The Past

The other night I sat watching the Cleveland Cavaliers playing the Washington Wizards.

With twelve seconds left the Wizards went ahead 118 to 117 after making a free throw.

Maybe you don’t care about sports – but this is relevant.

LeBron James takes the ball the entire length of the court. I’m thinking “slow it down; you’ll give them the ball with too much time left.”

LeBron doesn’t listen to me.

He never listens to me.

He dribbles the ball just past the free throw line, travels, and misses an easy layup.

That’s right. He gets a clear shot at the basket from inches away and misses.

That never happens.

I turn the television off. The Wizards are getting the ball back with almost no time left on the clock and they’re ahead by a point.

One of Kim’s friends from work texts me, “Wow”. She and I often text back and forth during Cavs games.

“Hmmm,” I think. Something happened or she would have texted something about she can’t believe that’s how they lost.

I turn the game back on to see a replay of Kevin Love inbounding the ball three quarters of the length of the court to LeBron who turns and shoots one of those impossible shots with virtually no time left on the clock and makes it.

So many lessons there.

Why did I turn off the game in the first place?

Because, when you miss a layup and give the team that’s ahead the ball with just a few seconds left, we all know how this is going to end.

Except it didn’t.

The Cavs went on to win in overtime.

They won without LeBron who fouled out. LeBron never fouls out. The Cavs never win without LeBron.

You never know.

Play til the end.

But every time this happened in the past it ended badly.

The past is the past. It happened. What did we learn from it. We can’t forget the past but we also can’t let it keep us from our future.

And then there’s the lesson of the final shot in regulation.

What gives you the strength to look at the basket from that far away and launch an impossible shot when you just missed the easiest shot in the game uncontested.

The past is the past.

It’s so hard not to be imprisoned by the moment you’re in or by the past.

LeBron said that they practice that shot. They prepare for it. He didn’t talk about the missed layup so much as the preparation that went into the attempt.

I live a life where my wife and daughter died. It defines and shapes me every day.

I don’t put it behind me.

I don’t forget it happened.

But I’m back taking those impossible shots.

I prepare for them. I practice things that give me a chance at succeeding. I move to an open spot and turn to see if someone is passing me the ball.

There is no shot clock in life. We don’t know how much time is left on the clock. We can’t wait to take that shot or time could expire.

Too much?

Maybe.

Hit me, I’m open.

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Social Skills

A friend texted me last week that he thought he’d lost all of his social skills. He was at a social event surrounded by people and didn’t really know how to engage with them.

I feel that.

Someone pops up on IM or in Facebook and says something nice and asks me how my day is going.

I immediately feel great. I engage and I over answer and find that they’ve wandered away.

Their day is busy.

It’s not that they don’t care.

Their day is busy.

I try to be grateful that they took time in that busy day to reach out. They actually do probably care. But, you know…

Their day is busy.

I’m doing better at it but I seem to lack the ability to pick up on the social cues that tell me when they ask,  “how are you doing?” what it is they want me to say.

Do they want, “Fine, how are you?” or do they want “Well, …” followed by a complete answer.

And when they walk away, did they walk away because of something I said or was the real world calling them. A deadline, a client, a co-worker, a phone call, …

Were they fitting me in on their way somewhere and I just took longer than they allotted.

Sometimes they check back in hours later with a “sorry, I got pulled into a meeting.” I understand. Really, I do.

I’m overreacting when they appear and overreacting when they disappear.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t reach out. It’s just to say you may need to be more explicit than you might think. “Hey, I’m waiting outside my son’s soccer practice and have a few minutes to catch up.”

My brother does that and it’s perfect. We talk more often and I understand his time constraints.

At first I thought my lack of sensitivity to social cues  was because it’s been a long time since I was single – but that’s not it.

First, I was no better at this last time I was single. We just didn’t have text and email and Facebook then.

Second, over the years since,  I could have shown an email exchange or a text conversation to Kim and asked “what do you think?”

She would either have shaken her head and told me, “you’re being ridiculous” or she would have paused and considered and said, “I think you’re right.”

It’s funny, because as I write this I’m listening to Jackson Browne’s “The Load Out”. He’s singing about playing big stadium concerts and traveling from show to show. Clearly, he’s doing well.

And yet he’s so dependent on his audience.

There’s a verse as “The Load Out” transitions to “Stay” where he sings:

“You’ve got the power over what we do, You can sit there and wait or you can pull us through.”

Like it or not, it’s true.

Yesterday I wrote about being more secure in ourselves. And I am.

