June 15, 2011
About a month ago I got a cold call from Debbie, a self-described casting agent in Pasadena. The agent was looking for photographers who had good stories about a photo op they had botched, along with the photo to prove it. Someone, whom she could not name because he was such a big name in the film industry, wanted to re-create that story. “You know, like a sports photographer is taking pictures of a football game and trips on something.” It all seemed a bit dubious to me, but I told her I would try to help.
As I was driving the very next day, it hit me that I had my own botched photo story…..
I was straddling the bathtub with a flashlight and my iPhone in my hands, trying to take a picture of the window we had just installed above the tub. The flashlight was on to a) shed a bit more light on a dark area, and b) to highlight the part of the window that was missing, and for which I needed to order a replacement part. As I tried to hit the button to take the picture, the whole precarious setup fell apart. As I tried to grasp the phone falling out of my hands, I slipped. The phone and the flashlight flew out of my hands, and the camera fired off a shot, as you can see above. I think it is a picture of my face as I fall into the bathtub.
So, why did we install a window with a missing part? It all started one morning, which was the start of a very bad week. I was madly trying to meet a deadline for my next book. I had come home from a morning yoga class and had headed straight into my office; only emerging for a snack. As I walked by the bathroom I noticed that the window was broken and the shattered glass was everywhere. It looked like there was enough glass for three or four windows. But it was nothing I needed to clean up immediately and so I headed back to my desk with a snack in hand and wrote for another half hour before it hit me that the broken window was not an accident. I tore myself away, had another look and called the police. I could hardly find the words, “attempted robbery” because we live in such a bucolic neighborhood now. It seems our border collie, previously considered a barking nuisance, had put his instincts to good use scaring away the intruder.
The week went from bad to worse. Several people we knew died, cars broke down, the furnace broke and other stuff happened that I have blocked out of my mind. By Saturday, everyone in the house was whipped. So, Ken and I did what we have done during other overwhelming times. We started a garden project. When fire swept through Berkeley in 1991, Ken’s sister and husband were evacuated to our house. We left them in the house on the phone, talking to everyone they knew and put in a sweet little trellis in our back yard. When the World Trade Center went down in 2001, we built raised vegetable beds in the backyard of our new home. So, this time we headed to our local Ecopark, Urban Ore (urbanore.com) to pick up some recycled lumber for a raised tomato bed. We just love wandering around this lot, imagining how we might use the lavender bidet, the wrought iron fencing, or the old lockers.
On the way out with our $8 load of lumber, we had to pass the window “department” and Ken zeroed in on a Pella window that had the exact dimensions we needed to replace and upgrade the broken window. So, for $100 we had a double-paned window with a screen. Only the screen seemed to be too small on one end. No matter. We had it installed and I happily painted it Chinese red. At some point I realized that one section of trim was missing and that made the screen too small. So, I called Pella and they suggested we send in a photo of the window so they could see it.
I’m still waiting for that casting agent to send me the casting call for photo stories. But when she does, I’ve got mine ready to go.