… the drill sergeant on my shoulder was screaming, “Radstone! Get over yourself, you committed to this project, you have a responsibility to see it through, quit your whining! Man up mister and go find a new friend.”
I was wasted tired. The week of travel and long days were slowing me to almost stalling. It was 11pm and fighting to keep my eyes open after the previous five days ago of moving on full throttle. That added to the previous 22 days of getting up at 5:45am and hitting the pillow no earlier than 1am, I was experiencing a moment of emotional numbness. Yet, even with that admission, the drill sergeant on my shoulder was screaming, “Radstone! Get over yourself, you committed to this project, you have a responsibility to see it through, quit your whining! Man up mister and go find a new friend.”
It was only 27 days into the project and I had hit my first deep pity-party. Depressed by feelings contrary to the message of what I was instructing the personnel of JPAC all that week, my attitude needed a hard slap in the face—I took a deep breath and leaned into my own council by aligning my attitude to the soapbox I’d been sharing in the courses I was presenting: “No matter who, what, or where you are photographing, the subject, good, bad, dull, or exciting, it is your responsibility to view it as opportunity for creative growth and a vehicle to share meaningful message.”
The options were directly in front of me. With one hour until my deadline I could either grab some much needed sleep, or I could stay on my journey… I grabbed my gear.
Groggy and a little moody I stood outside the elevator as (not at all in the mood to reach out), I gave in to allowing whatever was going to happen in regard to meeting someone. Then it happened. An internal trigger was somehow released as it became wholly evident that, to the depths of my core, I was growing not only as an artist, but more resoundingly, as a human. For in the past, and as exhausted as I was, I would have most likely withdrawn from the world around me with statements the likes of: What a tough day; I’m too tired to think; I don’t want to talk to anybody, etc.Or even on a good day, to hide behind a half hearted nod or smile.
I was not even a full month into the one-year challenge I had self-imposed and my inner-self was morphing. Becoming released and refreshed into a perspective that redirected my attitude on life. A life adjust, that to be fully transparent, has cost some financial security, but alternately, it has gained me more peace and purpose than I can ever repay.
Pandora’s Box had opened. In it, a big “Hello” to the world, and through it an unquenchable thirst to understand the people who walk upon its surface. A hunger that ultimately would, and continues to, grow via all who read, share, and contribute to what has grown to be the present Sidewalk Ghosts. The hundreds interviewed, the thousands engaged, and the unknown strangers who will hopefully soon be friends to our movement.
The doors slid open and in I stepped, the glassy eyed guy with the obtrusive camera backpack taking up the greater part of the elevator. Beside me a couple standing, all eyes down and away from each other we were, wrapped by the sound of canned music, we took no real notice of each other.
Floor 25…24…23… we descended, all the while my intuition telling me to speak to my co-habitants in our shared eight-foot by eight-foot enclosure. We passed floor 21 and I could take it no longer, the pull was too strong and with the rapid pace of our descent it was time to open my mouth.
The ride was over, and clearing my ears of the rapid change of altitude, I exited the elevator with two new friends. Please say hello to Lisa and her husband Vinnie.
By their names and distinct features, it would have been easy to profile them as Italian, and if so that would have been the correct assumption. But the assumption would have stopped there once speaking with them. Yes, Italian for certain, but hailing from Minnesota.
Not tourists, there reason for the Hawaii visit was to visit their daughter, a nurse living on the islands.
At first words we hit it off. Strange how at first we could not look into each other’s eyes as I entered the elevator. But after first introductions, we got along fabulously. Maybe it was my Jewish upbringing and their Italian roots. Two cultures that over the course of my life I have noticed share a similar outlook. Perhaps it’s that mama’s guilt syndrome. Here is how it works:“What do you mean you’re full, you’ve barely touched your plate, you can eat more.”To that, add an ample amount of “That’s my boy” smothering and you have a hint of the pressure that binds us.
Lisa, Vinie, and I sat for only a few minutes and small talked. It was quickly obvious that their love for each other was infectious—so very easy to see that they were truly a united couple. I asked, “What is the secret to a happy marriage” Vinie replied, “Yes Dear.” Ah, one more connection.
The phone rang: Their daughter calling from the hotel driveway to pick them up. We shared handshakes and exchanged our contact information.
I returned to my room, grabbed a $5 bottle of water from the mini-fridge and began to write.
Vinnie, Lisa, I have not followed up with you yet. But something tells me that we will speak again.
Talk tomorrow my good friends,
Readers, if you are returning, so nice to be with you again. If you are new, looking forward to getting to know you.
To all: please comment, like, and forward. Every engagement goes a long way toward connecting us; as together, we grow a movement that betters the way we view and treat one another.