Friday, May 04, 2007

Old Man

Today is Sugar Daddy's birthday, his 35th. Those multiples of five seem pretty important, for some reason, and I'm feeling some pressure to mark this occasion with something special. When I stop to think about it, though, I find prime numbers much more intriguing and significant than multiples of five. I mean, multiples of five are so predictable. Perhaps I am on my way to rationalizing myself right out of that self-imposed pressure to make this birthday special.

I forgot to wish him a happy birthday this morning. I remembered in bed when Swee'pea's no longer too-hot hands started lifting up my shirt for his morning nibbles, but Sugar Daddy got up at 5 this morning. And, after two nights of sleeping (of course there wasn't much actual sleeping going on but you get the idea) next to a feverish uncomfortable toddler whose busy tentacle-hands seemed intent on finding some point of entry back into my body, away from the discomfort of his own skin, when Swee'pea fell back to sleep this morning, so did I. When I woke up the second time, Sugar Daddy's birthday had flown completely from my mind.

(By the way, Swee'pea's had a fever that comes and goes for the last two days. He has no other symptoms, no cough, no vomiting, no diarrhea, no snotty nose, no rash. He has, however, been stuffing his hands into his mouth nearly constantly... I know the medical world says teething doesn't cause fevers, and so does most of the web, but has anyone had kids who developed fevers right around the time they were working on their first molars PLUS a few in front, I think?)

This morning Swee'pea and I went downtown in search of birthday-type supplies. I got stuff for a cake, and a card but apart from that, I mostly did selfish things... looking for books at the library (what do you do if you don't want to buy a book, but your local library doesn't have it?), where this sign made me sad;

sad sign at the library

stopping in at a massive moving sale at our local shoe boutique (sadly no dice there because of the phenomenon nomo observed recently) and snapping pics to remind Sugar Daddy to do something for me for Mother's Day.


(I also noticed an attempt at gentrification...


... a nice contrast to hearing a middle-age woman vomit just behind me and to the side during my second walk of the day when I couldn't get Swee'pea to sleep in the crib. [He also didn't sleep in the stroller... grrr] At least I think she vomited... there was a splash of a lot of liquid hitting the ground and spitting sounds and a woman's voice saying, "I TOLD you I wasn't... [didn't catch the rest but couldn't help thinking it was "feeling well," or "into drinking that"]...)

I also photographed an old man. I recognized him a week or so ago, recognized his icy blue eyes, a colour minty gum marketers would kill for. I remember him from some years back - I don't know whether it's 3 or 10 years ago. It was definitely before I got pregnant because I think I was drunk. It was around the same time of year, one of the first evenings when the sinking sun doesn't pull the temperature down with it, when we're still revelling in our liberation from the weight of winter clothes, an evening to enjoy a pint on a darkening patio and the novelty of mild night air on bare skin. Anyways, I think he was drunk too. I think he might have had a guitar and might have serenaded me or the woman I was with. Besides his eyes, more than anything I remember his whimsical suede turqoise cowboy hat complete with feather.

Today I saw him crossing the street down the way from me. I changed my direction and sped up with plans to somehow capture him with my camera. But I coulnd't make it work. I started to continue in a different direction, but the fat turqoise pinky ring and carved walking stick that he wasn't using to help him walk wiggled into my consciousness and I couldn't let him go. I followed him until I could overtake him, then stopped and asked for a picture. I mentioned I liked his ring, and he said, "Oh then you'd like a picture with it in it too," and posed appropriately. I think it's neat that he didn't want to look into the camera, but up and to the side, like he's contemplating something important.

I shot several shots, recomposing, reframing and refocusing. He asked, "How long do I have to hold this position?" I laughed... as long as you like, it doesn't matter.

I decided I'd better stop before he cramped.

He said his daughter has almost the same colour of hair as me. "She's fifty... where does the time go? Heck, I'm gonna be 80 in July. I don't feel it!" We parted, wondering where the time has gone.

Now that I'm working with the photo and have discovered his bright eyes lost in the deep shadow of his hat, I make a mental note to try a bit of fill flash next time I'm trying to make a portrait on a bright sunny day. Sadly, I don't think there's anything I can do to make this image work the way I wanted it to.



Aliki2006 said...

Oh but I love the image! I know his eyes are in the shadow, but there's something so compelling about the photo. You know, in case I haven't mentioned this before, if you ever put all your photos together in a book you know you have to send me one of the first copies, right? I would love to get my hands on all the pics together--something so haunting about the photos you take.

Ok--I'm done gushing. Happy b-day to your husband!

Mouse said...

Scooter definitely ran a faver (and got a snotty nose) when he teethed. And the molars were the worst and took the longest to come in. (How's that for comfort?) But Trillian reminded me that we used to get a gel from Whole Foods that worked really well. We would put it on a cotton swab so we could get it as far back as possible. I remember him falling asleep within minutes one of the times we tried it on him; he'd been howling in pain for a very long time.

Just looked the gel up--it's a homeopathic remedy from Hyland's. They also have a melting tablet form.

Beck said...

The shadow makes him look mysterious.
And 35 doesn't make one OLD. Thirty five is a baby, a nice youthful age that I may or may not be turning this summer.

Mimi said...

I am unsightly. Remove me. That's awesome.

For the photo: maybe a reflector rather than a fill flash? The daylight is so nice and flash is so harsh. Piece of white cardboard would do, right?

Mad Hatter said...

Now I am wishing you had taken pictures of us last weekend.

Happy b-day, SD.

slouching mom said...

I like the photo even with the shadows...

I can see why you wanted him as a subject.

Mary G said...

One of the daughters *always* spiked up a fever when teething. My doctor did not believe this even when she did it in his office. Sigh
Re photo. Nice! What kind of a photo editor do you have? If you have any kind of photopaint program, you can masque copy and repaste, which will deepen the colour, and do a red-eye type edit on the eyes to pick up the colour. I always use a red eye reduction setting on the flash when doing portraits in the sun.
What a cool dude. I like the way you have positioned him, too.

Sandra said...

I love your photos and espeically the last one.

Happy birthday Mr. Sin!!

jen said...

sister, the way you tell a tale through photos is an art. i loved the signs, the stops along your way.

and that picture of your new old friend is really terrific.

Oh, The Joys said...

It's true - the last photo is just brilliant.

Happy Birthday to your man!