But we still live in our heads and imagine what’s in other people’s heads.

We brighten at encouragement from others and wither when we feel ignored.

 

Published in: on February 7, 2017 at 10:05 am  Comments (1)  

I’m Me

Kathie, a friend of Kim’s posted a quote from Cave Girl on Facebook. It read, in part:

“I’m me. I eat food, I have curves, I carry a little more weight than I should, I have scars, I have a history, some people love me, some people like me, some can’t stand me.”

I love that.

That, to me, is the beauty in aging.

We get more comfortable in ourselves.

We aren’t worried what other people will think.

Think of all the things we didn’t do because of what other people might think. Places we didn’t go to, movies we didn’t see, people we didn’t take the time to get to know.

The loss was ours.

There’s that truth we all live: life is long and at the same time life is short.

How do we live and serve both thoughts.

We shouldn’t live selfishly and hedonistically just for today because life is long.

We shouldn’t put off happiness and kindness because we’ll always have time, because maybe we won’t.

We balance making ourselves and others happy. We find ourselves happier when those around us are happy.

We find that our kindness is sometimes rebuffed but often rewarded.

We lose it all when we live trapped by what we think other people might think. In our heads it’s huge. Everyone notices.

Everyone.

 

And then we find out years later that it was mostly in our own head. The others were so busy with their lives that they barely noticed this thing we thought they cared so much about.

The loss was ours.

Someone texted me yesterday because she thought she smelled smoke or something burning in her house.

I encouraged her to call the fire department. They have a non-emergency number. Tell them it may be nothing but you just wanted to ask them about it.

She’d been up for hours worried about it. She had read that they’ll send a lot of trucks anyway. She didn’t want to make the news.

No, I texted her, much better for the headline to read “Woman dies in house fire because she’s too embarrassed to call the fire department.”

We worry so much about other people.

After not dating for a while, I dated a lot of women before I met Kim. None of them worked out.

What was different about Kim?

A lot of it was her, but some of it was me. I paused to make sure I was happy with who I was. I made changes til I was. Then I was ready to meet Kim.

By the time we started dating we both had become rooted in ourselves. We understood who we were. We didn’t “put on airs.”

Kim and I used to have a friend who we’d see now and then. Often he’d have a woman with him. There was one particular story he’d tell if this was a woman he was interested in.

He became that person for the woman he wanted. We always wanted him to stay himself. That way he could be sure he was the person she wanted.

I want to surround myself with people who are who they are.

I was spoiled for twenty-five years by being with someone who was so authentic.

Kim didn’t wear much makeup – her mom told me it was my fault. That I didn’t want Kim to look so good that other men would hit on her.

I smiled.

I never told Kim what to or not to wear. She sometimes wore makeup when we went out – but not that often.

The first winter we were married Kim said, “Sorry honey, I’m just not going to shave my legs during the winter. No one but you sees them anyway.”

It sounds silly, but those are the things that made her more attractive.

Cave Girl wrote, “I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I am who I am.”

 

Published in: on February 5, 2017 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Valentine’s Day

The Christmas candy display at our local grocery store changed to Valentines candy more than a month ago. I’m sure it will change to Easter candy on the fifteenth.

I don’t know what they do during the big candy lull between Easter and sometime in September when the Halloween candy goes out.

I suppose the display turns to chips and beer for Memorial Day, Independence Day, then Labor Day.

As the British say, “that’s sorted, then.”

This will be the first Valentine’s Day that I’ve been without Kim in twenty-four years.

Yes, we went out for the first time before Valentine’s Day but we weren’t in a “we have to be together for this” relationship yet. I think I worked Valentine’s Day that year. At the time I was working on-air in radio and think I was hosting some party somewhere.

The following year I proposed to Kim on Valentine’s Day – but not really because it was Valentine’s Day.

I was working on Valentine’s Day eve. I was hosting a midnight show at a comedy club and Kim was with me as were our friends Bill and Jodelle.

Don’t worry. I didn’t propose to Kim from the stage. That would have been uncomfortable for her and for me.

Bill and Jodelle had helped get me sign language font. Kim had learned to sign years ago and so I typed “Will you marry me?” finger spelled out on a piece of paper.

After the show, Kim and I went back to her apartment.

In the morning I got up to meet a friend at the gym. Kim was going to sleep a bit more then go to church. We planned to meet for breakfast at our favorite diner.

I left the piece of paper on the mirror in the bathroom so that she’d see it when she woke up.

I went and worked out, showered, and then headed over to the diner to meet Kim.

