Monday, January 20, 2014

At the tire shop with Joe

I didn't take many pictures this trip, but found a few good murals, like this colorful one in the Meterie.

I was working with a point and shoot and was in the shadow of my impending third year exam for residency and not sure whether I am meant to be taking pictures in New Orleans. I do love it, but not living here I don't feel rooted enough at times to take on a big photography project here. Either way, it was nice to sit with Joe at the tire shop and just talk with someone outside my usual sphere.

Driving up to the shop, I am always a little timid and uncertain.  I don't know who will be there or what they might be thinking. Once I start talking with Joe, I always feel at ease.  Today was the first warm day with temperature over 60,  which made it comfortable sitting out front with Joe. We talked about relationships, rabbit hunting, the economy, Vietnam, the need for trade schools, learning to weld, the Indians, the parades at Mardi Gras, people riding bicycles naked, men dressed as women, how he got the gash on his left hand in a knife fight, growing okra and  collard greens in side-yard  kitchen gardens, which everyone used to have, where to eat in NOLA,  his dogs, his father getting old and lonely, his sister-- everything but physics and k-space, which I needed a break from anyway.  He even showed me his 38 Darriger.

During the time we talked people walked by waving and shouting greetings. Some came up and asked for favors.  I watched him turn down one woman who asked for money to buy dog food, then turn around and give ten dollars to another woman who wanted to take her daughter to the Martin Luther King parade.  People are asking for his help all the time. "Friends and family will keep you poor," he said. Even so, he goes along more often than not, pulling out a bundle of cash wrapped in a rubber band. Bundles of cash like that  remind me of my grandfather. When Joe says "no" it feels a little tense, but once he's made up his mind, he sticks to it.

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