Dust Gathered on the GlassTuesday, March 19, 2019
|Photograph - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward
I proudly remember changing the sparkplugs on my Mexican VW Beatle when we were living in Burnaby in the late 70s. I would then turn the distributor a bit to the left or right and go up a hill until it was in the right place.
Because Mexican gasoline had so many impurities, before we moved to Vancouver I would remove my VW’s gasoline tank and clean the sludge with paint thinner. The sludge was there even though I had an additional gas line filter.
For many years I repaired many of my cameras and I feel that I am not all that mechanically uninclined. All that changed in the 90s when I started using computers. For a few years I wrote articles for the Vancouver Sun and a garden column for Western Living using email since I did not know how to use Word.
In this March, 2019 my monitor is a Dell Cathode Ray Tube unit and my Photoshop is 14 years old. Six years ago my Rosemary urged me to acquire a digital camera (a Fuji X-E1). I now also have an X-E3. Whenever there is something about my camera that is beyond my comprehension go to Jeff Gin at Leo’s for help (a good reason buy a digital camera there if you are a Luddite as I am).
In that last century I was a good photographer because I was “cutting edge” with film cameras and lighting systems.
In this century all that is very old hat.
That brings me to this!
My eldest daughter Ale left for Puerto Vallarta/ Guadalajara yesterday. I sent books, films and music CDS to her godfather (and my friend since 1961) Andrew Taylor. I vowed three years ago to no longer buy books but get them at our excellent Vancouver Public Library.
While in Venice I found out that Donna Leon had just published her 27th Commissario Brunetti novel, Unto Us a Son is Given. To read it I would have to put my name under a long list of others clamouring to read it. Then I had an idea. If I bought it Saturday and read it on Saturday night and Sunday night I could send it to Andrew with a smile on my face!
But there was this:
Gonzalo appeared a few times in magazines like Chi and Gente, but as time passed, the photos grew fewer and smaller and moved further towards the back of magazines. When Brunetti thought about the photos that accompanied the articles, it seemed to him that Gonzalo had grown not only older, but paler and less vibrant.
This, Brunetti knew, was what happened to people who retired. Like photos left too long on the wall, their colours began to fade. Hair followed life and began to grow dim, the brightness of their eyes diminished. A strong jawline became harder to see; skin dried and grew more fragile. They remained the same people, but they began to disappear. Certainly, others no longer noticed them, nor what they wore nor what they said or did. They were there, hanging suspended, washed out and considered useless, trapped behind the glass of age. Dust gathered on the glass, and one day they weren’t there on the wall among the other fading photos, and soon after that people began to forget what they looked like or what they said.
‘Oh how very clever you are,’ Brunetti said to himself.