Images of Surprising Detail
The bus stopped and opened its doors to let someone else on. From my vantage point near the back of the bus, I see a head hover over the change receiver next to the bus driver. From its mouth drops coins. My distracted stupor is shattered; disgust rises immediately, followed quickly by curiosity. Someone being smart or intentionally grotesque?
I see a foot fly up and fall against the side of the bus drivers’ raised seat. It is sneakered, and the driver pulls a folded dollar bill from the shoe’s laces. My disgust changes to admiration as I watch a man sit down who obviously hasn’t any arms. He wears a dirty white T-shirt, but the sleeves dangle. I thank him silently for his modesty even though the T-shirt must feel useless. He is calm, composed. He’s used to the stares. I smile at him as he looks around the bus casually. He smiles back, somewhat relieved. I admire him for his balance as he gets off a few blocks later. He gets another smile from me and I wonder if I appear condescending. I don’t feel it.
In another unrelated incident, I got in the shower this morning and turned a small trickle of water on to wash my face. As I stood there, waiting for it to get hot, I saw a beautiful pattern of water forming on the tub floor. Symmetrical and detailed, I turned the water off and ran to get my camera, contemplating all the while whether I would have enough light. I turned my camera on, and stood there, looking at the subject, already drying out. I remember my past, trying to take pictures of intricate roses and delicate vistas. Trying to capture the detail of an interesting patch of grass and clover or the way the light falls through a tree onto the wall. Flipping through the developed film with someone over my shoulder, finding my painstaken efforts blurred or too general and the shoulder-looker confused.
“Why’d you take a picture of that?”
I set my camera down on the bathroom counter. Water on a white tub, even with all that light. I wasn’t going for court evidence or a sale on EBay. I’ll end up having just a botched picture of a white tub.