WANDER IN THE RED DRESS
Another Saturday with nothing to write about, nowhere to go, nothing to do and definitely no pictures worth taking; but I went out anyway. First stop, some rocket fuel, just in case I needed to think sharp, move quick and manifest powerfully.
I decided to drive downtown to the Public Market. In my mind there was nothing to shoot as I had shot it all. In my mind was also a voice that said, “do it anyway.” I parked the car, grabbed the weapon and marched onto the battlefield. Though I aimed and fired at many, my tough battle trained instinct set its sights on a mommy and a doggie. I liked his one blue-gray eye and his pink scarf.
As I strolled, my mind disappeared. I just walked and sweat and let myself be drawn from one thing to the next. More stupid flowers called out to me. How is it possible that these damn orchids just grow with such extraordinary beauty?
Just as I finished gawking at one I turned and there was another one.
I yawned and was ready to move on when the sun popped another into my eye.
After feeling like my eye just had sex and needed a cigarette, I’d mosey down the road. Crowds of people tasting buckets and plates of everything from muffins to gluten-free pizza, to olive oil, cheese, fruit, flowers and jewelry and on and on…
I crossed the street and caught a flash from a shiny leaf.
Made it to the other side of the market and approached a Knife Sharpening Vendor. They were so excited for me to take pictures of them sharpening knives. As a matter of fact, everyone seemed so excited to have me take their picture yesterday. It was so strange the way they invited me to suck their image out. The knife folks would have made some great pictures had their fingernails not been so dirty and gnarly. But I did get a chest feeling from a bunch of knives they had on display. I grabbed a shot for my collection.
I walked impossibly slow. Almost letting time proceed ahead of me as I wasn’t ready to move at its speed. That’s when I started to understand why I love my camera so much. It’s the power to stop time. Stop it to capture beauty. Stop it to capture the strange. Stop it when something weird crosses my path that no one would believe.
I see faces in crowds that are so beautiful. Not just model quality beautiful, but people who beam something warm from deep inside. I look at them, they look back and shower me with that special shit and boom! I grab it.
And just as I take it and smile to myself, like a vampire who just sucked a virgin’s neck, I think to myself that I probably won’t get blasted with a golden face like that again … and BOOM! There’s another one…
I think about the parents that made these beautiful girls. I wonder if those parents appreciated their kids when they were little. I loved taking pictures of my daughters at every age. I don’t know how they endured constantly having a camera in their face. Little girls are so precious, especially mine.
Anyway, I kept strolling forward and passed many booths with far less photogenic faces. That’s when I came across the booth where they make the guacamole. I just shoved my camera into the bowl as they mixed the disco colors of shag carpet green with Saturday night fever red. It was a disco inferno. As bright as the red and green were, I think I like best, the soft violets and blues somehow caught in the reflection of the mixing bowl.
Now, I love good fresh guac. And most of the humans on this planet that I talk to also adore the avocado. But I was actually talking to someone a couple of weeks ago that claimed they disliked avocado immensely because it reminded them of what baby poo looks like in a diaper. The more I talk to people about nonsense and the bizarre, the more I realize that the world outside themselves is seen from the world inside themselves. If they gush with beauty from deep within, then they are destined to see the world as a beautiful place filled with loving people. However if they are bitter and dark, sharing an abscess from deep within, they will see the most delicious creamy treat as unappealing as baby poo.
Anyway, I started to sweat pretty bad. Something about full-blown sun in 90 degree heat… who knew? On the walk back to the car I noticed these ladies who foreshadowed the rest of my day; only I didn’t know it at the time. Lovely ladies strutting their stuff in pretty red dresses.
The sun beat down hard and I could feel the sweat start to drip in all the hidden parts of my body. I picked up the pace and headed back to the car. I caught another pretty lady shielding herself from the tropical light.
A few steps more and I realized I wasn’t going to make it. It was just too damn hot. I made a quick turn and walked up the street. I figured I’d find someplace cool to rest, so my ass-fur would stop sweating through my shorts. And as with the ladies earlier, that’s when I saw the dog also wearing the red dress. This was when I knew I had departed off the path of the sane and entered the world of the bizarre once again.
Why would someone humiliate the cousin to the wolf by putting on a red tutu? The weird ensemble drew me in and that’s when I felt the cool breeze of the coffee shop next door. My butt was really sweating now, as if there was a tropical tsunami going on back there, so I knew I had to seek shelter for a change of temperature.
As I walked in, a cinnamon bun caught my eye. I bought it and sat down at a table next to some elders. I proceeded to unroll the bun, eating it mindlessly, denying its seduction and its contribution to my already excessive belly.
