Friday, May 16, 2008
Just inside the BOLTbUS entrance, DC
Way behind. I know I'm way, way behind. Where did I leave my bumper sticker: “The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get.” Yeah, it's been one of those weeks, though I have to admit, I'm not sure exactly where the hell I was, or what the hell I was doing. Not a lot of High Class photography, I suppose. But there will always be time for that. You just have to make it. In no particular order, recent days have included:
Taking the new BOLTbUS from New York to DC and back, just days apart. Owned by Greyhound, but clearly meant to be more upscale, BOLTbUS is an attempt to bring a little big of luxury to the world of bus travel. I know, “bus” and “luxury” are words that never appear in the same sentence, but I was pleasantly surprized: lovely grey, 2 x 2 seating (“...rich corinthian leather, Tatoo!”)
"...rich corinthian leather.."
actual leg room for someone as tall as 5-9 (that wouldnt be me, but I met someone who WAS 5-9 and they didnt complain. I'm 5-8 ½, and I had a lovely seat, too. In front of the seat is a double whammy electric outlet, smartly arranged so that the big slots DON'T line up (which I guess means if you have one of those big IBM portable power blocks the both of them might fit there. Fortunately, like all things travel, the bus wasn't yet full, so I have two seats to myself. Like the train, this vastly improves the attitude of the passenger, and creates such a feeling of spaciousness that you are almost willing to over look the 4 hours of putting your tuchas in a seat. Every now and then, you stand up walk a few steps this way or that, and try to stretch a tendon so you don't get an Interstate Charlie Horse. Those are the worse kind, for I fear they won't stop for help unless you are really in bad bad shape. But there was no real issue on either direction for this ride. The cool thing is, you can arrive 5 minutes before blastoff, and just get on the bus; it's positively 1972 all over again. No stupid inane security wanding; no standing in line for days; no having to tip three porters to make sure your bag arrives. Then, just hop on, and ride that sucka. No stops. No MarylandJerseyDelaware resting stations.
Power to the People
You can make your way to the pissoir in the back of the bus... no running water just a very ominous looking squeeze bottle of that sticky translucent antibiotic handwash that politicians use after they shake 100 hands in the crowd. On one of the buses on the Clinton campaign last month, there was one of those hilarious pictographs next to the mini throne in the back of the bus. It had a stick figure standing in front of the toilette (like Larry Craig, stability required a 'wide stance') with a diagonal line through it. Next to it was a stick figure of a happy camper, sitting on the john, in typical “take your time you have to read the whole newspaper before you leave” fashion. That had no diagonal. What were they trying to tell me? That the only known advantage men have over women (i.e. being able to stand and pee without hindrance) was being taken away by legions from the Interstate Commerce Commission and the D.O.T. Gimme a break folks: If we have to ride in this bus to begin with, the least you can do it accord us a simple chance for a quick getaway. Let's face it, if there IS a problem with the bus, hitting something or rolling over..that LAST thing you want to be doing before the lights go out, is to be sitting on the Bus crapper. I mean really.. who thinks of this stuff?
That said, the BOLTbUS is a great deal. Forty bucks round trip. And, since they leave you near the metro/subway, you just walk a few steps, hop on a train and youre home in fifteen minutes. I'm happy, in this day of four hundred dollar shuttle tickets, and $1550 round trip flights (same day, out and back) to Cincinnatti from DC ( a total of 3 hours in the air), that there is someone wiling to try and bet on quality, and reasonable price points. Oh, and did I mention they have free WiFi? It actually bears a strong resemblance to a Starbucks near any big college. Tons of people with laptops open, sipping tea and coffee, and tapping away on the 'net. The WiFi thing really makes it so 21st century, n'est-ce pas?
And the groovy stuff you get to see firsthand!
And the fact that you can get to, and leave from, the underground really speeds things up, especially in this day of $4.00 gas.
Four hours later, you're back on 6th Avenue
Each end of that trip provided something worth noting. Well, worth noting if you like Wet-Vacs. In December, when I migrated my office from the “messy” basement to the first floor studio, I ended up storing lots of old pictures, contact sheets, negatives, and tear sheets in big plastic tubs. Water proof, dust proof, trip over proof: they are the next best thing to actually getting things organized. At least the 'stuff' will be there in six months or a year or five when you actually have the time to sort through them. All the better, I noted, when my foot squished onto a rug in the basement. That's a sure sign of water, folks, and after four straight days of rain in DC, the water had finally broken the spell of the cinder/concrete and was slowly drifting in. Water never loses. It may take a while, but living down stream from Hoover Dam, Three Gorges, or Umatilla, should give you pause. God has been doing this water thing way longer than we have. Anyway, maybe it was my charming countenance, but Tuesday morning, the spell broke, the sun came out, and beauty was beheld. And the water stopped coming in, saving me another full and antagonistic day using my new Wet Vac. So, I headed back to BOLTbUS and scored a ride back to the city, in time to see my Cousin of Choice, Joe Oppedisano, who'd just arrived from Italy, for dinner. Joe is one of those folks who is a victim of the new electronic age. Somehow, there is another photographer (I use the term loosely) who has the same name as Joe. Joe, for reasons of simplicity, chose www.JoeO.com for his website, seeing as nearly everyone spells his name incorrectly. The one guy who got is right, is the other Joe Oppedisano, who not only is a photographer, but a photographer heavy into the brightly lit, oiled body ero-notReallySure what to call it, scene. I really don't think the pictures are much, but I give the guy credit, there are a helluva lot OF them. Meanwhile, when my Joe O makes a new contact, people do what they always do: they type your name, add DotCom, and see what youre up to. In his case, it's uniformly shocking, disappointing, and unhelpful. Some people actually think it IS our Joe's work. Nope, but try and tell that to someone online. People Online know everything, right? Sure they do. Can't tellem a thing. Well, JoeO has been trying to work something out with this fella, but .. so far, no go. Too bad.. I mean it's one thing to be taken to task for uninteresting pictures, but it's another when those pictures aren't even YOURS!
New York & red stuff: it goes together
OK...I think I am rambling: but I'll add one thing: On a walk downtown the other day we passed by the Flat Iron building, and even a hundred years after Stieglitz shot it, the perfect picture, even at 4pm its a joy to behold.
It's not always such a fine outcome. Walking on an eastside street the other day I saw what is probably the most ironic touch I've seen in ages: a heavy metal fence to protect a Gotham City tree, only the fence is a little late. Sorry bout that.
So, go find a building, preferably something with a little age on it. Maybe something with some beautiful Edwardian touches. Stare for a few minutes. Make it your own. And then move on.
We're just sayin' David.