Yesterday was a beautiful, bittersweet day. I crossed the Coronado Bridge and went into Balboa Park for the day. The park is home to the San Diego Zoo and about fifteen different museums and goofy places. The park is spacious and well groomed and parking is free and everywhere there are little knots of families walking with their children, parents pushing strollers, and lovers holding hands. It filled up my stupid little heart with joy and tender longing, and it made my loneliness flare like pushing on a sore tooth with my tongue.
A couple obviously on their second or third wedding were having their pictures made (how my Grandma would say it) in the park. They sat on a bench under a cherry tree, the white blossoms falling over them like paper snow, their faces lit in the glow of the reflector held off to the side by the photographer’s sad Asian assistant. His tux black and shiny as coal, her dress white and lace and overstressed by her giant tits.
I thought it was sweet. In a kind of desperate and sad way.
I loved the Museum of Art. I got to see Annie Liebowitz’s show, which was made for me on the strength of about twenty of the three hundred or so images. One of the things I read in there that stuck in my chest like an arrow was what she said about the difference between herself and Avedon, how he could talk to people as he shot them, and that interaction would make them come alive for him, and for everyone who sees the photo later, but she couldn’t do that, she could only seewhat was happening and that took all she had, or , rather, was the only way she interacts with the world. And how she knew she should try to talk to her kids, interact with them, but really, all she wanted to do was to just look and look.
In the Model Railroad Museum down in the basement of one of the Spanish style buildings, dozens of old men in windbreakers and Sante Fe RR hats worked in the tracks, standing grim faced in the center of tiny towns and hillsides like sad, distracted giants overlooking a thousand little plastic people frozen in the act of changing a tire or walking out of the depot or waving to their children in the plastic grass yards. And they muttered about side tracks and fritzy controls and extending the pass-through next weekend.
A world within a world within a world.
Throughout the day I just looked. Like Annie L. Took it all in. When I am with my wife each small moment of discovery gets amplified and polished when we share it, turning over in our hands, treasuring it. Without her I felt just like I was tossing jewels and gold into an empty, dark pit. Where they fell without a sound and were swallowed by the gloom.
When I got home I did laundry and watched Tom Hanks in Castaway.
“I’m SORRY, Wilson!”
One of the saddest moments in Tom Hank’s filmdom.
Maybe this being alone is going to make something happen inside me.
Maybe something is being wrought.
Maybe, maybe not.
Listen, I want to say thanks for stopping by. It’s really good to know that you are out there, that there is someone with a can on the other end of the string. Even if I can’t see you.
The tiny string vibrates with your presence.