SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 27: It’s Hello To The World

I have to admit, “tonight I’m waisted.” A week of long days is slowing me a little. 11:00pm and fighting to keep my eyes open. Since my arrival here 5 days ago, It’s been full throttle. Wake up at 5:45am, hit the pillow at 1:00am. You’ve got to allow me this moment of numbness, so please forgive my lethargic point-of-view as I start this entry. Weak, I know, but honest.

The drill sergeant on my shoulder kicks in, shouting! “Radstone, enough already, quit whining. You’re making me want to yak. Man up mister! You’re working with the military, show some respect, get off your butt, leave the refuge of your hotel room and go find a new friend.”

I’m sobered, 26 days into 365, not near long enough to have earned any pity stripes. Time to lean on my own council and pay attention to the soapbox I’ve been sharing with the JPAC men and women all week: “No matter what you are shooting, good or bad, dull or exciting, it is your responsibility to view it as an opportunity for creative growth, or at least a vehicle to share a message.”

A quick self slap and off to the elevator I go. Surely, somewhere between floors is a new friend to be found. I find them quickly on floor 26, my floor.

We make eye contact, I pause, almost not introducing myself, when that gut thing boots up. It is rapidly becoming wholly evident, to the depths of my core, that I am growing as a human and artist.

In past, I probably would have passed at the introduction, choosing to silently nod or perhaps return a smile. Now however, that is less of an option. A decision driven not by mental choice, but a soulfully owned desire to learn the stories of everyone I encounter. Edgy to conservative, open to closed off.

Pandora’s box is open. It’s hello’s to the world as I navigate through it. And I want to understand whomever I meet.

With twenty-six 365 portraits behind me, I’m also learning to let go of technical compulsively in accepting, “not all of my photos need to be technically perfect, especially these ones.”

What is important, “can I form a trusting relationship with an absolute stranger, and capture a thumbnail of a person’s persona in a relatively short time?” To date, somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes.

To sum it up, at least for 365, “the story is greater than execution.”

Tonight’s story:
I’m in the elevator, floor 25, floor 24, floor 23, stomach telling me to speak to my descending neighbors. By floor 21 I can take it no longer, time to open my mouth. The doors open in the lobby and I have two new friends for the moment.

Meet Lisa and her husband Vinnie. By their names, I hope you can put two and two together in figuring out they are two great Italians, hailing from Minnesota. Reason for the Hawaii visit, “we come very often to visit our daughter, a nurse living on the islands.”

There is one thing you need to know about us Jews and the Italians, “we get along fabulously.” It’s that mama’s guilt syndrome. Here is how it works “what do you mean you’re full, you’ve barely touched your plate, you can eat more.” To that, add an ample amount of smothering and you know what binds us.

Lisa, Vinie and I sit for a few minutes and small talk. Their love for each other is infectious. It’s easy to see that they are a united couple. I ask, “what is the secret to a happy marriage?” Vinie replies, “Yes Dear.”

I share a humorously reactive expression, we all laugh and understand exactly what he is saying.

The phone rings. It’s their daughter. She is at the hotel driveway to pick them up. We share handshakes and information.

Vinnie, Lisa, hope we run into each other again.

Aloha my new friends!

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