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San Francisco 2008 Nihohmachi Street Fair.

Under here.

February 21, 2009

Odd Duck
Saturday. I wrote myself into a corner yesterday with the Kindle. I do have an aversion to the idea of reading a Kindle or, for that matter, using a laptop in a coffee shop. I'm not sure why. What's the difference in burying yourself in a paper or in burying yourself in an electronic device? You're reading, right? My thought was it had something to do with age and falling out of your cultural niche, but “what”, really, and given a “what”, what's wrong with that?

It took me a long time to buy and then wear my first wide brimmed Borsalino style hat in the seventies when all of the people I worked with would have been horrified had I worn one in their business or personal environments (in the financial business you don't wear hats, particularly anything that might be considered a funny hat) and the people I hung out with personally wore all kinds of hats (with goatees, beards and mustaches to go with them). And I still occasionally think about it when I'm putting one on. A juvenile expression of some kind, this wearing of a hat? I don't react to others wearing hats - broad brimmed, short brimmed, no brimmed - but even now I find myself occasionally feeling uncomfortable when first putting one on (but fine once I'm outside).

What was your reaction the first time you saw someone, say, riding along on a Segway? I had a combination “kid with their new expensive toy showing off” and a “hey, so that's what they look like” reaction. What's that about? Is it like reacting to a fellow high school student that shows up in a new, say, Corvette? Some element of envy? Some reaction to someone else who appears to be showing off? I went to high school with Art Carney's daughter and she drove a new Thunderbird, but without the reaction I'd have had maybe if she were a he. (Art Carney's daughter was a year or two older than I, very cute, a cheerleader and we never had an opportunity to exchange more than a word.) So is it an envy thing that only relates to males? I don't think so, but that's a thought.

Later. A walk down and around the farmer's market area near the Grand Lake theater, the sidewalks and the market quite crowded. I didn't stop anywhere, at any of the coffee shops, mostly because they were all so crowded and then, for some reason, I consciously started noticing the people themselves: eclectic, dressed every which way, wearing hats, not wearing hats, every nationality, ethnicity, economic background and age, all walking along doing whatever it is you do on a Saturday morning in or near a farmer's market. And I'm sitting here thinking whether or not I should wear one or another hat? Hello?

Where exactly have I been these many decades? This multi-cultural exposure has only happened for me in the last forty years, particularly here in the Bay Area. I grew up in mono-cultures, didn't really see any of the outside world until we moved to New York where the cultures changed from one mono-culture to another, suburban living outside a city where a father commuted to work, not a lot of difference between Seattle and New York on the surface, but different enough in reality to throw you out of synch with their subtleties and differences in fact. Changes began in college (which started as a mono-culture but became less and less so as I started experimenting with off the wall newspapers and magazines) and then finally to San Francisco after the army where I saw a great deal more of the world than I understood existed, managing to live and survive if not thrive more happily than I had in the past.

So I guess that's it. From Kindles to hats to my evidently long standing discomforts coming to the fore. Oh, yeah. That guy in the Panama packing a camera? I see him around. Odd duck.

Note: My goodness, it appears subscriptions to The New York Times, The Chronicle and three magazines I subscribe to are available on the Kindle for less than I'm now paying for paper. Am I warming to this “thing”?

The photograph was taken at the 2008 Nihohmachi Street Fair in San Francisco with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at 1/1600th second, f 2.8, ISO 200.