Found Objects

I found a photo on the ground yesterday when I was out walking. It was slick with dew, lying adjacent to a lawn with no trash cans in sight and discarded as if it fell out of someone’s pack on the way to the bus stop. Five women were staring up at me, faces aglow with the happiness that comes from what I gathered was a very fun and memorable wedding and neatly labeled on the back with the bride’s name, her mother, and three friends. It was a captured frame of the joy in their moment  and a memory that would likely live on in the minds of these five women forever. The picture certainly had seen its day and was eroding before my eyes. I picked it up carefully and cradled it in my hand, curling it only slightly to maximize the exposure to air so that it could dry. For what purpose I wanted to preserve it, I didn’t know.

I’ll just get this out there now…I’m a pretty nostalgic gal. I like pictures, video, anything to preserve a moment and a good time. I’ve been known to snap photos at most events, capturing  any emotion, and taking pictures of people is by far my favorite hobby. On numerous occasions I’ve grabbed my video camera to preserve a tantrum of one of my kids, mostly to distract, but also to deflect the absurdity in the moment to the silliness that lurks below. It doesn’t always work, but the result is preserved for their own kids to see if the need arises! “Yes, your dad had tantrums too- isn’t that just ridiculous to be crying over the fact that your sister called you a butt?!”

I am my father’s daughter, and like him, photography has always fascinated me. I learned my way around my father’s darkroom by 4th grade, and by 6th grade, I was venturing into my first real enterprise – taking pictures of my teachers, printing up copies and selling them to my friends at school for a quarter. Never mind that the chemicals and paper cost me more than that; it was a great experience in supply and demand for a budding businesswoman. That teacher, one who had taught my older sisters and who was much-loved by many students, was retiring after our year, so the demand for my goods was high!

Unfortunately, thinking about that time also brings up the memory of a few years later, when visiting that teacher, who lived nearby, and who often played his accordion while I joined in on my violin, tried to kiss me on the couch in his living room. His old man smell and bristly unshaven face are now etched in my mind forever instead of that bold, well-loved, handsome man in my photo. What memories we preserve…

By the end of my walk, I had found several other goodies – an elastic rip cord shoelace in decent condition that my son would find a purpose for, and 3 more, very disturbing  items – dog poop in bags, neatly tied, and set along the sidewalk on the grass as if waiting to be picked up by some elusive dog poop picker-upper.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a few pet peeves. Irresponsibility is up there at the top. Intentional irresponsibility is even worse! I don’t have a dog, for many good reasons, (kids who can barely take care of themselves as top on that list), and not because I don’t enjoy them; I have had a good number of dogs in my life whom I’ve loved dearly. Back when I did have them, it was before the time of picking up the poop in public places, but instead, we just resorted to a leash-pull maneuver and coaxing to get the dog to poop in a benign wooded area. While I do understand the inconvenience of capturing and bagging the deed, I don’t understand the absurdity of bagging and deserting it, thus, my need to go back and state the obvious so that this derelict and any others thinking of a copy-cat offense knows that I AM WATCHING!

I clearly realize that the older I get, the less I care about what people think of me. “Crazy old lady” putting up signs next to dog poop is right up there with “crazy old lady who had 40 cats living with her in her car,” but it’s more than that for me. I’m not a “teacher” in any sense of the word but I teach every single day. My classroom may be small, rude  and resentful at times, but I’m hoping that the values I try to instill in my kids will be ones that they can admire and respect me for  someday. If we don’t do it, who will?

By the time I arrived home and set the photo on my counter, I was disappointed to see that the picture had nearly disappeared. The ink-jet printing layer had turned to dust and all but two faces were totally gone. I know, it wasn’t my memory to preserve, but for about an hour, it was mine.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Suz
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 11:16:14

    good one.Love that you are a crazy old woman leaving messages by dog poop. nice.

    Like

    Reply

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