Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh, Waiter, Two Martinis Please...

Writing, I find, is demanding in ways that photography doesn’t even begin to deal with. Sure, our hours are much more dependent on subject, light, location. But writing, which you can basically do anywhere, anytime, draws on other cerebral stimuli which, for me at least, prove higher walls to bound over. I have a lot of great ideas about what ‘today’s blob should be. In fact, I spend hours walking around as the omniscient observer, saying things like “wow, diamond studs in your camera strap, I should blob about that.” Or, in the middle of taking my driver’s license out of my wallet to show the TSA guy at the airport, and wondering, “if the name on my license was Bin Laden, and it matched the ticket, would the guy even notice? I should blob about that…” It’s not like we don’t have a host of potentially blobbable subjects. But, especially on the road, it is tough to focus (pun intended) on the kinds of things which will actually let you put words to screen. It’s much easier to just flip off a colorful line or two to someone nearby, and keep sipping your coffee.

This morning, in Toledo, where I am traveling with the Clinton campaign, we arose at 415am to make a visit to a Chrysler plant not far away. There will be one of the usual “speechifying” events later this morning, but the groans which accompanied the passing out of the schedule yesterday, were Olympian. Yet, waking at 4, throwing some water on your face, hell, maybe even throwing some water on the face of the first person you meet in the hallway, isn’t so bad. You’re on the bus, having been screened by the dog and wanding agents, and the hub bub of the campaign is again alive and well by five o’clock. The witticisms are perhaps a bit dimmer, and less demanding, but there is amusing chit chat all the way over to, and back from, the event.

Shooting pictures in that gorgeous purple haze dawn light usually is, in itself, enough joy to have risen early. I always remind photo students when I speak to them that the one real curse of a photographer, especially when you are working on a story about a place (i.e a “Santa Barbara” story… or a “Gulf Coast” story) that you WILL be up early, like it or not. In fact, most of the time, there is a very enriching process to seeing the sky go from black to cobalt blue, through the hazy reds, and to ‘morning.’ A cup of hot coffee, even lousy hotel lobby coffee, will help make that transition worthwhile. And today, at Chrysler, on the way out of the plant and back to our buses, we swarmed over several of those very wide, flat, Dunkin Donut boxes like water bugs in a Saigon bathroom.

Ah, morning. Well, we returned to the hotel, where we have an hour of down time, and I have taken the opportunity to try and inject some life into Down Time. Ergo, this blob. But, as I said, unless you are a writer, you end up like me, looking for that motivation to try and get something written when the hairy eyeball of Blob Deadline arrives. Sitting in the lobby of the airport Hilton, charging my laptop, uploading pictures to New York, downloading the recent pictures onto the laptop, I spied a prismatic reflection across the room. I’m in the bar, where red leather banquets and almost stylish green chairs set the mood (yes, it IS a bar) and when I looked for the second time at that reflection, I realized I was looking at the worlds largest usable Martini Glass. It was perched with a three liter bottle of vodka, and fairly cried out to me:

“Take me! Take me!”

photo: Jeffrey McMillan

Well, I approached the glass, afraid it was glued to the table. Nope. I thought it heavy. Yep. But not too heavy. So, while it isn’t lit by the wonderful morning light whose purple rays pushed me to keep my eyes open an hour ago, its mere presence has given me an enormous sense of fulfillment. It makes you think things like “who thought of designing this?” “What did their boss say when they suggested making and distributing them?” “How many people can cozily get schnockered at the same time?” And so, its true, just when you least expect it, something will tap you on the shoulder and say….” I think you just found your blob for the day..” We’re just sayin…. David


Anonymous said...

Now this is what politics is all about.

Bartender, I'll have a double.


Is there a Chrysler anymore?


I'll stick to my watercolors.


Anonymous said...

o.k we're gonna need one helluva olive...