Everything stops cold in summer. The flow of life seems to lazily drift to a halt, like a boat that runs out of gas. I find it frustrating. It takes twice the effort to get anything done in this season because we push against an invisible force of resistance. Except for the Jersey Shore I've always felt that summer is way overrated. Once it begins I start to count the days until golden light of autumn.
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If I had no calendar I’d gauge my seasons by the rising sun. It seems to be better way to do things anyway. Humans are always screwing around with calendars and time and making a mess of them. Twice per year we think we’re very clever to move our clocks back or forth in the interest of “saving” daylight. It’s a ridiculous notion that does nothing but make everyone cranky on the two Sunday mornings after this feeble attempt of sorcery. Calendars and clocks cause a lot of anxiety in this world. We’d all be better off just paying attention to the sun.
Along San Francisco’s Embarcadero is an old food joint called Red’s Java House. It’s been there forever. Back in my youth I could get a double hotdog there for about a buck. So, I went there a lot. I’d walk from my South-of-Market office down to the waterfront for my hotdog—a long way for a lunch break. The double dog is now almost $6.00 but it’s been about thirty years since I first found the place. But, less than six bucks for a double dog wrapped in a sourdough roll still seems like a good deal to me.
It was one of those deep sleeps that is rare for me these days. I awoke not quite knowing where I was. Moving my eyes from side to side, I sat up. The ambient noise of a Monday morning told me that the rest of the world was already doing its thing. That meant that I had to get up. Planting my feet upon the floor, my grogginess slowly gave way to a nagging, low-level grumpiness.
I love photography but walking around with a camera is hardly a comfortable thing. It's starting to cause a tingling feeling in my upper shoulder. The damned shoulder strap, made of some puny, little, sponge pad digs into the nook that forms the junction between neck and shoulder. I think its starting to create a permanent ridge.
Summer is a season that makes me want to hide. I cannot seem to escape a sun that is now high and white. And bright. For someone who lives in the shadow, the brightness is almost debilitating. I have come to embrace my hypersensitivity to light and to use it as part of my artistic process. While high noon on a summer day can make for intensely boring photos, there is a searing saturation to the images of summer that I often like.
A bucolic path filled with the scent of jasmine—the old rail path is dotted with mothers and their strollers. A leaf blower in the distance says its time for the neighbors to keep up appearances and pick up debris. We wouldn't want to seem unseemly in this little spot of paradise. What would the neighbors think? It's another day in suburbia, the morning working its way into midday.
Creativity is like a fickle lover. Just when you think you have it figured out you realize you know nothing about it at all. It's like waking up to an empty bed after a night of passion. Creativity comes and goes according to its own agenda. We are nothing more than conduits. The best we can do is show up for it. We certainly cannot control it.
I rubbed my sandpaper eyes. I realized that I forgot to blink—for about an hour. Deep into the development of my new web site I began to wonder. Were we humans really meant to co-exist with computers? PHP, CSS, HTML, FTP...blah, blah, blah. After my fifteenth phone call to tech support I rubbed my sandpaper eyes. I forgot to blink.
Suburbia. It feels like a dream in which a towering mountain of wet wool buries my sorry soul deep within it. In that dream I poke my head out of the suffocating mass of animal fur. I am nearly decapitated by a black SUV as it rushes past me. Some crazed woman is taking her child to piano lessons...and she's running late. Welcome to my suburban postcard from hell.