She already had a table and there was coffee for the two of us.

She looked at me and signed “Yes”.

We never celebrated Valentine’s Day while we were married. We didn’t like to do things just because other people said we should.

I never bought her flowers on Valentine’s Day. I bought her flowers when I was at the grocery store and something caught my eye.

It could be just some random day like today when I’d come home with flowers.

Kim never asked “why”, she always said the same thing, “oh, they’re beautiful.” Then she would get a vase and arrange them nicely and put them out.

Friends would come over and ask, “what’s the occasion?”

“Nothing special,” Kim would say, “Daniel just saw them and liked them.”

The flowers would open up and become more beautiful. Then they’d slowly fade and drop petals and shrivel.

The moment would be gone.

It’s actually not true that there were no traditions for flowers. I brought Kim flowers in the hospital when she was pregnant with Elena. After Elena died I always bought those same flowers on Elena’s birthday.

Probably not this year.

A friend texted last night to see how I’m doing. He asked how my day was.

“Productive,” I texted back.

And it was. Suddenly I’m working more and thinking more clearly. I remember things about Kim but it doesn’t hurt the way it did. It doesn’t hurt all the time – but when it hits it hits hard.

The candy is out for Valentine’s Day.

I don’t remember caring much either way about being alone on Valentine’s Day before I met Kim. I just know not to go out that night because the restaurants are all full.

I know people who feel lonely and sad on Valentine’s Day. I never did before. I don’t expect to this year.

I think it will be like flowers. I won’t feel lonely and sad on a specific designated day.

There will just be days now and then where I feel lonely and sad.

As productive as yesterday was, there was a moment towards the end of the day where it hit me hard.

I continued to work but there were tears that I wasn’t bothering to fight back.

What’s the occasion?

Nothing special.

A wave of loneliness and sadness washed over me.

And then…

The moment was gone.

Published in: on February 4, 2017 at 8:31 am  Comments (1)  

First Date

The Wednesday that Maggie and I were in Paris was the twenty-fifth anniversary of my first date with her mother.

Kim and I first went out “on a date” on January 25th.

January 25th, on the 25th anniversary of Kim and my first date, Maggie and I went to a restaurant in Paris that Kim and I had visited each year.

Maggie and I sat at one of the tables in the kitchen. It was the only meal that week that I ordered wine with dinner.

Cheers Kimmy.

Twenty five years earlier Kim and I  went to see the “Heidi Chronicles” at the Cleveland Playhouse and then went to the University Circle Arabica and talked until they closed.

We went out off and on for the next few months but it wasn’t serious enough for her to take me to her sister’s wedding as her date.

That never bothered me but Carolyn still shakes her head when she thinks about it. “She didn’t bring you?”

She didn’t bring me.

Kim’s friends and families prepared big boards filled with pictures of her over the years for her wake and funeral. One of them was a picture I’d never seen of the flowers I’d had delivered to Kim in-flight on her way back from a cruise with her girl friends.

Even that wasn’t enough to tip our relationship into really dating.

Kim always said that what did it was when I told her, “enough. I really want to go out with you, but if you’re not interested, I’m going to go out with other women.”

And I did.

Once.

That was July 25th.

I came home from my date with another woman to find Kim waiting for me.

January 25th was the day I first went out with the woman I wanted to marry. July 25th was the day we both knew it would happen.

Although there was that day that I saw her with jet black hair and a bad perm and asked her when it could go back. I immediately knew that that was wrong. I could have lost her right then and there. Fortunately, I didn’t.

I proposed to her on Valentine’s Day and we were married August 8th.

We’d just gotten to the point where Kim could remember all of those dates (and my birthday). She probably remembered the date I made the hair comment. I didn’t.

January 25th is always a special day for me.

It’s the anniversary of my first date with Kimmy.

 

 

Published in: on February 3, 2017 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Candles

Maggie and I were in Paris last week.

I gave a two day Swift training and MC’d the third edition of the wonderful dotSwift conference.

Kim and I loved to go to Paris. We went two years ago when I spoke at the first conference and last year when I returned to present training and MC the second one. We love the folks who run the conference, we love the city, and most of all we loved being there together.

It was a hard trip.

It would have been harder without Maggie. She’s easy to travel with, independent, and also enjoys many of the same things I enjoy. Like her mom, Maggie saved the things she knew I wouldn’t care for for the days when she was on her own.

In her passion for things, in her evaluation of others, in her commentary on our trip, Maggie is so much her mother.

