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Lessons

Part of my life requires making frequent drives that are 3-4 hours in length.  It's funny the things that the road teaches you; for me it's usually an exercise in patience and extreme metaphors.  For example - no matter how fast you go, someone is always tailgating you.  Often I find myself too slow for the fast lane but too fast for the slow lane, stuck in some kind of limbo where I can't find a place of happy medium.  Life is like that sometimes:  it just doesn't want to let you go at your own pace.

The road is one thing, the street is another.  Recently I made one of my semi-annual pilgrimages to South Congress (Austin) for margaritas and photography.  One of the first things I saw was this man, my new favorite superhero, Complimentman!  I wish I could say that I noticed his name, but I didn't, not until I scanned the negative and gave it a proper look. All I saw, in the moment, was a man in a unique hat with a bullhorn, and I saw he wasn't looking at me - he was focused on bellowing something at the people in front of me - so I made my image and walked quickly on, hoping to escape his notice.  

That's the beauty of the Hasselblad and its waist level finder:  people are unaware.  But I was also unaware.  How would it have been different if I had really looked at him?  What would he have said to me if I had stopped, talked to him, maybe peered into the mirror on his hat?  (If I was tall enough for that.)  Maybe he would have given me a compliment that would have changed everything.  So much for using medium format film and slowing down; sometimes I guess I still move too fast.  And in the meantime, who was tailgating me?

I did a lot of looking that day, but in hindsight, I question how much of that was actual seeing. Lesson learned.