Friday, September 6, 2019
Wherever I go, there I am
I took these photos a while back and couldn't decide which frame I liked better, the one with the woman's face hidden, or the one in which it is visible. In the first, the man looks as he might in a Norman Rockwell painting, the way he's bent over, his expression, but I like seeing the woman's face, too. We were at a rooftop bar downtown with a spectacular 360 degree view of the city. I thought I was shooting the skyline, but was struck by the different realities coexisting in the foreground of the picture, separated by a thin pane of glass. The couple outside seems lighthearted and touristy, engaged with each other and the world, while the man inside seems lost in dark thoughts, as if he carries a great weight on his polo-clad shoulders. He looks privileged, yet so unhappy. Such burdens we humans bear. Mine are perhaps less weighty in this moment, at least in the foreground (there's still a painful situation playing out in the background, at a distance, which doesn't help). It's Friday. I'm at loose ends. I don't start back working on the book till the end of the month, when the team is supposed to meet in DC to debrief on editors' responses to the proposal and come up with guiding principles for the narrative. Why can't I ever decide what to do with myself in these work lulls? I realize it's a gift to have a whole month to do with as I please, and what am I doing? Not much at all. I'm kind of sick of myself actually. I feel like the brooding man inside, privileged in my own way, yet unable to unwrap the gift. What I really need is to become like the couple outside, engaged, sunlit, free.