Is This You? Pictures and people
I don’t have an aversion to people. I rather like talking to people. Learn what makes them tick and what, you know, clicks their clock. For instance: When I turned the corner leaving the produce department and entering the Mexican food aisle in the grocery store, I saw a woman holding two different cans of some sort of Mexican soup, looking like she was trying to decide which one to buy. Well I, of course, asked which one she liked best thinking she must know something that I didn’t know. Some cosmic secret of Mexican soup donning a label that I couldn’t read. There must be something spectacular in that can. Right? Well, I still don’t know. She looked at me quizzically and said something like, “No Anglash.”
I gave it a second try. You know, pointed at one can, then the other, and said something like, “Buena y mucho buena?” She gave me a sideway smile, put the cans back on the shelf and then she herself backed away, gathering her three children as she did so. Guess neither soup was good, huh? So I grabbed a package of crunchy tortilla shells and went on my way.
Now I tell you that little story to remind you, and me, that just because there’s someone doing something you want to know about, well, that doesn’t open a door letting you and your nose into their world. Or does it? I have a hard time with this as I’m a most curious person. So what’s a way to be a part of the life of another person’s world without them feeling like they need to call 911? How about through pictures? Sure, there are vacation pictures. Anyone who has sat through a few hours of a relatives’ vacation picture shows just shuddered. Me too. But those pictures are precious — believe me here because I just went through a trunk full of pictures of my other half’s life to put some of them up at his memorial. But more than that, if you really want to know what interests and draws someone into something, look at the pictures they take. Some are absolutely amazing.
There’s a gathering every year of pictorial learning and review in Winnemucca. It’s called Shooting the West. The gathering draws from far and near all manner of photo-gluttons. Picture-takers extraordinaire. Those who have “that eye.” Where I see pink and blue and some purple when the sun sets, “that eye” sees what has been there, what’s happening now and what is yet to come — all at once. That’s something to see and you can see it when you look at these photographers’ works.
At our county fair there are a group of people who spend the year taking pictures and then display them. The good ones, the really good ones, have the ability to draw me in. I can smell the horse as the rider pulls up on the reins and dust goes flying as the calf bucks. I can hear the squeal of the kids as they try to wash the dog and Sir Barks-a-Lot starts to shake as soap and water sprays throwing diamond droplets into the air. That’s picture taking.
Then there are the vistas. Where up-close is the flower but faraway is the bird, on the crooked time-worn fence post, spreading its wings, drying and cooling off in the hot summer air. Both in the same snap. That’s picture taking.
So when I say I want to get to know someone I meet, I want to see what they see, feel what they feel. Not, of course, to the degree of being too assertive. I mean that’s just a tad bit on the weird side. Can you imagine saying, “Pardon me, sir or madam, but would you mind if I cling to you like Saran wrap on a hot day?” That is a bit too close for comfort. But just aware enough to enjoy what they see or do and to take the biggest step of all … complement them on their talent or choice of whatever they were doing that drew you into their world.
Ah, yes, the complement. That flattery that everyone sucks up and swallows whole. Like an entire spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough — you take it in, let it slowly melt as you enjoy the sweetness of it and it becomes part of you forever. Whether you give or get a complement, remember it’s truly a reflection of yourself. Yeah, think about that when you say, “Wow, great picture!”
Oh, and I gotta learn Spanish so I can read the label and see what is so special about that Mexican soup. How do you say “bon appetit” in Spanish?
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!