My Red Suitcase & Kodak Plus-X Bite The DustSunday, May 29, 2011
Not too long ago I was obsessed with the idea that if I were to be true to the concept that a daily blog is a diary this meant that I had to post every day before midnight. In travels to Argentina, Mexico and the US I would resort to going to internet cafés where I would write my blog and using photos that I might have stored in something like Photobucket which is sort of like flickr. My friends pointed out that with the advance of technology and if I had a halfway decent digital camera I would be able to upload photos taken during that day onto the blog. And furthermore they told me that if I had a laptop I could write my blog from my hotel room which surely would have Wi-Fi. I have resisted this route because I really do no have the funds to buy a laptop nor am I interested in having a digital camera.
I have just returned (Monday noon) from a four day trip to Austin, Texas where I attended an all classes reunion of St Ed’s High School (1880s until in closed in 1967). There were special events to honour our class of 1961 as that makes 2011 our 50th anniversary.
I managed to have blogs until last Saturday before I left Thursday for Austin. Saturday’s was special as it was a speech by Raymond Fleck who in the late 50s was an extremely young president of St. Edward’s University, head of the order in Texas of the Brothers of Holy Cross and by being that he was also the ultimate authority in our high school. Fleck’s speech was about an event, a historical Texan event that somehow unified both the high school and the university. For more, read here.
Of the reunion I will write a few blogs in the next few days. I am writing this one this Thursday June 2 and I feel no compunctions about the sporadic nature of my blogs now except to point out that where possible I will fill each day with something and I will not cheat and skip a day!
My theme for today has to do with the feeling of unsettlement. It all began last Sunday as I “checked out” of Jacques Dujarié Hall (an extremely Spartan dormitory in which bare bulbs in my room, there weren’t any, would have helped me imagine even better an imminent and brutal interrogation by the Gestapo) I noticed that my 25 year-old French hard-suitcase would not close properly. This was a Sunday in a Memorial Day weekend. There was no chance I could have gone to buy a suitcase of similar quality for a good price. I had no tools (airline security, remember?) so I left the dorm wheeling the suitcase gingerly as I thought of possible solutions. One came when I passed by Old Main (see picture) and noticed that on one side, where they park golf carts (used to transport stuff and aging alumni), they were cordoned off by stiff, yellow nylon cord. Since I did not have a knife I carefully untied the knots and wrapped the cord around my suitcase twice. I had to make it secure while keeping it easy for the homeland security guys to open my bag and confirm that my small metal tripod did not hide within it a portable AK-47.
When I went to St Joseph Hall, after having an extremely pleasant almost siesta under the trees of Old Main in a 39 degree heat (I love heat) Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. offered to cut the cord in two so that each side of the suitcase would be secured simply. I told him that after our dinner at Brother Vincent’s with Brother Thomas Fry and Mike O’Connell, Class of 1967, Mike was going to take me to an airport motel so that I could fly out Monday morning. “Mike will surely have a knife.” He did but Brother Edwin insisted in sharpening it.
At the motel I cut my left index finger horribly with the sharpened knife. I bled for quite a while and luckily the motel had Band-Aids.
My suitcase arrived in Vancouver partially open and the Homeland Guys didn’t bother to put back the second yellow cord. Missing from my suitcase (I was lucky) was one fresh double AA battery.
Whenever I am waiting for my luggage to arrive at the carousels I always think that those who say that miracles (the Catholic type) don’t happen anymore probably don't fly much. I always cite that the arrival of one’s luggage is ample proof that miracles do happen.
While waiting for the suitcase my iPhone rang. I expected it to be my wife. It wasn’t. It was the English chap from Beau Photo telling me that my order for 20 rolls of Kodak Plus-X in 120 could not be filled because the film had been discontinued in March. Now this was to be expected (but not this soon) and it was no problem for me as Ilford makes an excellent equivalent in its FP-4 120 film.
But the realization that a suitcase that had traveled with me almost around the world and that my favourite b+w film was now history unsettled me and put me more in the mode of that beckoning golden rocking chair on which I can sit and watch sunsets until the lights go out.