Sunday, May 2, 2010

Never forget...

Yeah, I know. I've been seriously slackin' on the Blog front, but it's not as if I've been off counting dust motes. For one, I had some Motor Doll bloggin' to do over on the MD site, you know, motor-related stuff after a busy, super-fun-motor-weekend a while back. Don't believe me? Go check it out.

Plus, I've been workin' on the Winslow building (newly named the WINSLOW MOTOR PALACE). We went there last weekend for the first time as owners--scary, but oh so cool. We put together plans for our "motel room" in the mudroom/shanty off the main building. Sounds charming, eh? Really... it is. I just like the word shanty. And our contractor likes the word mudroom. It's an East-Coast thing. Anyway...

Of course, I could have sneaked in time to write about my daily news stories (what this blog is supposed to be about, right?) but frankly, couldn't get motivated. The stories haven't been at all inspiring. I did an entire week on the federal appliance rebate. All week, pictures of washers and dryers and refrigerators--oh my! Write about that? I don't think so.

And... oh yeah! My house was burglarized. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say knowing someone came into your home and took things you worked hard to buy, stinks. Most of the stuff they stole insurance will cover and can be replaced. One thing for me, though, can't.

For those of you who've read MOTOR DOLLS, you know Benny gets thrown for a loop when her camera gear is stolen, not because she can't go buy new ones, but because the memories evoked from each camera are irreplaceable. The camera stolen from me wasn't particularly sentimental, and because it's no longer made, I got an upgrade as a replacement (thanks, super-cool-and-mega-swell-Richard. See? I mentioned you in my blog. Happy now?).  What really tweaked me was my camera strap. Yep. The strap.

When I was thirteen, I borrowed my dad's SLR to get some shots for a magazine put together by my AP English class. My subject? Arcosanti, an experimental town in the middle of the Arizona desert. I shot two rolls of black-and-white and fell in love with the process and how life looked through a viewfinder. Because I'd developed such a passion (and borrowed my dad's camera way too often) my parents bought me my own, a used Pentax K1000, with a "professional" looking camera strap, much like the one in the picture here. I felt so hip and cool with my bitchin' strap. A couple years after I got the camera, my brother's dog, Red, knocked over my tripod with the Pentax, splitting the body. The only thing salvagable was the strap.

Over the years, I moved that silly strap from camera to camera. It didn't feel like "my" camera unless it wore that strap. When I realized my camera had been taken in the burglary, my first thought was the strap. They stole a piece of my photographic history that can never be replaced.

How did I respond? I kinda took a time-out on life, which is why I haven't kept up on this blog. I felt  zapped but couldn't completely explain why. Yes, work kept me insanely busy. Yes, I felt overloaded. Yes, the theft bummed me out. But totally checking out didn't fit me.

About a week after the theft (while doing yet another ridiculous appliance story) I met a very interesting man: A sixty-something out of work construction inspector living in a Hollywood Hills apartment.  He'd taken advantage of the rebate program and was waiting for his new washing machine to be delivered--and we planned to be there to capture the moment. Of course, the delivery truck was late. Really late. In fact, we had to leave before it arrived in order to make our air slot. While waiting, we stood around and talked. He said he had a gift of seeing truth and gave us some examples that seemed pretty insightful, especially about the reporter I was working with. Somehow we got on the subject of the burglary, and I mentioned the strap. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "It wasn't the strap that was special. It was the way you felt about it. You still have those feelings."

Whoa. He was totally right. His advice?

"When you walk into the store to buy a new strap, transfer all of those emotions and memories into the new strap. Remember, the strap doesn't matter. What's in your head and heart does."

Here I'd been fretting about this silly thing for a week, and a few words from a stranger made me feel a bazillion times better. So you know what I did? I went on ebay and found an old strap like mine and bought it. When it arrives, I'll take his advice and transfer all of the youthful love and enthusiasm I felt the first time I slung my "professional" camera 'round my neck into the new one and create a whole new set of memories to add to it.

Mr. Hollywood Hills Man, I don't remember your name, but I will never forget your eyes or your words. Thank you.


  1. Can I just say, I don't want you to give up on your Motor Dolls project. I know how difficult it is to publish and get in there but if your other projects go through, Motor Dolls will follow.

    CD (ann)

  2. No, I'm not giving up on MD. Just need to step away for a bit. Thanks... your encouragement means a lot. :)

  3. Sometimes we who have been around one or two of our own blocks, like this old man, want to impart our 'wisdom' to those we consider our heritage--the following generations.

    My inclination has been to give advice. Advice is like the 'ordering' our parents did, not always to good effect.

    Your man has learned the path I am trying to follow: give a bit of your own experience, a bit of yourself. He no doubt learned the lesson of the strap somewhere along his own path.

  4. The man's words are very profound and true.

    How wonderful that he should come across your path at that time.
    Thanks for sharing those wise words. I feel it's something I need to remember. The strap lesson

    All the best, Lori :)

  5. ahh i love those kinda straps. i have one on each of my cameras that allows for it. Also love Arcosanti bells but have yet to make it up there.. ;o)