Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Truly, my friends, I am burned out and up. If you have been flip-flopping between this blog and Q's trying to find something of interest. . . the two of us couldn't entertain or delight. . . well, I can't think of a good analogy. There is a great indicator.
Sorry, Q. I didn't mean to drag you into it.
But it must be going around. Everything I used to read or look at on the internet is now gone or dopey. These are dopey time, perhaps. When everyone has a voice, it seems, there is only a din.
Last night, I shot with a model whose father drove her two hours to get to the studio. The trip home would be shorter, I hope. They came from an almost rural area north of my own hometown. It was hot here yesterday, brutally so for May, temperatures reaching into the nineties, humidity levels in the ninety percent range as well. They drove up in a beat-to-shit pickup truck with the windows down. They looked sweaty and worn out. When they walked in and sat down, they were silent the way rednecks often are in unknown territory.
"Well," I said, "one of you looks old enough to drink. Would you like a beer?"
"No thanks," the father answered seriously. "I gave that up for good some years ago. I just thought it was time to grow up."
"You don't mind if I stay young a while longer, do you?"
"No sir, you go ahead."
As his daughter put herself together in the other room, I chatted with dad. Oh what tales people have.
"It's hot," I said. "The a.c. here doesn't seem to be keeping up."
"It's been like that at home, too. It is too hot, too early."
The two of them lived in an RV, he said. They had just kicked the wife/mother out of their lives. He raised his hand like he was drinking from a bottle.
"Too much of that," he said. "I had to tell her to go."
He'd been married twenty-four years. He was a smallish man with gray stubble and no body fat at all. He wore a loose gray New Orleans Saints t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I knew him. I'd grown up with it.
"Do you live on a piece of property or in a park," I asked.
"It's a park," he said. "We only pay two hundred and thirty dollars. It's a nice place, good people."
I tried to visualize the two of them bumping around the RV. Tight quarters. I wondered what he did for a living but didn't ask.
"It's rough about your wife," I said. "Twenty-four years is a long time. You got to keep moving, though. Exercise, walks, bike rides. It keeps you from getting too internal, you know?"
"Oh, I exercise all the time," he said, "lift weights, ride my bike. I've got a group of buddies who are maniacs. I just like to exercise and watch old black and white t.v. shows."
"Do you watch Turner Classics," I asked?
"I don't have a t.v. or anything like that. I just watch them on YouTube."
What a world, I thought.
In a bit his daughter came out.
"This was mamma's dress," she said.
He mumbled something about the five-finger discount and laughed. They had their own language like twins do, I thought. It is not quite intelligible to the outside world.
"Well, then, let's shoot!"
After I finished shooting her in her mother's dress, I told her we needed to move the red couch onstage. She could change. I turned to go out to sit with her father while she did, and I looked back over my shoulder just as she tried moving it herself. I saw her catch her big toenail and peel it back. The blood squirted.
"Jesus," I yelled. I could feel my testicles in my armpits. She sat down and looked at it. I got her some paper towels.
"I'm going to get your daddy. I don't think I can look at that."
I went out and told him what happened. He came in and looked at it and asked me if I had any tape. I gave him tape and paper towels and water and he began cleaning it up.
"That's going to hurt," he said. "It's going to turn black."
I was sitting in a chair writhing. Holy shit, holy shit. She looked a bit pale and asked if I had some water. She drank a bit and then lay back on the couch. When dad was finished, she sat up and they spoke in that weird language again.
"O.K." she said. "Let's shoot."
"What! You still want to shoot?"
"Sure," she said. I looked at her dad.
"I didn't raise no sissies," he said. "She'll be fine."
And so we shot the rest, me framing above the big paper towel bandage on her toe. I couldn't believe it, but I guess she wanted to get the most out of her four hour truck trip.
When we were done we hugged and I walked them to the truck.
"I'd like to say you'll love the pictures and want to come back, but. . . " I pointed to her toe.
"Oh, I'm coming back, "she said as she gingerly scooted into the truck pointing her toe into the air.
I went home and downloaded the images and stayed up to prepare one to send her. It had been a long day at the factory and then the shoot. I hadn't had dinner, but I owed her this, I thought. By the time they got home, I had a picture to send her.
"Holy shit!" she wrote back.
Good. It was closing in on midnight. The factory whistle would be blowing. Another day, another story.
at 5:52 AM