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How typically me! :-) | by gwilmore
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How typically me! :-)

I went to downtown Phoenix to attend a ballroom dance exhibition, sponsored by the area Fred Astaire studios to benefit MS patients. A few minutes into the program, we had an unplanned intermission when the fire alarm went off and the building was evacuated. I never did learn what caused the alarm, but the interruption was brief, and once the all-clear was given and everyone returned to their seats, the performance resumed where it had left off.


I took my camera to this event, of course. I also brought a book with me. I have been a voracious reader for nearly my entire life, and I tell people, only half-jokingly, that if I am ever seen without a book, it will be a sure sign of the Last Days and the coming Apocalypse. I even brought a book along during my honeymoon, although I didn't get much reading done during that time.


The heavy tome I am reading here is Master of the Senate, the third volume of Robert A. Caro's well-written and absorbing biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. During the evacuation, I decided to prop the book up against this railing and try to read a page or two, and it occurred to me that this action, so utterly typical of me, would make a good subject for a photo. I set my camera to Auto mode, handed it to dance instructor Joshua Smith, and asked him to take a few pictures of me "in action," so to speak.


I got a little more than I bargained for, I'm afraid, and although I didn't intend it, this might be one of the most revealing photographs ever taken of me by anyone. I don't figure very many people want to look at pictures of me, and I can't say I blame them for that; but I left the pretty, smiling young woman in the frame because surely some people will view this image in order to look at her. But the fact is, I was completely oblivious to her presence while Joshua was taking the pictures -- he took about five altogether -- and I never noticed her at all until I uploaded the day's photos into my computer. Such is the grip a good book can exert over me, and I am quite absent-minded much of the time, but especially when I am reading.


Also, here I am wearing a Chicago Cubs tie I had purchased earlier that very day. In recent years, I haven't followed baseball as closely as I used to, but I miss the game and should probably resume paying attention to it. My passion for baseball still lurks somewhere beneath the surface, and I know it wouldn't take much to get me excited about it again. And I think I need that right now. But the Cubbies have been my favorite team for many years, and I like to tell people that their "great winning tradition" keeps drawing me back to them, season after season.


(Update: I was quite surprised, a few days after I uploaded this image, to discover that it had made Explore! I will be even more surprised now if it remains there for any appreciable length of time.)


(Second update: About three weeks after this picture was taken, I finally had the opportunity to buttonhole Joshua and ask him if he had intentionally included the woman in the frame. Displaying obvious amusement as he recounted the story to me, he said he had, and I understand he also employed hand signals to direct her pose. As one of the comments below points out, she obviously knows she is in the picture, and the expression on her face looks a little "conspiratorial" as well. And I was totally oblivious to all of this. I think Joshua ought to invest in a digital SLR and take up photography as a serious hobby, and devote some time to it when he is not giving dance lessons.)



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Taken on August 4, 2007