Friday, May 04, 2007

Three non picture things

OK, for Clare I guess that I should post a more traditional version of Three Things. She puts down such pretty words, especially her recent posts about wandering along the nature trail; it makes me wish I were better with words, I can see why she works as a writer. But as below I try more with photographs.

1. Taking my lunchtime walk from my office: I first walk through the lower convention hall and pause briefly to watch all of the people at work. They are setting up for a new show, and there are dozens of folks scattered around scurrying busily. There is a line of custodial workers along one wall moving chairs, about forty people, they go in one direction pushing some empty carts designed to hold a stack of chairs, and then cycle back in the other direction pushing a stack of chairs towering over their heads. It reminds me of a line of ants working on a pile of bread crumbs, approaching empty and walking back with a crumb that is bigger than them. In the middle of the hall is a line of large trucks, with a steady stream of small fork lifts driving up into them and taking piles of pallets and boxes out to noisily deposit around the hall, similar to the line of workers with their wheeled carts. Off to the side of these workers are others unrolling big rolls of carpet; during a show the concrete floor usually disappears under an assortment of carpet colors. Just behind the unrolling crew is a lone person on his knees using a ‘kicker’ tool to stretch out the carpet; he kicks it twice, then pulls it up and moves forward a foot to plant it and kick it again. I look at this one person, then over the rest of the space, noticing that he only has thirteen acres of carpet to do down here, wondering how many kicks it takes to do that much carpet. I envision a gardener with a tiny pair of scissors, cutting one blade of grass at a time, looking across the football field or soccer pitch, realizing that by the time he gets to the other end the grass back at the start will probably be three feet tall.

2. Walking out of the lower hall and up the escalators into the big hotel next door that I don’t name here I enter into a big square that imitates a similar location in an old Italian city that has a lot of water. But here the sky is always blue, with little white puffy clouds, and it is always just before sunset. The square is filled with smiling people taking photographs of each other. There is a performer painted white standing on a low stage with a small pile of dollar bills in front of him, standing absolutely still, with a crowd standing around taking more photographs and marveling at how somebody can just stand there. Over on the steps a small group of entertainers dressed in what is supposed to be old fashioned Italian garb gather, in preparation for taking the stage over from the living statue and putting on a little song and dance number. I wander along the canal, following the slow walking tourists, and pause at the end to listen to a gondolier singing some lively Italian ditty to his small group of passengers, and receiving a round of applause from the crowd standing on shore.

3. I continue on outside, realizing with a short shock that even though it might be brightly lit inside nothing can compare to the Las Vegas sun at noon. It takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the brightness, gathering in the noise of the eight lanes of traffic down on the strip filled with cars and buses and trucks and taxis and limos and advertising vehicles and the talking of others around me looking down from the balcony. For some reason the level of people’s voices seem to match the brightness of the surroundings, increasing dramatically from the stores inside to a much higher level out here in the sunlight. It’s cool today (only 90f – 32c) (well, cool for us locals) but the sky is a clear bright blue, and descending the escalator down to the street I walk down past the new construction. It is nice to be out here with the warm sun on my face and the crowd of people around me, but I think of Clare wandering through a wood with flowers and birds and butterflies, enjoying where I am but at the same time wishing I was there walking next to her.

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