[Jimbaux sure does get a kick out of that Beavis & Butthead show.]
Poetry, Prose, And The Intentionality Behind Them
You might recall that a week ago, our Sunday Sermon was written in a rhyming, poetic fashion. This is the second such post on Jimbaux’s Journal, the other being this year’s 4/20 posting.
Anyway, recent comments that I’ve received, mostly privately, have caused me to go back to the dictionary to find the meaning of a certain word. Prior to that, I had been under the impression that the word “prose” meant the following:
the ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse.
Both times I’ve posted poetic postings, I’ve had someone tell me that my “prose” was entertaining. Apparently, the definition that I had in my own mind for “prose” (what is written above) wasn’t right, and that it apparently meant the opposite of what I had thought. That, though, was until I searched for the word, and it confirmed that my own definition of the word was indeed the dictionary definition as well.
Is my poetry so terrible that it’s actually prose? If so, what about my normal prose?
Phrases Lose Meaning When You Stop Thinking About Them
Even far more weird and more copious than the ironic use of the word prose by commenters was the use of a canned old phrase about rhyming that wasn’t quite appropriate in this case since it basically discredited my writing autonomy. I have always understood the phrase “he’s a poet and doesn’t know it” (and its variations) to be a response to an accidental occurrence of rhyming by someone speaking prose and choosing his words on the spot only to realize after-the-fact that in one instance they rhymed. So, imagine my surprise when I got several replies to last week’s Sunday Sermon with that very phrase! (It’s actually happened before with other poems that I’ve written.)
Really? Do they not realize that not only was I aware that I was rhyming, but that it was also indeed intentional? It’s either that, or I just have to think that they were saying a canned phrase without thinking of what they were saying! That’s a bit like saying “you too” to the server at the restaurant when she tells you to “enjoy your meal,” which I hear happen sometimes (and heard when I briefly worked in the restaurant business.) Are you going to call her back to the table so that she can be there when you belch so that she can enjoy your meal?
I guess my friend was right when he said that it’s just easier to assume and to lump stuff together.
Shut Up And Show Us Some Train Pictures
Okay, okay. I went out on the rainy Sunday morning of June 10 not expecting to find much but hoping to get a shot or two showing and taking advantage of the rainy weather conditions. As it eventuated, I happened upon a shot opportunity that I had had in mind for years but only did now because the situation presented itself.
A New Shot, And Don’t Try This At Home
Getting this shot requires an immense amount of well-timed luck. It’s the first time I do it, even though I’ve envisioned it for years, but it may be the last time I get it too.
That’s a nice solid seat of classic lease power (a foreshadowing to what I’d see 27 days later), and a really neat sky too.
And Then, The Rains Came
I had neither the time nor the inclination to be out hunting for much longer, but upon hearing that the CSX transfer job was leaving CN Mays Yard to head back to Gentilly, I decided to get one shot before calling it a morning.
I was outside of the truck for less than 10 seconds to get that shot, and I did get a good soaking.
Now it’s time to head back to the crib. Hours later, just before dusk, it’s time to head west again on this increasingly maddening routine.
A Train With An Identity Crisis
Things got really weird in the afternoon as I was on my way to the bayou. I heard a Union Pacific crew at Avondale call the yard and say it was ready to leave. The train was the MCXEW, which is a run-through train from the CSX, being the Q601 on that railroad, but it had an NS locomotive. No big deal, as that must be an oddity of sorts, but then I got to Avondale and saw a train that looked like a normal MNSEW, which is a run-through train from the Norfolk Southern, being the 393 on that railroad. WTF?
Then, the Lafayette Sub dispatcher called the train and referred to it as the MCXEW too. WTF?
Maybe I’ll be able to shoot him in Paradís, where maybe I won’t get a truck in my way this time. I got set up for my shot on the side of the highway, and some resident comes outside and asks me if I’m okay. “Yeah, I’m fine,” I said.
