photographic anxiety. do i need to draw you a picture? oh, wait – i’ll take one with this camera…

i couldn’t take another photo with my phone.

this post above ended there, on december 8th.
my wordpress informant tells me this.
i started it at 3:58am on that day, december 8th.
i move forward, two weeks later;
back to the camera thing…
it just isn’t the same, – cellphone cameras – not that they don’t work.
a picture is a picture, right?
but it’s..what?….a level of historic comfort?….basking in the illusion of being a picture-taker?

i used this camera into my twenties. it took 620 kodak film and made great photos. 620 film means absolutely nothing to anyone, probably.
i used my cellphone for about two months before bleeding the last bit of life from a charge-card and bought a camera.
it was on black friday-digital monday – the days following thanksgiving when we are so ordered to shop – and got it for cheap.
it took four days to get here (with the weekend)
it took another week to get the courage to try and use it.
the day i began this note, the eighth of december, the plan was to write something to someone who means a lot in my life.
december 8th is recognized as the day johnny lennon ran out of luck.
people who regard his death as a religious holiday give me the willies.
200 years from now….no, never mind. it’s too depressing.
to me it’s someone’s birthday.
i ended up writing my dearest friend on the planet an e-mail.
yup, that’s what i did.
i didn’t mention her natal.
i remember this because i used the word “natal” a week earlier in a note to her, citing the first use of this word in forever and how i’m not really celebrating anything this year.
i write her every day, sometimes twice a day.
i have difficulty celebrating holidays with people who are bedridden or fighting for their lives. life’s ironic enough.
for all i know, she’s never read the notes before or after december 8th, up to and including today.
but we did speak.
when i heard from her she was feeling poorly and told me that she hasn’t felt well enough to turn on her computer.
turning on a computer is pretty easy stuff, you know.
she coughed and wheezed while i hid among loaves of bread.
you see, her call came while i was shopping at restaurant depot, a place where restaurants shop for their stuff.
i cough and wheeze a lot but nothing like her.
she’s my “wheeze-queen” and i don’t say that in a comedic sense even though it might sound slightly hilarious.
“wheeze queen.”
i love my wheeze queen with all my diseased heart and cancerous cells.
her inability to breathe fills me with sadness.
it reminds me of my sainted irish mother whose emphysema was front and center till she prayed her way off the planet.
there’s something here among these notes about chesterfield cigarettes, “the unbearable lightness of being” and a slew of other subjects that touch on smoking and wheezing.
my wheeze has been carefully crafted out of tens of thousand of cigarette drags and deep breaths in blue-clouded rooms of noise, flesh, tequila and the like.
i earned my lung scars through the brutal cultivation of “not enough,” and i’m pretty ok with it.
when i wheeze, cough and clear my throat, i consider my life as folly and give a thumbs-up to the tobacco industry.
imagine; in my lifetime, you could smoke in hospitals, doctor’s offices, restaurants, at the movies and on airplanes.
you could smoke….anywhere!
now that’s corporate lobbying at its bloodthirstiest.
these sonsabitches got away with everything and i was taught to root for them. they had connections to the patron saints of plausible deniability.
outright, baldfaced lying.

what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
it just extends my lucky streak.

but then, there’s this;
my friend never smoked.
she wasn’t an addict and was a “lightweight” at the bar.
she told me this; “i’m a cheap date.”

my days blurr on.
i wake up and have a glut of things whirring and clicking in my head.
i had a slew of things to talk about.
the narrative was typing itself in my head as i went through my morning ablutions, acknowledging my fifth shaveless day, leading me to believe in “change,” happening in all sorts of ways.
as i do this, i’m touching the ponytail at the back of my neck with casual menace.
but these were not the things that were the subjects tap-tapping in my hard drive.
to tell you the truth, i can’t even remember what i was thinking about.
maybe it’s about the gale-force winds of change that are at play here in a galactic sense, but no matter what i take with me at the end of these rants, it seems i’m left with nothing but chance and luck.
“bad santa,” got me to the holiday, a drive to south jersey got me past it.
there was a poignant moment in the film, just before billy bob is about to be shot by his midget partner where he says something like, “hey, i can understand offing me, that i get, but do you really have to take all that shit?,” where the camera pans on the ridiculous shopping spree they went on. i went all over youtube looking for the clip but couldn’t find it.
the same day i saw the film, i spoke to my original-equipment father who invited me to new jersey to partake in christmas dinner. i dined with a man whose clock is winding down. that’s how he described himself to me.
just like that.

between then and now;

there was a snowstorm that crippled the city.
i love when that happens.
when the storm began, i had the notion to gather maxx into the car and drive out to gateway national park like i did last winter.
last year i was at the beach at that storm’s beginning.
i loved the photos from then and wanted to shoot the storm with my new camera.
i walked maxx around the block, put him in the car, started it up, went across the street and bought rock salt, brought it to the store for later then went back to the car and drove off…….around the block.
i returned the car to the parking spot it was in two minutes earlier, put it in park, turned it off and took maxx out of the car and went home.
this was not last year’s storm. this was different.
i would not fuck with this weather.
that night, with the storm at full throttle, it was clear that a lot of people took their car out who had no business doing so.
the city may have dropped the ball on this, but loads of new yorkers sure didn’t make it any easier for city workers (including EMS and police) by abandoning their cars.
but that’s my opinion.
i walked past a snowdrift that had a christmas tree laying atop it.
i stared at it as max and i walked…,”did christmas happen? did i miss it? oh….it happened. yes. it happened. i remember….”
dreamlike….from a misty, foggy place inside.
maybe it’s from the place where that hiss that i hear sometimes comes from -the one that comes and goes at varying degrees inside my head and heart.
days went by.
the new year came and went.
on new years night i took a trip out to fort tilden.
i went there “because,” that’s all.
because we never went out on blizzard day.
because maxx missed his snow frolick-time.
because it felt necessary to take a picture of the night with the camera that finally felt comfortable in my hands.

me and maxx walked the length of the fort tilden beach leading to riis park. i looked for the big tire, though it was just cursory inspection.
maxx finished running in his joyous circles.
we walked silently.
maxx stayed behind me and to my left.
i felt like i was on a traditional japanese date.
i kid…i kid.
i needed to remind myself about how lucky i am.
i want too much, i imagine.
i wished i could draw-away all the pain and sickness from my friend’s body like a super-absorbent bounty paper towel.
as we walked i told her that i want to be her quicker, picker-upper.
i hope she heard me.
these things were in my mind as we walked.
they are the same things i think about when i’m walking on broadway in bushwick or driving into the village to pick up coffee.
sometimes it’s all the same…except when i look in the mirror.
there’s a scruffy moustache.
then, there’s that humm and hiss.

About stephen trimboli

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