Saturday, May 24, 2014

North 2 Denton: A PhotoJournal - Part Three

Out in the wild, I had nowhere to go.

Instead of taking my chances in Greater Denton, I stayed close. Walking parallel to Oak Street, I looked in the windows of the shops on the northern end of the Square. Window-shopping is no fun when it’s just you and the knowledge that you’re broke as fuck.

I jaywalked across Oak, back onto the courthouse grounds.

Ambling around the place, I had the real urge to get back on the train and take my ass home. Little money, nothing to do, what the fuck was I supposed to do until 8PM?

I set myself down on a bench and looked around for some refuge. The comic book store and candy store had no real place to relax. You either looked for things or got out. There were restaurants on the west side, but again, “buy something or GTFO.” Behind me, and next to the Mini-Mall was Jupiter House, a coffeeshop.

Another jaywalk across Locust and I thrust open the iciness that was Jupiter House. It’s a nice looking coffee shop. Red brick walls lined with art (for sale); WiFi; tables to study or hang with your friend. I sat down at a middle table (of which my equipment took up all the space) and got in touch with my friends at UNT.

For Sale • © 2013 Eddie Sigala
(Note: each of those pieces sold for $95. Like no.)

When I had first planned the trip, I had decided to visit some friends at UNT. Using the WiFi at Jupiter House (thanks), I got in touch with them. They had a concert that night on the west side of campus. The DCTA bus stop was on the east side, and I was not walking a mile-and-a-half in the sun. Fuck that shit.

Comfortable in the cold, I had no idea what to do. Forty miles from home with a three-hour train ride in-between. That in mind, I decided to take advantage of being so far from home. I gathered my stuff and said goodbye to the air-conditioned Jupiter House after half-an-hour.

To figure my plan of action, I went back to the bench next to the courthouse. It was in a real shady area, and it became windy. The gods were looking down upon poor Eddie.

Forgiving Skies

As I sat there, I noticed a guy playing his guitar not too far from me. I battled whether or not to ask for a picture for 10 minutes. At the end, I just got the balls and did it.

He was playing a smooth melody when I stumbled up to him.

“Excuse me.” He shot up.

“Is it OK if I take your picture? I was sitting over there and couldn’t help noticing you.”

“Yeah man, go ahead.”

He stopped strumming and stood still. I snapped three photos of him before I asked him if it was OK that I would get closer. He obliged, and went back to strumming.

Cody K. Portraits  #3, #4, #7BW, #14

Twenty-seven photos and video recording later, I asked if I could take a photo or two of his face. He declined at first, but I told him that it was my job to make him look good in the pictures. 

I asked him to smile, but he told me he didn't look good smiling.

 Cody K. Portraits #2 & #3

After taking a few headshots, I asked to take a DigiChrome. After explaining it (half-assed), he agreed.*

After taking the DigiChrome trio, I thanked him for his time. Thinking that was gonna be the end of it, I almost walked away, but he slid over on the bench and offered me a cigarette.**



We talked for about ten minutes about our situations. He asked what I was doing in Denton, and I told him exactly what (accompanying friend and taking pictures). I asked about his, and he told me some personal things (which I won’t write about without his permission). It’s surprising how two strangers can talk with each other.

Something I am sure we talked about was life. He might have mentioned something about doing what you love, and I added that while you have responsibilities, you make time for your passions. I think we also got into how it could be monotonous and how you had to try to live the way you want, not how others expect you to do so. 

Totes deep, bro. Totes deep.

I could have talked the afternoon away (like René on the train), but he had to go. We did exchange contact information, and he was on his way.

With a big boost in confidence, I walked around the courthouse grounds, seeing who my next victims would be. There was this family on the southwestern lawn in the grass, so I decided they’d be next. I approached as normal as I could.

When I got to them, I asked straight up, “Can I take your pictures?”
The mom immediately said “no”. The dad almost did, too, but I interjected, “They’re free!”
The mom did a 180. “Oh OK, sure!"

Family in the Park Portraits #3 & #1
Picture-perfect family guys.

Fine Arts
By now, it was about 4.30PM. I walked around the Square some more before settling on a bench at Oak and Elm. Lupe had lent me her copy of The Fault in Our Stars, a book about two white teenagers who fall in love.

(I only finished that book recently, and John Green is just out to make you cry. And also to make you wish you could meet a white guy, too. But that movie, coming out next week, looks annoying AF (thanks to the previews)).

At 5PM, I walked back to Jupiter House. As I got there, I noticed a roving band of hipster retro-photographers. Literally. There was this one guy with a Polaroid camera as old as my parents.

I had decided while reading that I couldn’t justify being in Denton three more hours. No one to see, nothing to look at, I looked up the DCTA schedule. The next train left at 6.30, and the next bus left at 5.35.
Case in point, Cody had offered to meet-up again later that evening, but I knew the last train left Denton at 9. I would have gladly stayed, but the last TRE train from Union Station to Centreport was at 9PM too. I would have been stuck in Dallas, although thinking about it now, I could have taken a few bus connections.
After staying too long at Jupiter House, I had to run to make the bus connection at Locust and Hickory. A short ride to the DDTC, it was an hour wait before the train arrived from Carrollton. 

As the train headed south, it made me think of how much I’ve never seen in this Rhode Island-sized metropolis. The sun was finally setting, and the day was ending. “And in that moment, I swear [I was] infinite.”

Just kidding. It was a great sight, though.

In Part IV, a long layover, a cop-stop, and a ride with an Indian woman.


* The DigiChrome didn't come out any differently than the other color images, so I decided to omit it.
** I was 19 when this happened, so I was old enough for that cigarette in case you were wondering.