“What are you doing?” he said after a brief pause. I told him that I was about to photograph the train that would be here any time now, and he then turned around and went back to his house before I could say anything else (I’d have loved to have chit-chatted and handed him a business card), but then I heard horns, causing my focus to be only on the train and getting this shot, which, despite the light streaking at the headlights due to lens fogging, I think is one of my better shots from this location:
A photographer is not responsible for other people’s barking dogs, as, in this case, a barking dog is most likely what alerted this unassuming homeowner to my presence, and I mentioned before that human beings who so easily assume things and lump things together (and, fortunately, this homeowner is not one of them) are not much different than dogs who just bark at anyone who passes in front of the house regardless of whether or not they present a threat. Those kinds of people are both dangerous and plentiful, unfortunately, as, for example, they might somehow decide that people protesting a dictatorship on a Saturday morning probably don’t have jobs. WTF?
Barking Dogs And Reed St. Pierre
In the story of Reed St. Pierre’s assuming, bullying, judging, and threatening of photographers, a reader self-referencing as “No One” commented that I had “intimidated” St. Pierre, as if the fact that St. Pierre was intimidated was somehow my responsibility. As I replied in the comments section, the active voice in No One’s statement is not fair to me (nor would be fair to you were you in that situation, and some of you have been or will be at some point) for reasons explained at the end of the previous sentence. “He was intimidated by you” would have been a far more appropriate way to say it since the intimidation is his choice and not the responsibility of the photographer.
Very similarly, if you walk on the sidewalk past your neighbor’s house and his dogs start barking because of it, even if you looked at the dog, you’re not responsible for that. (It’s a different matter, though, if you taunt the dog, but that’s not what we have here.) In the Reed St. Pierre incident, I was you as you walked past your neighbor’s house, since there’s really no reason for me to expect that someone should be intimidated by me viewing and photographing a burning cane field from busy four-lane federal highway. When he started barking at me from his field, he was the dog barking back at me and, like the dog, felt the need to come rushing to the fence (or even past the fence) to bark some more at me. Like the barking dog, he just automatically assumed I was a threat without gathering any facts to verify if that was true or not, and his unfair and condescending (if I am to interpret it like so many of you say that I should) “who you wit’?” question was a sure sign that he had already decided certain facts about me that he had not enough information to decide, hence its unfairness, and hence how his later threats were not surprising.
Is it any surprise, then, that Donovan’s recent harassment story turned out the way that it did once the officer asked him the “who are you with?” question as his first question to Donovan? The officer, like the barking dog that automatically decides that anyone passing in front of the house is a threat, automatically decided that there was no way possible that Donovan was there of his own accord and autonomy. Once the officer realized that he was wrong about his own assumptions – in other words, once he realized that Donovan was not who he (the officer) thought he was supposed to be (since it’s hard to imagine that Donovan would have gotten the same foul treatment if he worked for a newspaper) – Donovan and his friends then got harassed.
Since these incidents usually happen without any warning (I had photographed burning sugarcane fields before, and Donovan had, like Jimbaux, photographed many trains before), if you’d make decisions on what to photograph and what not to photograph based on who might be intimidated – who might choose to be intimidated – by them, that would essentially rule out almost all outdoor photography, and the world is a better place if we can see things when we are not there.
It’s just easier to assume and lump stuff together, as my friend said. It’s also usually the wrong, unfair, and condescending thing to do.
The same friend was laughing (it’s either that or despair at the hopelessness of the human race) at the assuming comments posted in my Patterson train picture. “People need to stop assuming so much,” he said after reading those comments.
Cool Loads On the MNSEW . . . I Mean, MCXEW
Gosh, this post surely turned into the polemic! Anyway, I love it when you can see the loads in train cars. Here we have poles and pipe in one picture with some sugarcane in the foreground.
What do you think of that?
Oh, well, this Sunday Sermon was more brief than the last one, and the next one will fortunately be more brief than this!