"Mark!"—my father always bellowed my name—"You could get run over by a car crossing the street. When your number is up, it's up." He was one of the few people I've ever known who could be a fatalist and optimist at the same time. In this case, despite his lecturing tone, he was mostly trying to be an optimist. That kind of talk, however, never made me feel very hopeful.
They say that your parents' admonitions play in your head like a magnetic-tape loop. Over and over and over and over. "Do this, don't do that. This is the way the world works, blah, blah, blah." I don't know if that's true but I do know that I hear my father's voice whenever I cross the road, especially a busy one.
In California drivers are supposed to stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. Most do. But a few like to go as fast as they can and stop at the very last moment—a game of chicken with the pedestrian. Sometimes I see that happen and just stare. Could this mean that my number is up? So far, the driver has always stopped. But my father said…
Lately I've been photographing my experience in the crosswalk. I point the camera at the cars from waist level and click away in rapid-fire mode. I want to capture that moment of vulnerability as a two-ton body of steel confronts a 200-pound body of flesh. I figure it will someday result in a body of work. And if one day, my number really is up, my last photo ever will quite a shot.