This week is the start of a new series “From the Vault”. It will be a combination of re-posted items and photos from past journeys that have been languishing on my hard drives.
I’ll admit that the “from the vault” series is a bit of a lazy cop-out. In all honesty, I’ve reached a crossroads and my left shoulder guy and right shoulder guy are arguing with each other about whether we are going to continue writing in this space. You’ll have seen the classic cartoons with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. My left and right people are not devils or angels but rather two sides of the coin.
I can see good reasons to keep going. I can see equally good reasons for stopping. This space was NEVER meant to be a substitute for a journal, yet here I am using it as one. As per my post about turning sixty, it’s time to rethink, refocus and renew!
The next few weekly posts will be ones that “I prepared earlier”. They will be scheduled in one hit, and thus give me some space to do that thinking. Maybe I’ll see you on the other side!
From the Vault – Week 1
Don’t be a dick!
There’s a lot of unmined gold in my photos from New York! I thought I’d hate it, but like many others, I fell in love with the busy busy mad place! I guess this bus shelter has a different ad now, but what wonderful advice!
All my planning was complete, and I was stepping on the final flight from Incheon to JFK International and it came to me in a thunderbolt that I had committed to spend three weeks in New York, in the house of someone I didn’t know very well. I didn’t have a Plan B if things went sour and that was an oversight.
My intended host and I had met in a bar on a rainy afternoon in Jasper in October 2016. We spent the afternoon and evening together, drinking, eating and chatting to other hikers who were also trying to keep dry. Did I mention the drinking part? To tell you the truth, we all got smashed together and had a fabulous time. After that RJB and I stayed in touch via Facebook. We had a lot in common.
It turned out that RJB lives near Central Park on 5th Avenue and she invited me to visit. Sensibly, I said yes and then we spent a few moths planning my visit.
My sudden concern arose from a fear that in the flesh and sober we might not be so compatible. What happened if she turned out to have some strange and dark secrets? Could she be a member of a weird, radical religious cult and I was destined to become a captive?
From her Facebook posts I knew our taste in music, politics and ethics aligned well. Still I had a niggle in the back of my mind. It still might be an elaborate hoax. My worries were of course in vain. RJB was a treasure and although a self-confessed crazy cat lady, everything went well. Her husband was a lovely fellow and we got on well too.
One of the downsides of being divorced is that your old friends find it hard to take sides and you tend to lose contact. I didn’t have many friends to start off with. The friends my ex and I did have, fell by the wayside as we spiralled down into a very unhealthy vortex of introspection as our marriage collapsed around us.
Since “getting my shit together” I have made a few really good friends. These friendships have in fact be an integral part of that renewal of my life.
As an adult it’s not that easy to make new friends. We are a little pickier and harder to please. We have much higher standards than we did as children. Even though it is hard, I think we make it harder than it needs to be. I think we disguise fear as pickiness. We are just a bit scared to bare our souls.
This blog, Science of People  has some really good tips on how to make friends, but I remember reading somewhere else that how you make friends and them keep them boils down to a few basic things.
1: You meet by being in the same pace at the same time, so you are already involved in some common pursuit.
2: You spend an intensive period of time with them participating in that common activity
3: You commit to staying in touch and
4: You actually do stay in touch.
It’s not rocket science. Of course, the most important factor is you need to trust and be open.
I guess with RJB I should have just trusted my gut. If she was an axe murderer I think I would have guessed in that first meeting. Little bit crazy cat lady I can deal with! 🙂
When I travel I like to develop a theme (and often a sub-theme) for my photos so that I can have a unifying element in the photo books I make. It is an underlying thread that doesn’t direct my flow but, if I see it and it catches my eye; I will take the shot. For example when I went to France for my 50th birthday I took photos of house numbers from 1 – 50. The 50 was the last page of the book. (BTW I missed number 26 and had to get one from the interwebs) In Italy a couple of years before that I took, photos of doors. When I was in America in 2012, I took photos on a red, white and blue theme. Incidentally, I only took red white and blue clothes with me so in selfies I would fit the theme. (I know I know….what can I say!)
On my recent trip to New York I decided to take photos of photographers, professional and otherwise; taking photos. I had some fun, met some people when they caught me out and got a few good shots. Here are a few of the results.
I took the series above in Freeman Alley in the Bowery District. I went there to take some street graffiti pictures but found these fellows posing. I started chatting to the photographer and we had a bit of a laugh. You can find his work at @iamjustiniano on Instagram.
This series is on the Pebble Beach at DUMBO in Brooklyn. The engagement shoot was gate crashed by a photography tour who had set up for the sunset behind Brooklyn Bridge.
The photographer wanted her to hold that big wrench in a particular way and she just wasn’t getting it!
I am guessing these ones in fashionable SOHO were for Instagram.
These final ones below aren’t great photos in their own right and were in the reject pile but these people were all taking photos of a red tail falcon which was eating a pigeon in a tree. It turned into a little community for a few minutes with people sharing their shots.
I nearly always take photos of myself in reflections like this one. If I pass a mirror I can’t resist! A reflection and a mirror? Heaven!