that people think that this medium is dead. I showed him how large the exposure is… then he noticed the book that I was reading, it was the biography of Andrew Wyeth entitled “Andrew Wyeth: a Secret Life.” He said, “Andrew Wyeth?” With a look of confusion on his face. I asked him, “what about him?” He replied, “well, I wouldn't think that someone your age would even know about him.” To which I replied, “he was one of the greats! How could I not?” We then talked about other artists and museums and pieces, laughing and criticizing different artists. A few moments later he left.

I spent another few moments at the coffee shop then took a walk around the block. I noticed this building covered with a mural in a graffiti like style. As I continued to dwell around the painted wall, I noticed this banner that was hung up on the wire fence that blocked off a small parking lot suitable for about eighteen cars. The banner read: “Calumet,” it was a name so familiar to me in my photographic endeavors. I was elated by the chance to be in such a great photography store. I walked around the building hoping to find the entrance to the shop. I reached the other end of the parking lot, its fence gate was open. My camera felt so heavy in my arm. I walked toward the door and the security guard on the other side of the door said to me slowly with the use of his lips, shaping each word, “we are closed.” I looked at the door and noticed the time, it was 6:13pm, I had missed their store hours by thirteen minutes. I guess my face went from excited to sad because the security guard looked as though he was sad for me. He turned around and called out on a guy behind the counter that signaled him to let me in. I walked in slowly as though I was entering sacred grounds. The place was full of photographic equipment, most of which I had never used before. I was excited. When the man who allowed me to come in came over and asked me with a smile on his face, “what do you need?” “I need chemicals!” He walked me to the small aisle where they had the fixer, developer, and such. He recommended the D-76 solution and a basic fixer and handed me some Kodak Photo-Flo. I was sold. I didn't even know the price. The total came close to $20, which was something I truly appreciated. After buying my supplies, I looked around the shop just thinking, “wouldn't it be fun to use this… or use that.” I bid them farewell with a “thanks guys!” The guy said, “no problem! See you around.” That was great.

After my great Calumet experience, I met up with one of my best friends and her boyfriend. We told stories, got caught up a bit; laughed, had a pizza, had a beer. It was a great night. The drive back to Los Gatos was great. I came back to Jessie's place by around 11:30pm, she was up with her roommate. It was a great end to the evening.

Now, I've been back for a week since that trip. I'm thinking about how life could be less ordinary, or just as ordinary as we perceive it. Today is a weekend, I'm back to my typical routine. I'm at a coffee shop, writing, I have my camera with me… its still ordinary, but I'm learning to appreciate it. God is good, life is great… moreover when you have friends.

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