We landed Sunday morning, dropped our bags at the hotel and took the Metro to the Picasso museum. We stopped on the way and had lunch at a cafe Kim and I had eaten at the year before.

It’s hard.

I didn’t want to just take Maggie to places her parents had been – but this place was good and convenient. Just down the street from the museum.

We spent a few hours in the museum. I was amazed at how different it was then last time. I checked my phone for pictures I’d taken. Pictures that were no longer on the walls. They rotate through their large collection and refresh what’s on display, I think, yearly.

Maggie and I walked to the Metro and took it to Sacre Coeur.

We planned to have dinner at a Crepe place that Kim and I loved – one that served buckwheat crepes cooked perfectly and presented beautifully.

In the meantime we walked the streets of Monmartre up to the church at the top of the hill.

It was a hazy day. Not the clearest view of Paris from up there. Maggie would get some great pictures a week later, the night before we left.

We had a list of people to buy presents for on our trip and a list of people to light candles for.

Maggie had sat at our dining room table and asked me for names and written them down.

Five dead. Catholics who would appreciate a candle being lit for them at this church of the Sacred Heart.

When I later looked at the list there were six candles to light for the dead. Below the other names Maggie had written “Democracy”. I know. She is so much my daughter.

It always interested Kim and me that both our daughters had so much of each of us as part of them – yet they each seemed to have chosen different parts.

We entered the church during a service. Neither of us practicing Catholics. Both of us quiet and respectful. We edged past people standing next to signs asking them not to film the service holding their phones and recording the service.

We walked around to the shrine and I left Maggie to get change from the gift shop. I headed back.

I’d watched Kim light candles since we were married.

For the last ten years I’d stood next to her while she lit candles for Elena.

Maggie lit five candles and said prayers for each.

She lit candles for the husband and child of a friend and co-worker of Kim’s.

She lit a candle for Danny.

Danny.

Danny was the brother of the wife of Kim’s uncle. Though that’s true, that implies more distance between them than there was.

Kim’s uncle Peter was halfway between her age and her mom’s. She remembers going to watch his high school games. She remembers when he first dated Mary Kay. Kim had a really close relationship with Mary Kay. They spoke without nonsense and Kim just loved Peter and Mary Kay’s kids..

Kim had become close with Mary Kay’s siblings and their families. It took me a while to figure out who was related to whom because Kim seemed related to all of them.

There was something special about Kim and Danny. They were each very fond of each other and always looked out for each other. Kim loved when we would see Danny at Peter and Mary Kay’s house.

He welcomed me like family from the first time I met him. He was one of those guys that you just feel comfortable around immediately.

Kim and Danny were partners at Peter and Mary Kay’s wedding. They were about the same age. They both died last year.

Danny died a year ago just before Kim and I left for Paris.

This year in Paris Maggie lit a candle for Danny.

Watching Kim light candles for Elena was gut-wrenchingly hard. Sharing that moment with her. Standing near. So sad. So hard.

That said, nothing

nothing

absolutely nothing

can prepare you for that moment when you watch your daughter light candles for her dead mother and for her dead sister.

Nothing.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 7:41 am  Comments (2)  

January Addendum

The Garfield Court invited me to submit a victim statement for the criminal case for the driver who killed Kim.

The final pre-trial hearing was Tuesday. This was my final addendum to the victim impact statement.

By the way, today it’s been five months since the accident.

========

I wrote the victim impact statement three months ago for the pre-trial date of October 18, 2016. This is the third addendum. Thursday will have been five months since the defendant’s semi ran into Kim’s car.

I don’t know how Christmas was in the home of the defendant. I know it wasn’t nearly the same at our house.

Friends and family supported us through Christmas Eve and Christmas. They were wonderful, thoughtful, and supportive. I asked Kim’s cousins and mom’s of Maggie’s friends what a 20 year old girl would want for Christmas. You know – other than to still have her mother.

In our house Christmas Eve and Christmas were Kim’s holidays. She loved Christmas. She loved unwrapping each ornament. She loved decorating the house. She loved mulling cider and sitting under a blanket listening to Christmas music waiting for our daughter to wake up and come downstairs Christmas morning.

I did the best I could but it just wasn’t the same.

Turns out even someone my age really just wants one thing for Christmas. The thing the defendant took from us.

A week later we had the same friends over for New Year’s Eve that we’ve had over for more than a decade. I’ve known the husband for more than thirty years. I’ve known his wife for more than fifty years. The only thing missing was my wife of more than twenty years.

Maudlin? Perhaps. But you want to know the impact of the loss.

