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Under Construction
Testing the studio lights

January 24th, 2004

Starting This Weekend
Friday. Drinks after work with friends at a German hofbrau sort of restaurant in San Francisco. We took off early and arrived about five, the place wall to wall by the time we'd had a few beers and started dinner. A popular stop from the look of it. I sat and observed. I often sit and observe. The people I was with from the company were engaged in their own conversations and I was looking at the couples and singles as they entered, their expressions, their body language; how they changed over time with alcohol.

And there was alcohol. This place was about beer, German beer. The wise and stalwart I managed to keep it to three for reasons that had nothing to do with abstinence. Some thought of wanting to start Saturday without a hangover, some thought of having to walk back to BART late at night in San Francisco, some thought of wanting to get home reasonably early. But there was a beer menu with a lot of German beer to choose from and you could order it in sizes up to a five liter glass. One liter looks damned impressive, more than one of these was consumed by my companions. There was some discussion of ordering a "boot". Packed as the place was, I didn't see any "boots" in evidence. Maybe we're just getting old. But I'm digressing.

I was looking at the people. This is San Francisco, after all, and damaged economy or not, panhandlers on the street or not, this was Friday night at the End of the Rainbow. A couple in their thirties was sitting at the back bar when we entered. She an attractive blond, he well dressed, handsome, an attractive couple. She reminded me of MSK when we were in our thirties. I wished them well. The guy was better looking and better dressed than I ever was on my best day in my thirties, but then MSK made his attractive companion look like a frump. Life is strange. I remember those days well at the End of the Rainbow, I hope their time together is as good if not better than ours, but no wistful wish to return, no wistful wish to repeat that particular episode. Still, they'd elicited a story, a memory, something to ponder as I was drinking.

There were a number of attractive Asian women. It's a shame that in my day there weren't as many available Asian women. I'm attracted to Asian women for a couple of reasons: one, the woman I lived with for that one year in my twenties; another, the woman I'd have liked to have lived with in my fifties. A benefit of this culture, a reason to pick "now" if you were given a choice in some great cosmic lottery. I experienced a flashback seeing that first couple at the bar, a simple pedestrian tale of earlier days. I wasn't able to call forth stories from any of the others. Here and there an interesting face, interesting clothes, interesting body language, but nothing to bring forth a story more entertaining than a recount of lives lived in a humdrum existence. A failure of imagination, my imagination.

The light was too low for photographs - or so I said trying one or two - f 1.2 at 1/30th of a second can be done, of course, elbows on table.

Saturday. Raining this morning. It was raining last night coming home from San Francisco. Breakfast at the usual place after hitting a cash machine to finance the weekend and sitting here now without the radio playing. A habit. Enter the apartment, get in the car, turn on the radio. Up in the morning, go through the routine. Habit. Eat at the usual place. Habit. Read the paper. Habit. Go to the job. Habit. Write the journal, carry the camera. Habit.

The job as a habit. When I was younger I would have been long gone from this job, paycheck or no, and I'd have survived and I would have felt better for the experience. And I would look back after a time and analyze my behavior. Cutting and running is a way out, not doubt about it, but in retrospect you see there were many ways to reinvent your work and be able (psychologically) to stay on. As I look forward and realize I'm going to retire one day now probably sooner than later (if only for lack of energy, lack of memory, lack of blood pressure), I think in bed at night I really don't want to take another leap in the dark although I know, good or bad, it would be an answer. So what might I do to reinvent myself here and now and save my ass for say another year? We'll see, maybe this week, starting this weekend.

The photograph was taken in my apartment using the Elinchrom lights with a Nikon F5 and a 28-70mm f 2.8 Nikon (Nikkor) lens on Kodak Ektachrome 100s and processed by New Lab in San Francisco.