Day two in Vegas feels like Day five.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life alone.
First off, my family moved around a fair amount while I was growing up. I made friends easily, but at that age you don’t keep friends that move to the other side of town, let alone a whole other state. My parents often talk about their childhood friends, many of whom are still in their lives and I don’t have that. I’m not bitter about it at all, but I sometimes wonder if the reason for that is only that I don’t know any better.
Secondly, I am an only child. Just by virtue of this fact, I spent a lot of time by myself. I remember playing with Lego for hours on end on my own, setting up solo GI Joe and Star Wars battle scenes, getting a bit older and throwing knives and ninja stars around on my own. We had a basketball hoop in our side yard and I don’t honestly remember ever playing with anyone else. I remember a lot of internal free throw competitions and a ton of buzzer beater shot scenarios played out loud to myself, but I can’t see a memory of me playing with any of my friends.
Third, I’ve lived alone a lot. My freshman roommate in college was kicked out of the dorms for fighting early in the year and never replaced…in retrospect, I think it’s pretty rare for a college freshman to live alone. I got an apartment with roommates the next year, but the last two years I went back to living solo. After college, my then girlfriend and I moved in together for a few years, but then I was on my own after we broke up. Moved in with another girlfriend a few years after that…and then inevitably went back to solo living after that one fell apart. In thinking about it now, I think I’ve lived alone for about 15 of the 19 years since I went off to college.
I often seek to be alone. Sometimes I go for walks and try to avoid passing people on the street. I will duck down alleys or abruptly turn around just to avoid the nod and smile. I’ve stood behind the screen door of my front door (which you can’t see through from the outside) waiting for neighbors to go back inside before taking my trash out or going to my car. I’ll hole up in my apartment for whole weekends without interacting with anybody.
And the funny thing is, I’m pretty social. I have lots of friends, I go out all the time, I’m fairly gregarious and socially adept…yet I am also very alone. Perhaps independent?
I wonder if it is that streak and that way about me that keeps me single a lot of the time. I always seem to end up pushing people away, ostensibly because I’m not happy with some aspect of the person, but perhaps it’s really more about my bewildering quest for solitude. I don’t generally feel lonely…but in reality I think I may very much feel that way but revel in the sadness of it. Something is in there about rather feeling pain than nothing at all? Or it may just be my odd sense of humor.
At any rate: SWM Seeking Roommate But Not Really
I think it’s ironic that people are warned not to smoke in bed or to be careful to not fall asleep smoking on the couch when in actuality people should be warned not to smoke at all.
People say that age is just a number, though you’ll notice that you never hear any actually young people saying that. I’m 37 today. I don’t feel anywhere near that old, but unless my driver’s license is lying to me, it seems to indeed be true. I’m told that I don’t look that old, either, and I believe that that is testament to my clean living through alcohol consumption and hardly ever sleeping. It’s been…a year since my last birthday, of that I am sure.
Looking back, things have actually come along further than I would have thought at first glance. In less than a year I’ve turned my photography hobby into a non-paying business. I say that tongue-in-cheek, but it’s actually something I’m legitimately proud of. According to my photography website I’ve had a pretty busy year of taking pictures of fairly big-named bands, harsh landscapes, and beautiful model/actress/artists. I’ve had one work honestly published and others used as album art on CD’s and iTunes. I’ve had shots used in interviews and on model resumes. I’ve had people ask me for my card (and since made some so I can actually give them one).
For a guy with no formal training, I think that’s pretty good.
In the shower this morning, I realized to myself that I may actually be an artist and hadn’t realized it, yet. It’s something that I’ve always aspired to be but doubted that I had the talent for it…I’ve tried my hand at painting (unsuccessfully), drawing (semi-ok), sculpture (actually pretty good if I’m allowed some hubris), and have always taken pictures…but I’ve only now realized that hell, I may actually be on to something. Granted, the images are not yet earth-shattering, but then there’s plenty of non-earth-shattering artists of which I would be proud to count myself among their number.
