the golden age

photograph by nicholas burke.

Colour photographs of 1930’s America.

Not having a camera is beginning to kill me in tiny paces. It’s been two weeks, but I still reach for it every time I leave the house. I wake up at night, ideas battering like moths inside of my skin, things I want to do, but can’t do anything about. I need a miracle, an oracle to sweep out of the clouds and tell me what to do. Stand over the smoke, hallucinate, find another way to make money, another way to try and get my equipment capabilities back. It’s always a matter of money. Living under debt, everything is a negative, everything is already earmarked to go to someone else. All pay-cheques are split in half, and then there’s a line-up of other hungry details. Rent, utilities, cat supplies, groceries, always in that order. After that, when I’m lucky, I find a sale on something tiny I can use to improve the house. Plus, too, I’m trying to figure out how to pay for a trip back east to see Katie and maybe stop by Montreal for a visit. Work will let me take two weeks as long as I can work remotely, but then I’ll need a lap-top with net, something else currently out of reach.

Early 20th c. George Eastman House photos now on Flickr

Not having photo ID has become crippling as well, in strange little ways I never thought about before. A friend is coming in to Seattle from NZ, and I want to see him very much. We’ve known each other for years and never had a chance to hug. I worry my ID won’t arrive in time. It’s in the mail, ready to arrive any day now, but never today. Weeks of waiting, of being in limbo, not existing to any institution larger than a penny. At the ER, the administration and I had to weave a path back almost ten years of phone numbers and addresses to discover I exist, answering esoteric questions about street names and parental middle names in order to prove I’m not masquerading, a foreign impostor with a damaged foot, trying to ride the system for free. (For the record, I’ll be fine in a few days. No bones were broken, the muscles were “merely crushed,” said the doctor with a smile.) I can’t imagine what hoops might exist at the border, what strange marks would be made on my record if I arrived without picture ID. It’s bad enough crossing the line without a passport, trying without an image, a government shot of what I look like nervous in the ICBC office, is beyond me.

Who We Were: a snapshot history of America