There’s also the nuts and bolts. I didn’t work at all in September or October. I’m self-employed and couldn’t travel to teach. I started to revise my book in November but had missed an important deadline in September – those sales are lost forever. I made no money in September. I made $14 in October. I sold one copy of an older book.

I’m beginning to work again but who knows if the business will come back. People have been so nice – but business is business.

Mostly though, there’s Maggie.

Maggie is smart, independent, funny, resourceful, … she’s so many things I admire. But Maggie is 20. There are times she still needs her mother.

There are some things a 20 year old young woman would rather ask her mother than her father.

She doesn’t have that option.

I answer the best I can but there’s so much I don’t know.

What about medical insurance? For now we are paying to stay on Kim’s via COBRA but with changes coming to insurance laws I don’t know what I’ll need to do to keep Maggie insured. I thought we wouldn’t have to worry until she was 26.

More nuts and bolts. We used to use Kim’s income to pay for our medical insurance. That’s obviously not an option anymore.

I expect we’ll figure things out and get by. But you asked what the impact is on us.

Every time we get a medical bill I think of Kim. She used to take care of these. She’d call the insurance company and take care of charges that were denied or whatever. I don’t understand any of that.

One of the interesting facets of having this pre-trial go on for so long is that I’m beginning to understand the depth of the loss beyond the “I really miss her” phase.

Thank goodness for Kim’s family. Thank goodness for my family. Thank goodness for Maggie. Thank goodness for all of our friends.

There’s much to be thankful for.

But this is a huge loss in ways that I get better at articulating as the legal proceedings drag on.

Published in: on January 19, 2017 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  

And Back

A friend posted a note that ended “Love you both to the moon and back” and it reminded me of a book Kim used to read to Elena.

We both read to the girls a lot when they were little but there were some books they wanted Kim to read and some books they wanted me to read.

Kim always read “Little Bear” to Elena and she always read her “Guess How Much I Love You”.

Elena was our second child but Kim’s first birth.

We constantly had to explain that. I remember our first time at the childbirth class when Kim mentioned Maggie to someone and they said, “wait, this isn’t your first child?”

Kim’s family threw her a baby shower. We had nothing for the first year of a baby’s life as we didn’t meet Maggie until just after her first birthday.

A mother of a friend of mine gave us “Guess How Much I Love You” and told Kim how much she’d loved the story and the pictures.

I remember our family singing “I see the moon” when long car drives spilled over into the night time and the moon came out.

The point of the song was that even if I’m not with the one I love, we both look up to the sky and see the same moon.

That moon so far away is somehow joining two of us together.

Somehow, just as the sun reflects off the moon and I see it, my love reflects off the moon and they see it.

My love has travelled to the moon and back.

And yet.

It turns out the internet has arguments about that phrase.

Some people hate those on Facebook and elsewhere that use it.

“Why the moon?” some ask. “Why not a more distant planet?”

“Why the moon?” some ask. “Why not use a more precise measurement that has meaning?”

Shut up.

Is there no poetry in your life?

It reminds me of that early date with Kim where I made her get out of the car to look at the moon with me.

It reminds me that this year she took me outside because she’d noticed how beautiful the moon looked in the sky and I cried because she had noticed.

Kim used to read “Guess How Much I Love You” to Elena while Maggie sat nearby pretending not to listen.

The Little Nutbrown Hare would say to the Big Nutbrown Hare, “I love you up to the moon.”

The Big Nutbrown Hare didn’t say, “only the moon? Why not the stars?”

The Big Nutbrown Hare didn’t say, “really, that’s only a couple hundred thousand miles.”

No, the Big Nutbrown Hare said, “Oh, that’s far.”

In searching for the exact dialog I saw something I don’t think I ever knew about the story. The Little Nutbrown Hare and the Big Nutbrown hare are both males in the story. I always saw the story with Elena and Kim occupying those characters and thought they were both female.

It’s a story about a father and a son.

It’s a story about a love and a bond and the internet can just shut up.

If you do,

if you just shut up and embrace the story,

if you just hear the phrase,

you’ll feel the warmth when the Big Nutbrown Hare kisses the Little Nutbrown Hare goodnight, lays down nearby and whispers with a smile,

“I love you to the moon and back.”

 

Published in: on January 14, 2017 at 9:44 am  Comments (1)  

The Look

When you look at your co-worker what do you see? Do you see someone you work together with? Someone you want to see succeed?

What if you’re higher up in the organization than they are? Do you look at them with a look that says “man, I appreciate all you do.”? Do you have their back even behind their back? Do you let other people know how much you’re glad you have them working with you.