That’s when the lady next to me turned to me and said, “Is it worth it?” I stopped mid bite to look up at her. “Excuse me?” I replied, ass drenched, salivating and mindless. “Is it worth it? Is it that good?” she said. Not being a fan of brevity, I thought about my reply and was going to go into a whole analysis of the tender flaky texture and the smooth icing and the goal of getting to the tender center of the spiral. But she continued as I didn’t answer fast enough. “Sometimes they make those with lard. Is that one made with butter? Is it really worth all those calories?” I told her that it wasn’t the best bun I’d had but not the worst either. I continued to eat it and she turned away… and I grabbed that lady’s picture.
As I munched and cooled down, I looked around me and caught this other old dude behind me. I don’t know what possessed me to grab his shot, but I did. I chewed and shot him.
I thought a little bit about the life he could have lived. Was he an artist? Was he a millionaire? Was he a bum? Was he married? Where were his kids? Did he speak English? Did he live here or was he visiting?
It was time to move on. The storm in my pants had passed, my belly was full and my brow was dry. I almost made it back to the car when I saw this couple unlocking their bicycles under a tree in front of a wall. I looked a little closer because my eye was drawn into it and my chest was fluttering with intuitive confirmation. I was sure it was a cool shot. I actually waved the boyfriend out of the picture and raised my palm at the woman, in the universal gesture to “stop right there and hold it.” The world was like a moving painting for me to freeze at will. Two complete strangers did as I asked and I grabbed that lady in the shade in front of the wall.
I got in the car with no place to go. I just drove. Sort of thinking I’d head to the Ringling Museum again, but not completely committed to the idea. I decided to go down streets I’d never been down, with no direction or destination in mind. I came to this intersection in the heart of the poorest section in town and saw a big yellow Tube Man painting graffiti on a building.
As I got closer to the building, there were Tube People all over the outside of the building in different positions. One was waving hello. Another was talking on the phone and yet another was holding up the mailbox. All around Sarasota are these stupid Tube People holding up signs as well as being posed in various other positions and as amazing as it sounds, I had stumbled upon the birthplace of the stupid Tube People! Or as the owner puts it… “The Tube Dudes.”
Everyone in Sarasota has seen these things all around town, but no one knows where they come from! I don’t know if it’s a secret location or what, but on this wandering journey, I found the father of the Tube Dude and his showroom. He too was amazingly gracious and invited me to shoot to my heart’s content.
My brain hurt from coming from the crowds at the Public Market to discovering the crowds of Tube People and dogs. And as I snapped the pretty girls in the market, I found some linear lovelies that caught my eye.
I don’t know what the Tube Dude named her, but she was purple… I loved her. I thought about taking her home with me but decided to keep it platonic. That’s when I bumped into her sister. You know what they say about red heads…
I flirted with both the sisters for a while. They both had amazing personalities and despite their different colors, they looked like they came from the same parents. Soon after, it was time for me to go. I noticed a Tube Woman also wearing a red dress and tried to catch the whole crowd waving good-bye to me. I guess this part of the story, “Tube continued…”
I got back in the car and drove up the road to the Ringling Museum. I was thinking about keeping my furry butt cool in the air-conditioned art gallery, but of course never made it there because my memory card ended up filling up shortly after I arrived. But before that happened I managed to get a few stray shots.
It’s kind of hilarious how when I lived in Manhattan, I befriended the squirrels, the rats, and the pigeons. In NYC, one embraces the homeless, the mountains of garbage bags and the never-ending sounds of sirens, car horns and jack hammers. It all becomes routine and almost unnoticed. Same with Lizards and Geckos in Florida. They’re everywhere and they always run across your path or stick their head out as you pass and look at you as if you’ve violated their jungle turf.
Flashes of light burst through bushes and trees to light up the strangest things. In the middle of a black hole, sometimes a splash of color screams out.
And like the squirrels who come out for a nut or the pigeons for some bread, these freak’n lizards poke their heads out as if they are giant alligators ready to chase you down.
It’s like they crawl out of cracks and from under trees and bushes to say, “look at me, my fingers are sticky and I can cling to anything! What can you do chubby camera man?”
They stretch out in the sun and feel the nature of their prehistoric pedigree. “Look at me, I’m related to dinosaurs. Who are you related to pudgy camera boy?”
Just then, I heard a noise from over head and some woody was pounding his pecker into a tree.
It was then that my camera alerted me that the memory card was full. My journey had ended and I tried to dump some old photos to make room for just one more shot. Something to punctuate my day of wander in the red dress. That’s when I saw the lion head on the path.
I always like to end the blog with a clever lion.