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August 28, 2003: Unsuspected

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We watched One Hour Photo last night and my mind cannot seem to let it go. I keep thinking about how old and weak they made Robin Williams look to play the part. He is an incredible actor and usually he has an incredibly powerful presence on the screen in whatever role he is in. But in this, he seemed too small. The word that kept springing into my head was ‘diminished’. They shrunk him into this empty old man, this person with no life, no home except for the sterile walls of an apartment that might as well have been vacant from the amount of personality he put into it. The entire movie I watched him play this sad and empty old man and I kept cringing, knowing that here was a person who would someday snap and do something horrible because there was never anything in him to allow him to resist it.

Richard noted that there were times when he thought he might end up like the character in that movie, but even if we had never met and never married and even if he had remained a bachelor all his life I cannot believe that he could ever end up as lost as that poor old man. We build things into our lives when we are young to keep ourselves busy and happy. We build friendships and make acquaintances and we learn how to go out and force ourselves to interact with other people, even though there are times when it is so hard to do, because we need – everyone needs – even some small bit of color in their lives. So how terrifying it was to watch someone on screen who never found his own bit of color, and know that there are people out there just like him, hidden away by the sheer fact that they are so completely unnoticeable.


I had just walked in the door yesterday afternoon and was putting away bags of vegetables for making soup, and peaches for making pie, when the phone rang. It was Richard, stranded alongside the freeway with a flat tire, and sounding tired and frustrated that he was going to miss his meeting.

So I hopped back into my car, crossed my fingers that the gas tank would have at least enough to get me to him, and him to his meeting, and zipped off to find him. Then he took my car, since it could at least handle driving at freeway speeds, and I drove his car very slowly and carefully to the nearest tire place which was, naturally, closed for the day. So then I ended up driving it home taking all the back country roads and toodling along at the incredible speed of about 35 miles per hour since spare tires really aren’t supposed to be used for those distances, and certainly not at high speeds, and this morning we did the car switch again, since my job is a bit more flexible than his and I could afford the hour it took to take the car to a tire place and fork over a large chunk of money to get a new one.

The guy at the tire shop was extremely nice. He didn’t treat me like I had no clue because I am female and he didn’t call me ma’am in that condescending tone that I seem to get in other car maintenance type places. And when I asked whether we should replace both rear tires instead of just the one to keep them consistent he didn’t immediately jump on a chance to make a sale, but instead pointed out that the other tire was in good shape and didn’t need replacing.

I don’t know exactly what it is that Richard managed to do to that tire, by the way, but whatever it was, was pretty impressive. The tire was cracked in three placed along the sides and there was no way it could simply be repaired. I wonder if it just couldn’t handle the heat we’ve had earlier this summer and something finally just made all the weak spots explode.


Richard and I have started a new project (because after all, what good is it to have that shared domain if we aren't doing shared things on it?). So without further delay, let me introduce our new, joint photoblog: Cat's Eye View It probably won't be quite a picture a day, but the goal is get pretty darn close.

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