Also, my LA crap-rock band has their first gig coming up; and, though we are not accomplished musicians, we sound pretty OK. We’re not the worst band I’ve ever seen in LA, and brother, I’ve seen a lot of horrible bands. It’s a good feeling to create something melodic and actually be able to play it faithfully. That’s a good thing.
Not bad, really, considering that it took me 37 years to get here. Who knew it would be so easy…
Don’t you know, your own mind?
Don’t you know, your own mind?
Don’t care how dirty, don’t care how fine.
Don’t you know, your own mind.
This ride, it keeps making me sick.
There are too many paths for us to pick.
I’m tired of this fight, who’s right?
Is it time? Is the decision mine?
Is it too late for you and I to find the time to put our dreams in line?
How can we possibly align with the world beating out of time, and the lines…
they keep scrolling by.
Out the door you did fly, was all of it just based on a lie?
It’s true to you, if you make it so.
I have to now just go, go with this flow.
Based on a dream and nightmare made real.
Put the fear inside to lie and fester for a while.
Don’t you know, your own mind?
Out the door with no heart left behind.
So far gone, you’re out, even of your own mind.
Don’t you know, your own mind?
When it’s time to maybe only dully shine?
No, and you’re out of time.
Don’t care how dirty or how fine.
I have many online personas.
That’s not actually true. I have limited online personas and only a fair amount of online presence. I have a blog (surprise!), I think I still have a Myspace account, I’m on LinkedIn and vaguely recall some Friendster activity back in the day. I’m an irregular Twitter poster and I’m still mostly addicted to Facebook. I have a photography website.
Did you know that, audience of 3? Perhaps not. I do, it’s at davekleeman.com
It’s something I put together, maybe a couple of months ago to artificially create legitimacy around my burgeoning photography career. I’m being self-deprecating, of course, but I haven’t made any money doing it (not that that should be the yard stick for success). I’ve had offers to be paid, but I couldn’t bring myself to take money from friends. It’s a hollow victory in mind. Once an outside party pays me, however, that will be something to be proud of.
I’ve not been without some small success, though. I’ve done album artwork, my headshots have been used by models, dancers, and actresses, band shots have been used in press coverage, and I was published in an honest to goodness music magazine.
Not bad for just starting out, I’d say.
I’ve exhibited some hubris, if I’m honest. I’ve had business cards made…though I’ve only given them to people that already know about my site. Eventually I’ll cross that shmoozy boundary into actively seeking recognition and work and pressing my card into peoples’ hands. For now, though, I’m happy just taking pictures that a small group of people do seem to like.
On a plane again. Again. I don’t travel as much as your stereotypical business man, but I definitely travel more than the average person. And even if I don’t take a ton of trips, most of them are great distances and long periods of time.
This one, though, is a minor blip. LA to Wisconsin through Chicago, back to Chicago, pause, return to LA. Oddly, the flight from Chicaho to Madison apparently never returns as the only way I could find to get back was to fly through Denver. Sorry what?
So I’m driving from Madison to Chicago. 3.5 hours. But I’ve never been there and I’ve packed my camera. This is how I know that photography is becoming an obsession. I’ve planned and packed for the off chance that I can get a picture of a cow in a Wisconsin field.
Does Wisconsin have fields?
*several hours later*
I haven’t seen any fields, yet, but I’ve sure as hell seen a lot of lakes. This is like the Twilight Zone. This is the capital of Wisconsin (Madison), yet there are the quiet sounds and smells of nature everywhere, the speed limit is 25mph and observed with a fervor, and the airport had maybe 100 people in it, 48 of which were on my flight. Where IS everybody?
I like it, though. It’s CLEAN and smells GREEN. Granted, I’d probably get bored fast, but it’s a nice respite from the concrete jungle. I’m actually looking forward to the drive back to Chicago tomorrow, if only so that I might see nothing at all.
