Friday, January 26, 2007

The longing

Since I have been doing the organ donation awareness project over on flickr. I have thrown myself headlong into my past.

In my profile over there to the right. Near the end it mentions me being introspective and retrospective. It's painfully true.

I am very aware of my past and how much I enjoyed the majority of it. I learned early on that I am not athletic. But when I played softball, some of the opposing teams recognized that my squat legs could motor me around the bases really fast. (I had to compensate with speed because of my poor hitting skills). I also am not a looker. No GQ for me. All the looks were passed on to my sister and brothers. Am I smart.....well, I do have an opinion on everything. A self described “jack of all trades, master of nothing”. And as painful as it sounds, I do have a good personality. (ack) As a friend, I am (self) rated to be a good one to have.

The results of my pshch eval (during the appointments for donating my liver) could explain some of my past (and now present). Even though the Dr said I was "boring" (no smoking, drinking, drugs, elicit sex etc) I couldn't help to look up my past then compare and contrast with what I heard from the one hour "session".

In high school I was, like most people, attracted to the opposite sex. I dated quite a bit, but never with anyone in my own school. It only took me 20 years to realize this. Or perhaps accept it. Actually, I did date one girl from my school. But there was an age difference and it didn't last much more than a week or two. I tried dating a few other girls in some of my classes, but those didn't work out either. So really, they can't be counted.
My inventiveness made up for my somewhat low self esteem. I would often eat free when a new person came into our group of friends. We would go out to eat and I would bet someone a hamburger or milkshake that I would ask the waitress (or some other unsuspecting girl in the building) out on a date. It was a win/win deal for me. If I ask this stranger at all, I get the food item. If that same person actually took me up, I got a date and the food. It never happened more than a few times with most people in our group of friends. Some times when I was low on cash (which was often), I would ask “a friend” for a loan, they would make me work it off by getting me to ask someone out on a date…….the things I would do for friendship and a meal.

With this current project, I have no choice but to approach strangers. It's a fundamental requirement of the project. I seem to seek out attractive people. I'm not sorry about it at all. But with this project, I am keenly aware that there are so many people in this world. It's truly on a different level. It happens when I sit in a restaurant, get gas, shop for tortillas or buy a magazine. I end up watching the patrons. I observe the staff. I see the struggles with trays, crying kids and food orders and all the other events. I am an observer. When I look at all of these people and really see their faces, I look at how the light casts a shadow across their nose. How colorful their eyes are. What would they look like in a bowler hat or some other accessory? How about if they lean up against the brick wall? All these thoughts flood my mind with every person, hundreds of times a day.

I could probably be classified with an obsession. Perhaps even an unhealthy one. But even as I struggle with my “issue” I battle with the demons with every stranger I approach brings me back to high school. I approach many, hoping for a few. Will they allow me an opportunity to capture a fraction of a moment of their time in a photograph?

When I walk away……without a portrait, a flood of memories return. Feelings. Emotions. Thoughts. As my heart returns to the slow beating of normalcy. It was a rush. I rejoice in the fact that another person is thinking about organ donation. Good, bad or indifferent. It’s not my call to change a mind. Even though I know that some invariably will. That part is the foreseen inevitability of this project. And I know it.

I still long for the portrait.

1 comment:

Josh Carpenter said...

Hey Brent,

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I had read about your project on Becky's blog. I think it is awesome that you are trying to raise awareness for organ donation in such a creative way. That would be a huge undertaking for me considering I am such an introvert. To answer your question, I am an organ donor and so is everyone in my family. We have all discussed in detail our wishes. Best wishes to your father-in-law and you as well. Keep me posted and keep checking my blog.