My friends put out a new video awhile back.
listening to music
Maybe you’ve heard the Smashing Pumpkins song and will get the reference in the post title. Maybe you won’t. It doesn’t really matter. But last night, I took this photograph — well, these nine photographs. And it’s one of these photos that I can’t stop looking at. The light on the left and the impending darkness on the right. The beautiful palette in-between.
I’m heading home soon. Back to Oakland, back to work, back to an America that voted for Trump. And maybe I’m the pessimist, but I think I’m going to need to look at this photo a lot in the coming years. I think things are going to get dark and ugly and frankly, I’m preparing for the worst. And I’m trying to remember that I’m not a coward, that just because I have the money to live here and wait it out doesn’t mean I should. In fact, it probably means I shouldn’t.
Sarah Kendzior says that we should write down our memories (among other things) now, because the coming years might make us forget. This photo might very well represent my good and beautiful life up until 2016. I want to hold on to it.
And the song says: Is it bright where you are
And the song says: Have the people changed
The answer to both of those questions — now, in this moment — is a resounding N0.
Throughout the entirety of my life, the view I take in has always seemed slightly off. Even in this photo, the buildings angle in strange ways, the yellow stripe is off-kilter; and yes, it was the wide-angle lens, but it was also the perspective I believed most worth capturing — mostly shadow, a little light — angles. The feeling of emptiness in a city that is far from empty.
When I played guitar during my youth, I could never keep a beat. I still can’t. I never noticed until I was in college when I tried to record a song for the first time and my dear friend, who plays guitar for a living, looked at me like I was crazy. Even now, if you catch me thumping my foot to a song, listen long enough and I’ll fall off.
Thinking back further, growing up in church, when we clapped for Jesus, my clapping would, without fail, fall away from the clapping of others around me.
It’s always been a problem.
Like with anything in my life, I try to ascertain what this small eccentricity means. The short answer is, I don’t know. And this used to bother me. I wanted to strum a guitar right, clap right, find the centered perspective of a photograph.
Then again, maybe it was never supposed to be that way. Not even the Earth rotates around the sun in a perfect circle.