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.