Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And Another Thing!

The only saving grace about the Really Big Store we visited on Sunday is it’s in a funky working class neighborhood instead of Stepford and the people watching was fabulous. As you will recall from my last exciting installment, we were well caffeinated so my monkey brain was working like a monkey brain on crack. Before we left the house that morning I almost picked up the camera so I could take pictures of cute dogs and flowers in our favorite ‘hood. It’s probably better that I didn’t have the camera because I would have made an ass out of myself taking pictures of the characters in front of the store.

Two guys were standing with us each wearing work stained clothes and beat up shoes. A Raymond Carver story ready to happen. One guy walked with a cane and had an anchor tattoo on the inner part of his lower right forearm. It was a bad tattoo, not jailhouse bad but bad just the same. I was pretty surprised he didn’t have a Vet’s cap on because he had the look of a Vietnam vet who’s life had beat the crap out of him of him but he was standing up and ready to take more. That is more, just after he bought a case of glass cleaner.

Intense Chinese guy brushed passed us as we approached the store, all upset that it didn’t open for twenty minutes. Twenty minutes!! If he had had pearls to clutch he would have snapped them off his neck. Which would have been ok because he could replace them after he picked up a box of onions.

Just after the Carver characters joined our little Warehouse family, a very large man with a braid down his back rolled into the parking lot riding a pimped out Harley. This guy’s soundtrack must be Born To Be Wild. He had the leather saddle bags festooned with studs, the raised chopper handlebars with festive leather tassels that looked just like the sparkly pink and purple one’s we would beg for when we pimped out our banana seated bikes back in the ‘70s. As I watched him swing into a parking place and dismount from his bike, I wondered how he was going to get a big screen T.V. and a box of ramen home on his bike.

Just before the store opened a family joined the queue. He was scrubbed within an inch of his life wearing a freshly laundered (you could smell the Downy) pearl snapped Western shirt, clean wranglers and the most fascinating cowboy boots I’ve ever seen: pointed toe red and white harlequin patterned painted faux ostrich leather. The only reason I knew this guy wasn’t the grooviest hipster in a band was because his skin was hardened by the sun and the wind. And he was speaking Spanish. Hipsters probably only speak French to one another or if they are feeling ironic, Pig Latin. As it was he is probably the most secure man on the planet to wear such boots. Thirty years ago, those boots would have been my Punk Rock statement and I would have worked them with my aqua bowling shirt, black mini skirt and sporty mullet. I’m still thinking about those boots. In fact, just last night me and TG sighed all over the idea of such boots. Meanwhile the woman with him had a Walk of Shame outfit on: skinny jeans, spangly top, teetering sparkly metallic sandals and accessorized this outfit with a toddler. But I don’t think she was walking the walk. I think she got up out of bed an hour or so before they left the house and put that outfit on selected from her closet and not from the bedroom floor. They were standing close to one another in the intimate repose of family as they passed the baby back and forth so their feet were close together and the juxtaposition of their shoes so unalike but standing so close together was suprising and beautiful. It would have been a wonderful picture.

Which lead me on a thought tangent of how I’m pretty shy about taking people’s pictures. I’ve lucked into some really beautiful people pictures and as time goes on, I am increasingly bold about pointing my camera at people. But how would I ask to take a picture of their shoes? “Excuse me but your footwear is extremely ironic, can I photograph you? Or “Excuse me but your boots are very unusual and your wife’s sandals are not quite what I would wear on a Sunday morning at a grocery store, can I take your picture?” I could lie and tell them I was in school working on a photo project. I could also tell them the truth: I was a freak on too much coffee and so their footwear was infinitely interesting at that moment.

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