Saturday, January 11, 2014

i am not a camera

But, then, I am not Christopher Isherwood, either.

On Friday evening, I headed out the front gate to get some supper.  A rosemary pulled pork cranberry sandwich sounded just about right.

And, because my goal was food, I left my camera behind.  We have all seen quite enough of my restaurant shots.  And, after all, what could happen between my house and La Oficina -- a short five or six blocks?

At least, anything photogenic.

Oh, how about --

  • A sunset that turned the scattered clouds into a color chart mosaic of pink, gray, blue, and yellow -- all topped off by a moon just steps away for the height of its potency?
  • Or the boy doing handstands on his bicycle while he artfully navigated the bus-eating potholes?
  • Or the young lady and her pet sheep playing soccer with one another?
At first I regretted leaving the Sony behind.  Until I realized, I was actually enjoying each of these entertaining moments without being distracted by trying to get The Shot.

There are times for cameras.  But not that evening.

On Thursday afternoon, I attended the first session of the third annual cross-cultural classes sponsored by our church.  The opening slot went to Tom Ovington, who taught the classes two years ago.

Tom is currently the logistics guy on a Samaritan's Purse hospital ship in Bolivia.  He was in town spending Christmas with his Kennedyesque beautiful family.  (You may recall that I introduced you to his daughter last month.  If you click on the link, the first photograph is of Tom -- reading to his grandchildren.  Norman Rockwell could not have composed a better shot.)

Before he returned to Bolivia, he volunteered to tell us about Mexico from the perspective of Bolivia.  Mexico, not surprisingly, looks like a very modern country when compared with the poorest country in South America.

One of his observations was food.  Mexico has a wealth of food compared with Bolivia where most of the people are in deep poverty.

He offered this question: "Have you ever considered the simple luxury available in Canada, the United States, or Mexico of being able to choose what you eat?  In Bolivia, and a lot of the rest of the world, you will most likely eat what you ate the previous day -- and the month before that -- and the year before that."

On Friday night I lived out that difference.  I could have stayed at home and ate leftovers.  Or I could have made something fresh from the refrigerator.  Or I could have opened a can of something.  Or I could have done what I did do -- had supper at one of the dozens of restaurants that serve up a variety of food every night.

Freedom and choice mixed into one big enchilada.  And one of the things we take for granted in our blessed lives here.

Next week it will be Steve Cotton's turn in the cross-cultural barrel.  And, if everything comes together, I will sprint through the high points of Mexican history, talk a little about
Jorge Castañeda's cultural contradictions in Mañana Forever?, and then have some fun with local place names.  All in one hour.

Of course, that will be one hour of full frontal Steve Cotton -- a sight that has not been seen since I put down the laser pointer of the periodic legal updates in Oregon.  It should be fun.  At least, for me.

And my camera will be left at home.  After all, what could possibly be photogenic at an event like this?


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