I’ve taken pictures for the better part of my life. I have a few albums at my parents’ house of pictures of almost basically nothing, captured forever on a 110 camera I was allowed to use. There are shots of a jack rabbit through my bedroom window in Texas, blurry from the motion as well as the screen. There are some of plants. Just plants. There are a few of temporary brilliance of the space shuttle piggy-backing on a 747, but it’s otherwise all shlock.
A little older and I got a Yashica 35mm that I got a little bit more considered with. I at least took pictures OF something for a change. There’s the kid getting trash-canned in summer camp, a fountain, a shadow from fence latticework, a seagull behind a boat in the setting sun. Some of them are not bad, and a bit of the artistic imagery is starting to shine through.
Fast forward a bit more and I have a Minolta SLR with a couple of lenses. This camera went to college with me, to Europe, too holidays and points in between. I never took the stereotypical college photography class but I did learn how to develop B&W photos from a friend who did. I spent many a solitary hour in the darkroom looking at my images come to life…some of which still hang on my walls to this day. Pictures of hallways, a ditch digger, my girlfriend. Granted legitimacy perhaps because of the bleak color scheme and perhaps because of my developing eye.
Next a Fuji digi-cam, stolen then replaced with another one I still own. Nothing of significance happens during this multi-year period. It is a dark time.
A year or so ago, a friend at work got a DSLR, and in a fit of jealousy and envy, I got one, too (a Sony). Then it became all pictures all the time and a long-lived passion was re-ignited. I started taking pictures of bands, earned a few photo-passes, got in a few online magazines, shot some album covers, and was even published. Things were better. So much so that I upgraded in a little over a year and now rock a Canon 7d, a half-a half- a dozen lenses, a home studio, business cards, and a website (davekleeman.com).
What a difference a day makes.
I’ve yet to make any money doing this, but then, it seems it may only be a matter of time…
I have this thing about me. I love the big trips, the Tokyo to Osaka two weeks with seeing everything and everywhere. I love the Italys and the Spains, the Londons and the Paris’. But in an equal and perhaps greater than sense, I love the small trips, too.
I went to Death Valley a little while back, just to see the Sliding Rocks. I drove some 5 hours to stay in a pretty bare bones hotel in the middle of literally nowhere to drive another couple of hours to see a rock with a groove behind it that could have just as easily been created by a park ranger.
It was totally worth it.
And now I’m another however many hours in the middle of another nowhere and having just seen the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees.
Not particularly interesting until you learn that some of them are over 4,600 years old and the oldest living organisms on earth. And I touched them. And I thought about how every war in recorded history had happened within the lifespan of these trees. How every person I could ever possibly trace in my family had lived, loved, and died in a blink of the proverbial eye of these trees. I imagined an observer of these trees, looking up through their gnarled branches as century after century relentlessly carried on without cessation or interruption from anything save the occasional bird and winter storm. 4,500 years went by uninterrupted. Then, perhaps, a distant sound…what later would be known as a propeller. The air got a little worse, the weather a little hotter, then people. People touching and poking and prodding.
And they sit just waiting for the people to go away again.
I like Cowboys. I also like Aliens. If only there was a Reese’s PeanutButter Cup-ian melding of the two out there…
Oh, but there is! Cowboys and Aliens. Happy day!
There’s something a little illicit about watching moves in an unfamiliar town. Especially when it’s a pretty small one where the snack bar girl is also the ticket taker who’s younger brother does the sweeping. Earl and Jim know everyone in town, and mister, you ain’t one of them.
There’s a not bad theater in Bishop, though. Two screens for two movies. Two showtimes per day, special early matinee on Saturdays. It’s the first theater in a long time that I’ve been to where there’s an aisle down the center and two main columns of seats like in a church. It’s been an even longer time since I’ve been in a theater with a balcony. These are the stick-floor theaters. These are the make-out in the back theaters. These are the sneak-in from the alley theaters. It’s a bygone era but not one without its charms.
I turned to one of the local boys and asked, “Why would aliens be after the cowboys?” He said, “Because of the beans.”
Makes perfect sense.