Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The "Stupid" Pictures

The "Stupid" Pictures
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

They say that three times is a charm.

They, whomever they are, are right. For last night I was stopped by a cop for the third time…but this time I received more than merely a reprimand.

Albeit, I actually received less than a citation, my brother-in-law the detective will now know, as well as the entire family for that matter, that I broke the law.

Apparently, as the stern policeman put it, I had “crossed the white line for a ‘stupid picture.’”

It was a quarter before midnight and I was picking up my mother and my aunt from the airport. Their flight was not scheduled to arrive for another twenty minutes, so I decided to kill some time by pulling off to the side of the road in the back roads service area of Newark International to take some pictures, far away from the terminals and pedestrians and any suggestion that I might be posing a threat to national security.

Moreover, there were people parked to the sides of the roads all over the place. With the increased security, no one is allowed to stop for more than a few minutes to immediately pick up passengers in front of the baggage claims, so now people have turned to waiting on the shoulders.

Point being, I thought I would be safe from suspicion or harassment by going away from the real hustle and bustle. Alas, I was wrong again.

Moreover, beyond the boredom, I was also feeling a bit nostalgic. When I was growing up, San Jose (California) was all but a rinky-dinky town (Silicon Valley was all but a twinkle in the eyes of pioneers like Gordon Moore, Steve Jobs, William Hewlett and David Packard) and you could still park directly in front of the end of the single runway that served the airport to watch the planes take off and land, all of them passing closely and loudly directly overhead. It was a cheap form of entertainment, and so my parents would take me on occasion, on a Friday night, and we would just sit there for a while watching the planes go by.

I cherish simple moments like that, and so I was hoping to find a little of that last night. Alas, alas, alas, the world has changed.

Nonetheless, even though I was well aware that my innocent intentions would be suspect, once I spotted the Budweiser Beer Factory glowing in the distance, I figured it might prove a nice backdrop against the streaks of light I would get from the cars on the highway that divided the airport from the brewery.

A few minutes after pulling over however, the patorlman pulled up alongside me and asked what I was doing. I responded in the most obsequious and apologietic tone possible and told him that I was taking time-lapsed photos, immediately showing him via the LCD.

He was neither amused and didn’t buy my story, and so he asked for the camera, my license, insruance card, and car registration. I complied and added the magical get-out-of-jail free card, the blessed PBA card to the mix.

He sternly replied, “Get in your car while I check things out.” I got into my car and placed both hands on the steering wheel and waited.

A few minutes later he stepped up to my window, handed me back everything (almost) and chastised me by saying with a patronizing tone, “Well it all checks out, but I got you for crossing the white line and riding over the sidewalk. And so I’m keeping the PBA card. You shouldn’t have crossed the line for a ‘stupid’ picture.”

I merely nodded tight-lipped and said “thank you” in reply.

After he left, I noted “the white line” on the right side of the road, dividing it from the shoulder. I just took his word for it, but until then I was not aware that crossing such a line was illegal. There were no signs to indicate this and usually the uncrossable white line is in the middle of the road parting traffic. Plus his “sidewalk” looked more like an extra-wide curb along side a long strip of dry yellow grass, which so happened to also dip just like a driveway at the point where I entered.

Anyway, either way, I was busted…and all for a “stupid picture.” I guess what Forrest said is right, “Stupid is, what stupid does.”

Actually, ironically, the truly stupid and irresponsible photos were the few dozen or so snaps I took from the steering wheel while driving 60 miles an hour on the way to the airport.

Once again ennui is to blame. Apparently, being bored and being two hours past my usual bedtime is a bad combination.

Note: the glowing malformed white orb hanging above many of the photos is the crazy-quarter moon. So, maybe it was the moon that made me do it!

“It is fortunate that the muting of exuberance is neither rapid nor absolute. Youth is, after all, a time to fly and fall on enthusiasm, to act with audacity. The world of the young is meant for scuttling about and, as we have seen, nature gives the time and means for this. Evolution invests heavily in the child’s long days of eager adventure, reaping its returns in the adult’s more informed sallyings forth of mind and body. But youth does it first and with greater abandon. This is the time, as Robert Louis Stevenson has it, to go “flashing from on end of the world to the other.” It is a rash and full and delighting time.”

~ Exuberance, The Passion for Life, Kay Redfield Jamison

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