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Taken near Lake Merritt in Oakland

April 14th, 2002

People Pass By
I walked down by the lake to see if the weekly peace march would form at the usual time this afternoon, thinking I would shoot some photographs, but also thinking, well, I really don't want to shoot these guys again, at least not today. A beautiful day, of course, t-shirt weather, so I sat down on one of the benches near the water and watched the people walking, running, pushing, riding, hobbling and strolling in a never ending stream along the path in front of me.

There was a woman over to my right under one of the small bush like trees at the waters edge in what looked to be traditional Indian costume, Peruvian Indian, Nicaraguan Indian, that kind of Indian, not the India Indian or the American Indian kind of Indian. She was dark skinned sitting in the shade like a shadow on a bright sunny day huddled over something it seemed, bent and busy reaching down with a branch into the water. My reaction went more toward Carlos Castaneda and Don Juan when I saw her, but decided sorcery was unlikely here at the edge of Lake Merritt on a Sunday. I continued to think my own thoughts and watched the people, not finding a photograph among them.

I've thought of going to see the new reissued Amadeus this last week, but I haven'tTaken near Lake Merritt in Oakland had the energy or the gumption. It's playing at the Grand Lake just down the street and I realize I'm fighting it. For someone who doesn't get out into the human population much, thinking I'll wait for it to be released on video is not a good sign. Part of my reaction has to do with the movie itself, Mozart as I recall had his ups and downs and Salieri was a downer. Mozart's death was a downer. The whole damned period - mud, disease, weird assed patron princes - was a downer. The low cut dresses the ladies liked were kind of nice, but, you know, you can find something pretty close spread out on blankets taking the sun on the lawn behind me, so I'm thinking maybe my avoiding the flick has more to do with not wanting to go into a dark place and watch a downer flick, with or without decolletage, than any, you know, symptom of a serious withdrawal from society.

Better, I guess, to be out in the sun watching people, sitting on a bench not far from this fucking Indian sorceress who is silently moaning now and doing something even more weird with a sharpened stick and a seagull. I think that's a seagull. I don't think you're allowed to do that to a seagull. (I notice people are studiously looking away as they pass. Are they not looking at her because they get this same creepy feeling and wonder these same creepy things I am wondering or are they not seeing her at all? Questions like these seem to occur more often to me now, just not so early in the afternoon. They usually come later, before bed, as the medicines wear off.)

Can't say life has changed in this last week. I spent the morning at the office doing what I said I wouldn't - work at the office on a Sunday morning. The times I've done this in my life - weekends at the office - have generally been preludes to violent change of the "Shit, I quit!" kind. I don't want any shouting until the job market improves. I've said that in the past, often to the guy in front of me in the unemployment line.

These were the thoughts that were going through my head by the lake this afternoon, watching the people pass by.

The photograph was taken last Sunday near Lake Merritt.