SAMOA OF NOTHING
It’s always the same. Should I take the camera? Shouldn’t I take the camera? There’s never anything out there to shoot.
That’s what I thought this past weekend as I waited for my favorite Italian Market to open. I wandered the streets in this sort of industrial and residential area, knowing for sure there was nothing to shoot. That’s when I stumbled upon the Girl Scout Cookie Warehouse.
I don’t know about you but if I let my mind twist in a certain direction, it could conceive of a plan to break into a Girl Scout Cookie Warehouse and not steal anything, but just grab a case of Samoas, sit on the floor and eat them till the sugar shock made me pass out. Then wake up maybe drink a tall glass of Almond Milk or sip a perfect cup of Espresso or Cappuccino and continue to feast on the gooey treats till I passed out again.
I admit my mind could go in that direction, as it has in the past, but these days I can appreciate without possessing.
I mean when you think about it… where do these cookies come from anyway? They show up at work. They show up outside department stores, grocery stores, parking lots, friends homes… but where do they come from and why is their warehouse location a secret except for the loyal scouts who seem to know where to go to pick up their crack… I mean cookies.
Are they made by aliens and find their way into our bodies under the guise of teenage girls? Thank God Andy Rooney investigated them.
Despite Rooney’s expose on their ingredients and bakers of origin, they still seem mysterious to me. After finding the warehouse just by chance, I offered the workers ridiculous sums of money to buy a box. They just replied with “we don’t accept money at this location sir… you’ll have to buy them from a girl scout.”
Well… it was time to return to the Italian Market, so I left the warehouse as the cars started lining up to pick up their orders.
The adventure at the Italian Market is a story all to itself; the way people race to secure their stool at the coffee bar or how the place gets packed in a matter of minutes after it opens. For me on this day with my camera in hand it seemed to be about odd glimpses and strange faces. I resisted processing the photos and writing the words because of how insignificant it all was.
Then I thought to myself that so much insignificance actually becomes a significantly substantial thing. In other words, nothing really is something.
Like take ravioli for instance. To some they mean nothing. To others these puffy pillows of cheesy delight are heaven’s front door. I guess that makes Samoas heaven’s back door.
Even the people who come to a market like this all look like a feast for the eyes. Colorful saucy souls stirring around a counter drooling in their mind about the drippy mess they will consume later that day. Molten melted cheeses over delicate dough cut in a variety of shapes that all turn into mush once they are consumed. Squeezing shafts of long hot crusty bread and dreaming of smothering it in Oregano wafting red or white juices….
All the shoppers secretly in their mind dreaming of their personal private eating orgies that will be held later… but for now they must remain as if they are just buying meaningless food items.
I once had pasta in Italy that was so good, it instantly disappeared after I put it in my mouth and all that was left was the memory of how it looked and the essence of its flavor.
After leaving the Italian Market I went to visit the huge Saturday Market by the bay in St. Petersburg. A lot more of nothing got found there. Nothing but people and people and more people. Booth after booth of every conceivable consumable.
In my attempt to capture as much nothing as I could, I found myself shooting into the crowd at no one. Naturally what I got was everyone.
Occasionally a canine would cross my path. I just love dogs. Who invented these creatures anyway? I mean really… they come in every shape, size, color, texture and temperament. Clearly another contribution from the extraterrestrials.
There’s always a few clever fund-raisers twisting a naughty phrase into greater awareness for spectacular causes. These ladies definitely knew how to get someone’s attention.
And of course no array of nothing is complete without the requisite fruit and vegetable shot. Who invented these rough skinned, conical orange root tubes? I mean really… how would anyone even discover that a carrot was even edible? And who knew they originated from Afghanistan! Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Soon after recovering from being poked in the eye by hairy roots, I saw another vendor studying a pair of scissors. He was a blade sharpener and he also sharpened scissors. I took so many pictures of this guy as each glance at the scissors seemed to produce a different facial expression. This one was my favorite. Ahhh… if his customers only knew that all they had to do to sharpen scissors was cut some aluminum foil… he’d be outta business pronto.
Then there was this guy. I took a few shots of him because he looked more like a character that would be produced on a television series rather than walking around in real life. Perfectly worn woolen cap on this 75 degree day with just the right political buttons shown off-center on the cap. Dark aviator shades covering most of his Lenny Kravitz/SuperFly face. And the dreds and sport jacket… man this guy was cool.
I wonder how much actual thought went into him putting together his ensemble and how much of it was just casually thrown together?
Then there was this lady. She rode up to the Belgium Waffle booth on a bicycle in order to speak Flemish with the woman running the booth. I ordered a cinnamon waffle from the vendor and as I waited, I stared at this lady’s ring. I wondered about the whole story of who she was and what she looked like when she got married and who she married and what she had to do to get him to marry her.
I wondered why I can’t seem to find a way to get a real Belgium Waffle like the one I once ate in Brugge. I saw that vendor pull a ball of yeasty soupy battery dough out of a bucket and eject the ball from the scooper onto the super hot super old super thick cast iron waffle iron. That waffle was like its mother might have been a waffle but its father was definitely a Pillsbury Dinner roll. I’ve never tasted anything that good in my whole life nor have I been able to find it since.
Rumor is it has something to do with Belgium water being different as well as their butter, cream, eggs and yeast. And their waffle iron costs like $2,500!
Anyway… I thought her ring was pretty magnificent as well.
Some more of nothing includes more dogs. More human than humans, this puff of pup just sat in another women’s bicycle basket and let everyone pet it. Can you imagine a being whose sole purpose on this planet is to let people pet its head?
A few steps away another woman was showing off her little black Chihuahua puppy.
As I left the market a woman with a twisted spine passed me on the street. She was eager to enjoy all the nothing that delights so many people. I imagined her being grateful for just having a twisted spine for it could always be worse. I of course was grateful for so much… even so much of nothing.