I like to take my camera with me everywhere I go. I am rarely without it and I’m starting to personify it to the point that I’m getting concerned. My Nikon D60 has practically achieved family dog status.
But, sometimes, I don’t carry it with me. Usually, because I forget. And, these are always the times that I miss getting to take the best pictures. On Sunday, as we were leaving church, we drove down 16th Street, and there in the morning sun, strolling down the sidewalk were two people wheeling a rack of colorful costumes, tulle and satin blowing in the wind. They were entering the Lyric Theater. I might live my entire life and never see such a beautiful site again. This is how my mind works. I missed it and so you missed it. The best pictures are never the ones we plan or can anticipate.
Last week, when I took the pictures of the Mexican Mural highlighting the Stations of the Cross, I also took the above picture. It’s also on SW 25th Street west of Western Avenue. It’s quite the happy tree, don’t you think? Even if it is sticking its tongue out at me.
I have this insatiable curiosity about Oklahoma City’s neighborhoods. I love driving through them, people watching, gathering information — for what, I don’t know. A few weeks ago, while driving through Classen-Ten-Penn, a guy solicited me. He was with a couple of his friends and noticing that my jeep and I were a bit out of place, he called out to me and told me he was for sale. Then I did something that would scare my mother and husband to death. I stopped my jeep and yelled back at him, “No, you’re not. You’re priceless.”
He didn’t have a comeback, and there in the momentary air lingered an embarrassing discomfort between us.
I learn a lot driving through neighborhoods. I learn about peoples’ hopes and dreams. I see how both the rich and the poor spend their money. I learn about peoples’ priorities. I see pride in the colors people choose to paint their house trim. I see the loss of hope in broken mortar, windows and roofs in disrepair.
In poor neighborhoods, I see people walking, children playing in the street. In affluent neighborhoods I see divorced men trimming their bushes. I think they’re hoping to meet someone while they do this, but it doesn’t ever happen that way. Everywhere, I see some rebuilding and some tearing down.
Neighborhoods tell a lot of stories. I listen, but sometimes, I can’t make out what they’re saying. I think that’s why I take a lot of pictures. I’m trying to figure out what everyone is saying so I’ll be able to understand how people live.