It was mid-May. One of those days where in the shade it’s cool and breezy, but in the sun, you schvitz. I was on West 49th Street near the corner of 6th Avenue. It had been a long day already. It was the day Lisa and I had walked from Harlem through Central Park to Rockefeller Center. It was crowded; summer was coming. The sun was setting and my feet were tired. It was time for a cupcake. In the crowd of people I noticed a woman dressed in tattered clothing, obviously homeless. Using the crowds to her advantage, she asked for money. She may have asked for other things but, being the seasoned New Yorker that I am (stop laughing, Lisa) I ignored her and stepped into the sugar sanctuary that is Magnolia Bakery.
Armed with sugar and the promise of caffeine, I braved 49th street again. This time, I noticed that the woman asking for money was sitting against the building. She looked sad, like she was a child being admonished for something. In front of her knelt a woman dressed like a 90’s mom. She was face to face with the homeless woman, holding her hands. I heard her say, “what did I tell you about doing this?” She said something about getting help. Apparently they had met before. The street was still crowded with no place to stop. Sidestepping our way down the block to an open space, Lisa turned to me and said “Why didn’t you get a picture of that?” My excuses were lame, “My hands are full and I couldn’t get to my camera.” “I’ve been taking pictures all day. All I want is this cupcake and to sit for five minutes.” The shot I didn’t take.
The truth? I didn’t take the picture for two reasons. One was that I legitimately couldn’t get to my camera in time. There were people everywhere. I’m generally a hot mess. The second, and more important reason was that I felt like I’d be invading their privacy. Whatever moment they were having was so intimate that I didn’t want to interrupt it. Did I miss an opportunity, or as Lisa puts it an “award winner”? Yea, probably. Do I regret it? Definitely. The shot I didn’t take.
Ok, Martina, let’s get this train into the station.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. It got away from me, I didn’t know what to say, am I capable of posting something without using gifs? Most importantly, how was I going to write something about a picture without having a picture to show? The internet works in mysterious ways and over the past day or two I have seen posts (from Allison & Heather) talking about putting down our phones and cameras, taking off our blogger hats and just live in the moment. In a way, that’s where I tried to go with this, but I got caught up with the CMAs, YouTube and Sam Hunting.
Bottom line: In life there’s always going to be a shot you didn’t take. Moving for that dream job, asking that cute guy/pretty girl for their number (ugh. that’s a whole ‘nother post.), literally not taking a photo of something you wanted to remember forever. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it means we’re living our lives the way we’re supposed to. We’re on the right track and we’re enjoying the view. Taking it all in. Living in the moment.
What shot didn’t you take?