I’ve been trying to explore my surroundings a bit more in efforts to feel more connected to my community. A really fun way I have found to do this is going on quick little photography sessions around Columbus whenever I have errands to run~
Though I haven’t scratched the surface of the city’s photogenic personality, it’s really been interesting to go back and look through some of these pictures. Not only do I have documentation of my adventures (and evidence that I apparently really like my feet), but doing this really opens my eyes up to my surroundings.
Throughout my photography expeditions, there have been a couple of moments that really stuck with me. Like a binky in a garden bed outside of a small pizza shop. What made for a pretty cool picture also had me think about the people involved with something so simple. Normally, I would have walked right past the plastic sitting on the ground. I wouldn’t have noticed it. I wouldn’t have thought about it. I sure as hell wouldn’t have spent time analyzing why it was there.
But because of the intention I took to really look around – where I was – and observe, I thought about how it got there. I thought about a mom pushing a baby in a stroller. I asked myself what her story was. In a gentrified city like Columbus, there are many possibilities…
A teenage mom walking on the sidewalk, baby on hip, boyfriend on arm. Out on a walk from her dilapidated home many of the college students assume as ‘university property’ (when she only wishes she had the opportunities all those drunk sorority girls take for granted). She’s talking to her boyfriend about something she couldn’t care less about, and in the mean time her daughter drops her pacifier on the ground. When she starts to cry, the mom just shushed her in efforts to keep appearing focused on her utterly boring conversation-not noticing the baby’s naked mouth until blocks later, when there was no use in looking for the favorite binky.
A couple, who had been married for almost 4 years. They lived in the new Gay Street penthouse lofts that just opened. With a ‘private garden’ behind the building, the residents received pros from urban and rural living situations – made available to them because of her husband’s father granting him a partnership position right out of undergrad. After he answers some emails, the family sits down at their marble dining table to enjoy a [insert some soy-veggie-quinoa-organic-pita bread meal that could only be whiter if it was hiking in the alps] dinner she made earlier that evening. Along with the homemade baby food, the couple sits and relays their day to each other before embarking on their nightly walk around [just the safe areas-don’t worry] the neighborhood. After crossing the street, Mr. Daddy Doctor leans in to give his gorgeous ‘body by yoga and a mild eating disorder’ wife when their model-to-be baby throws her binky out of the stroller. They fail to notice due to her full stomach, and numerous other toys beside her, occupying the child.
From one picture. From one item on the ground.
Sitting in a classroom thinking about the maintenance team that attached the blackboards to the wall. Or the IT specialist that hooked up the [ridiculously expensive] interactive board.
Walking home from class, I see that Mirror Lake is not only drained, but there are fences surrounding it. Fences with images of Mirror Lake throughout the many years Ohio State has held the man-made pond so near and dear to tradition. There was a team of people who drained the lake. People who took the ducks somewhere else. People who put up the fences. People who made the signs.
And while thousands of students get wasted, and jump in the Olentangy River [the commonly understood backup for when the University finally cracked down on the Mirror Lake Jump], what about the parents of the kid that died last year? -The reason for the University finally not only acknowledging the hypothermia-giving tradition of half naked (some full naked) students incoherent and submerging themselves in the freezing mid-November temperature water.
To my landlord who refuses to come and fix the laundry list of issues we’ve been asking them to fix for two years – let’s add the weeds in the yard to that list. You know – the weeds that have been covering up the row of bricks someone laid to trim a flowerbed who knows how many years ago. She was so excited to work on making their house a home. Placing each brick by hand around the enormous oak. Oh you know – that one that wacks you in the face when you walk by the house to take the trash out.
You can still see the bricks- they’re still there. Even though maturity and appreciation for the things around us has long since been seen on 13th, 14th, [and God knows 15th] avenue, the bricks are still there. But wait! Not all of them. Ever since the University decided to take the old buildings in need of love and care into their own hands – knocking them flat to make more room for overpriced apartments that take money away from real estate rental companies and channeling it back into the money-focused business taking over the entire greater Columbus area. Just crossing their fingers that enough people in the area feel a personal connection every time someone yells ‘OH’ or ‘IO’.
What’s going to happen to the 80-year-old typewriter repair man who lives by himself, hoping that ‘hipsters’ continue to enjoy the old treasures of life?
It’s days like today that I really stop and wonder what my future holds. If I’ll follow my passion, move to Portland in a Tiny House and sell art while I write my first novel and blog my way to being financially stable enough to travel.
Or if me thinking that the best part of my week was when Hayden took the time to make the best eggs I had ever eaten [if you don’t know by now-I have an inclination to choose breakfast food for every meal of my life] means I focus on things that don’t matter. I remain faithful that placing emphasis on the human interactions of my life and loving vintage dresses that otherwise would be housing roaches in some random Grandmothers attic- will pay off for me eventually.
So until I find out – I’ll continue having photography sessions with Laurie in the park. I’ll continue wearing stuff others would donate. I’ll continue making time for the people in my life who support me. I’ll continue to appreciate the unsung heroes – no matter how odd it may seem.