Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 16 2005

The weather’s been stunningly clear all week. The …

The weather’s been stunningly clear all week. The light is gorgeous and every day, just before the sun sets, the city ripe for gigabytes worth of amazing photography. Ordinary bland scenes and locations are sidelit with golden rays at just the right angle, and the light scatters around, bouncing off every shiny object and creating unique shadows. As fall is my favorite season, the time just before dusk is my favorite time of day.

And every day at this time I am in my little office, looking out the window occasionally, watching the photos pop up on Flickr, photos taken by people less occupied than I am, apparently, or who have the will to take off from work to take advantage of the light. Sometimes I bring my camera with me, in the vague hope that I’ll get everything done in record time and be out the door before sunset, but it hasn’t happened yet. Most days I don’t bring my big camera, relying on my little one if I happen to come across a good shot. But usually all I have when I get on the subway home in the dark is a headache from staring at the computer screen too intensely, trying to get everything all done. But it’s a new system and it always takes longer than expected to finish.

It’s not helping, or maybe it is, that I’m reading another travel book by Paul Theroux, the one about his journey among the various islands of the Pacific Ocean. I read these books in place of actual travel, tied down as I am at the moment (the moment! Who am I kidding? “tied down for these few years” is more like it) with the film I’m working on. I read Theroux, or Bryson, or some other travel writer to get my fix, but it’s like substituting Internet pr0n for actual sex; you can get by on it, but it doesn’t really satisfy. But it’s what I can do now, so it’s what I do. I carry a book in my backpack to read on the subway, if I can find a seat at rush hour, which isn’t terribly likely. The names of the various stations, the announcements concerning where to get off for that and that line, have become annoyingly, terribly familiar. I plug my ears with earphones even though my iRiver is silent, just to block out what seems like a song stuck on repeat.

One night recently, on my way into the subway, a girl walking by asked me to do translation for her. Out of the blue, she just held up a report in English and said, “Will you translate this for me?” Needless to say, her cute smile and efforts to look 14 when she was clearly in her 20s didn’t exactly bowl me over as she was expecting. I thought of making a big deal of it, but I was too tired and disappointed at the days’ lack of good pictures.

“I’m not a translator,” I said, and started to walk away.

“But it’s just a short report!” she called out after me. I kept walking, my head filled with weather reports.

posted by Poagao at 3:22 pm  

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