Do you ever get criticism for what you do, as though you're doing it wrong? Recently, as typical for me, I had found some free time to enjoy an evening at the Orange Circle in Orange, CA. After a surprise photoshoot I began going over some photos from the past few days and I could hear in my mind some of those voices probing at me.
"What are you doing?!"
During a family outing, I was driving in a certain direction to go back home. Basically, I was taking the long way home after a family dinner. To me, it wasn't so much the long way but the scenic way (Perhaps also the delayed way, but that's a topic for another time). Even after trying to explain it, I was unable to communicate what I could see clearly.
A Certain Way
Whether it's really along the way or not, I often drive through the Orange Circle as a sort of end of my day loop. Years ago I began to dwell there in a way, with my camera, in hopes to capture the daily life of the place. I wanted to become a fixture in a sense, in a place I completely enjoy. From homeless folks, fountain swimmers, food, street musicians, weirdos, sunlight, to my own shadow, I enjoy being there. Sometimes I even show up without my camera, which is a rarity on my part to just breathe.
The other day was no different. After working at the library I again drove through the Circle to see what was going on. It was a Wednesday and in the center I could see the weekly Veteran's flag lowering ceremony. If you ever drive by wondering, they read off names of recently deceased service men and women of our military. They announce community events, share stories, and then lower the flag in unison. I'm not the most patriotic of people, but it's a very touching time.
Not long after, I was driving through the Circle again. Over the years it's gotten more crowded and parking is a problem, so I get picky about stopping. Well I was driving through and felt it was too crowded to park, but then I saw a skeleton standing on a street corner playing a guitar. Oddballs count as interesting and amazingly I found a parking spot right away.
Walking up to him he began playing while standing and jumping from a fire-hydrant. He then started taking requests and we started swapping stories about favorite rockabilly musicians. He has a band called the Rockabilly Rats and they are working on a new album, soon to tour the US and Europe. From my original thought he's a weirdo on the street corner, turns out he's pretty nice guy and I hope his band does well.
Same Vein, Different Spectrum
While hiding in some late afternoon shade, ice cream was melting in my hand as I ate it. As the air started to cool, I saw a lady dragging a large case. It was an upright bass. Watching where she was going, she joined a lady with a fiddle and another lady with a mandolin. They joined up with some guitars and started busting out some bluegrass. A Johnny Cash tune drew me in.
Where I Go
Turning around from the bluegrass group, I walked by a tree and nearly stumbled over what's important. I found a lady sleeping on the grass. I don't know if she's homeless or what her story is, but I gathered most non-homeless people don't sleep alone on the grass in a public area. Or hey, maybe they do? Anyways, again, I didn't know her story nor did I get to find out more, but it always strikes me in the midst of people smiling and having a good time, there's a daughter alone like this. Maybe she enjoys being alone and sleeping on the grass, but maybe she'd rather be in a family?
I don't know. I hope I didn't violate her personal space by making a picture, but it was in hopes to share the importance of taking the time to notice those off to the side. Ya never know who you'll meet, from the skeleton dude to a lady sitting alone.