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International recognition!

A street scene in the Castro district of SF.
January 30th, 2000

It's difficult to see yourself in the light other people may see you unless you give an unusually pissy performance so that even you can see yourself the way others, strangers, in this case, may, um, occasionally see you. Like being a cranky old fart. I took BART to San Francisco early Saturday (clear skies, nice sun, nothing like the rain we're having this morning) and walked to Gasser's, a well known photography store on Second street near Mission. Walked a path a little different from the usual one because I got off at the wrong station and shot a picture or two along the way. Nothing wonderful, but nice, looking at things, a 35mm wide angle lens on the camera. Got to Gasser's, picked a folding lens shade up off a display upstairs in the camera section and then went downstairs to buy film.

Four employees serving customers from behind a long counter, each of them busy with people in line in front of them, no obvious line feeding all four so I stood behind the second guy serving people and waited. I noticed a young woman standing beside me nearby in the line on the left toward the entrance and I wasn't sure if she'd been there before I'd gotten into my line, so I decided to ask her if that were the case if my turn came before her's. No need, she was served in her line ahead of me. When the person I was waiting behind was finally finished, the clerk looked down the line without looking at me, said who's next, a guy down at the far end raising his hand almost simultaneously and the clerk quickly walking down to the far end of the counter to take care of him.

I'm not good at waiting in lines and I make some effort to avoid them (think of the Safeway runs before seven in the morning), so I stood there for a second wondering if the guy at the far end of the counter really had been there before I came down the stairs or if I'd just been aced out of my turn. There'd been a fair number of people milling about and customers had come down the stairs and gone after I'd arrived and I thought the fellow who had raised his hand was one of the new arrivals, I don't know.

The clerk, at least, had asked who was the next in line before shooting down to the far end of the counter, but he hadn't given me a glance or included me in his question. I'd been waiting there in front of him, after all, for some time as the young woman in front of me had made her purchases. Ho, hum. I don't much like stores that don't manage their lines. I don't like people who push up in front of the line and I'm pretty careful to not do it myself. So I thought, what the hell, smiled at no one in particular and went back up the stairs, placing the folding lens shade back on the rack I got it from and left. Gasser's is a big deal doing lots of business. They don't need mine.

I thought about it on the train. Part of me had wanted to just get out of the house, take the train somewhere, walk around a little bit and maybe shoot some pictures and although I used the purchase of a package of Ilford Delta 400 (to try it out, they say it gives better skin tones - and maybe a couple rolls of the 3200 just to see what the grain looks like) to give me an excuse and a direction more than any real need for film. You can always buy film, particularly when you have fifty rolls still sitting in the refrigerator. An excuse to get out the door. It's the American way. Leisure time. Spend money.

Maybe the little inside my head mini-drama standing in line, played out for my own entertainment, was just an old fart thing that happens with age and senility and boredom. Still. This isn't the first time. I wasn't really all that upset. I think I got something of a kick out of it, even though I was the only one who noticed. It tells me something, maybe, makes me feel a little stupid. Like a kid throwing a hissyfit.

So. The Super Bowl. Raining. Good day for a nap. I don't really want to do the laundry.

Note added later: It's ten in the evening and I've just watched Ground Hog Day on television, a movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. My thoughts have always been mixed on Bill Murray, he reminds me too much of the less than wonderful character he plays at the beginning of Ground Hog Day. Andie MacDowell for reasons, none of them rational, is one of nature's perfect women. I like this movie a lot and I'm going to buy it. I've seen it three or four times on television and I'm not certain I've ever rented it, but it's time I owned it and played it a half dozen more times. I just thought I'd mention that.

The photograph was taken at a Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence event some time back. I've scanning this photograph before, but have never liked it enough to run it. Don't like it all that much now, but it's done and I'm not up for looking for another.