Friday, April 23, 2010

Non Conformists Are Often Nuts

“You go ask,” says Sheree. “I’m shooting pictures.”

I look blankly at her. This is not what I had in mind at all.

“You’re the people person,” I remind her. “And you’re naturally cute. YOU should ask.”

“You’re the husband,” she says. “Go.”

My mental referee calls it “Game, Set and Match.” Sheree has played the Husband Card, which actually counts for double, since today is our anniversary.

We are in an auto wrecking yard near Lamont, Alberta. There is a fence with no nonsense barbed wire. It is festooned with “NO TRESSPASSING” signs. The only thing missing from the picture is a hillbilly in an ancient rocking chair with a shotgun across his lap and an inbred dog with yellow teeth, bloodshot eyes and a nasty disposition lying in a puddle of its own drool.

Sheree has decided we are going to shoot here. Geez.

It’s an amazing place. There are over four thousand cars waiting to be chopped and crushed. I am remembering how often movies link gangsters to wrecking yards, and I am thinking about a scene where a would-be informant was crushed alive in his own car as I cross the dusty yard.

The sun is warm on my skin. I love the sun, I think. I am going to miss it after I am dead, trapped in a cube of crushed metal. I sigh.

I open the office door, and peer into the way too dim interior.

“How you doing?” booms a friendly voice from behind the counter. I cross the room and see a blonde guy with a biker’s nap on his head. He’s standing there like he’s been waiting for me and he’s grinning. At me. Maybe I’m not going to die after all…

“Beautiful day,” I observe shrewdly. I am, of course, procrastinating. I am trying to come up with an excuse for why an apparently brain dead photographer ignores all the “NO TRESSPASSING” signs and is standing in an office in the middle of rural Alberta (where a person could, like just disappear…) about to ask if he can take pictures.

“Yup,” the biker guy booms. Again. “You a photographer, huh?”

I nod, not trusting my voice.

“You want to take pictures, huh?”

I nod again. After all – it’s been working for me so far.

“Go ahead,” he says. “We used to get a lot of photographers out here.”

I decide not to ask where the bodies are buried, since he doesn’t seem to be the body burying type. Instead, I thank him and head back out into the sunlight. Sweet sunlight.

Sheree is engrossed in photographing a broken down tractor.

“So?” she asks.

“Well…it took some persuading,” I say shaking my head wearily. I am the Returning Hero. “But I talked them into it.”

She nods, like she expected no less and turns her attention back to the tragic looking tractor she is shooting. I consider telling her the truth about the biker guy and the fact that they are really friendly after all.


So we spent two plus hours of our anniversary together shooting. She goes her way and I go mine and we meet up every once in a while. This seems to fit us way better than a dinner out or a houseful of friends.

I came across these lug nuts on the rusted seat of a tractor. Seizing the opportunity to turn my art to a communication of yet another cosmic truth, I shot this image.

So here it is.

Tuh dum.