There was a moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at Joe Biden and you saw what kind of man each of them was.

This wasn’t a “he works for me but all the good that happens here is ’cause of me” kind of look. It was a “I’m so glad I had you with me on this journey” look.

I used to make fun of Kim when she’d tell me that this celebrity was a nice person.

“Why,” I’d tease, “because of what they show you on TV?”

“I know,” she’d say, “but I can just tell.”

She loved Joe Biden. She just knew he was a nice man. She loved Barrack Obama. She knew he was someone special from the first time she saw him.

Even though it was on TV, I think she was right.

There was a moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at his children and you saw the kind of dad he is and the kind of dad he wants to be.

It was a moment on TV. It was scripted. He knew he was being watched by millions. It still felt real to me.

I’ve seen a lot of politicians say things about their kids. This felt different.

I know that look a dad has when he looks at his children and his chest swells with pride knowing he had almost nothing to do with how great his children have become.

I have that look on my face sometimes when I look at Maggie. I don’t even mind that she rolls her eyes when she catches me doing it.

Someday she’ll know.

There was a moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at me. He told me to be vigilant but not afraid. He didn’t tell me that I can. He has never told me that I can. He told me again that we can.

It’s the African saying we learned at Upward Bound: I am because we are and because we are, therefore I am.

We are.

We can.

But the moment I loved the most was the moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at Michelle. You could see the rest of the room disappear for that moment and all he could see was her.

I thought this morning of Duncan’s iconic photo of the iPhone. He didn’t just capture the phone. He captured the people looking at the phone.

In that moment during the farewell speech we saw Michelle and we saw her husband, her partner, her best friend, and her biggest fan looking at her with a look that was indescribably wonderful, respectful, deep, and so full of love.

May you find someone you look at that way.

May you find someone who looks at you that way.

I did. It made me better in every way.

I am because we are and because we are, therefore I am.

Published in: on January 12, 2017 at 10:19 am  Comments (1)  

Look Again

The iPhone was introduced ten years ago.

Kim bought me my first iPhone for my birthday that year.

I don’t think I would have bought one for myself.

She was always smarter about that sort of thing. She pointed to my Motorola phone and said, “you can’t pull that out when you’re at Apple. You need their phone.”

She was right.

The first picture I took with the phone was of Maggie.

Elena had been dead for more than a year. Unbelievable.

That picture of Maggie is still my lock screen image on my phone. I love that picture.

My background picture is of Kim and Maggie from the Shaker Heights marching band trip to Turkey. It’s the two of them at Ephesus.

I was lucky enough to be at the keynote where Steve Jobs introduced us to the iPhone.

If I wanted to send the simple message “Hello” on my Motorola phone I had to press a lot of buttons. You had to press the 4 button many times to get an upper case “H”. The 4 button was g, h, i, G, H, I. Typing a message with the phone took time.

There were so many innovations that are now just expected.

When I used to listen to my phone messages on the Motorola I had to press all sorts of buttons to move forward to the one that I wanted. Until the iPhone we couldn’t glance down at our messages and select the one we want. Heck, now we can even see a beta transcript of the call and see what it’s about without listening to it.

I loved Jobs presentations.

He really was one of a kind.

After his presentation we wandered over to the show floor to catch up with friends and to see what the vendors were offering.

In the middle of the floor was a glass case with an iPhone inside and guards standing nearby.

People crowded the case all day. You couldn’t get near it.

People pushed up close just to see it. Others stood even closer to get a picture of it.

These were the old days. They had to use cameras. You couldn’t take pictures with your phone.

I was working with Duncan on a project for Apple business featuring some of developers. I recorded interviews with them and Duncan took their pictures.

At the end of the day the show floor was closing and we headed for the door.

“Hang on,” he said and reached for his camera.

There were only a few people around the glass case with the iPhone.

Duncan didn’t wait for them to move on. He didn’t wait for the area to clear. He didn’t move in too close. He didn’t avoid the reflections of the glass case.

I watched him frame what became the iconic picture of the iPhone display.

The story wasn’t just the device. It was the device on display in the case and the looks on the faces of the people as they pressed close to check it out.

Then and at other times Duncan taught me to look.

Then he taught me to look again.

Sometimes you don’t see the story when you first look at something. Sometimes the story is contained in the faces of the other people looking. Sometimes the story reveals itself when you get close, far, high, low, or shoot til you don’t notice you’re taking the pictures anymore.

Look.

Then look again.

Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment