“Fuck,” Paul mumbled as he got up at 5:45 AM because he promised himself he would take some sunrise shots. “Oh well, might as well. I did promise myself to try different ISO settings.” He pulled on his shorts and tee shirt from the day before, grabbed the tripoded Nikon and set out across the street. The idea is to set up way before sunrise to catch the pre-sunrise aurora.
“The beach is so much nicer with no one here”, he thought. It was now 5:55. He set up the camera and took a few shots from different vantage points with different ISO settings as the clouds turned purple and pink, then orange and yellow. Some of these may be sales worthy, wondering how much better they would be than if he used his I-phone.
Waiting patiently for the scheduled 6:11 ball of light, he sent off some really good Instagrams of his tripoded Nikon looking at the soon to happen sunrise. Only it didn’t happen. The sun was supposed to rise over the opposite shore of the low tided bay, but this lucky morning it was shrouded in fog and there was nothing to capture. “For this I got up so early?” He pulled his shit together and headed back across the street, around the back of the house, up the what now seemed like too long a staircase, and back into his room. He closed the blinds and went back to sleep.
It’s 8:30 at Café Atlantique, the place Paul couldn’t find the day before. Nice place. Good croissant. Decent cappuccino. Good table by the window to gaze at the railroad trestle, pink real estate agency, and whatever cars drive by. Diagonally across the street is a huge Caldwell Banker Real Estate billboard with pictures of each of its local agents and in the center, the manager. Having nothing better to do, Paul counts them. Forty-three. Of the forty -three, eight are male. Of the forty-three one is African American. The manager is an older white guy. Yep this is Connecticut.
Inside, the banter between the two millenials at the counter and one customer/friend with green and purple hair with way too many tattoos is too reminiscent of the bar from last night. Green hair tells them about a fat dog that couldn’t walk 50 feet without laying down and what fat means. Paul couldn’t help laughing to himself while seeing that she was, dressed in obligatory overstretched leggings that were way too small, what fat means. Do people really not see themselves?
Did Harvey Fierstein just come in? Nope. That’s an actual woman. Paul asks himself, “Let me just finish this croissant and cap and get outta here. The cap in the other place was better anyway.”
As he gets into his car Paul decides to find Connecticut in Milford, so he makes a right turn instead of left to go back to the apartment. Lo and behold, about three blocks away, the world turned green and colonial red brick, punctuated by a white portico capped with a similarly white steeple. Next to this truly New England scene was a river with, of all things, a waterfall running through it. Paul found a parking spot, pulled out his Nikon, marched across the street, traversed the green while hopefully dodging the goose shit
and started shooting
… photographs, that is.
Invigorated, Paul drove back to the beachfront property, climbed the steps and entered… forgetting to take off his shoes. The he noticed the goose shit shot rug. “I gotta clean this shit up,” he said aloud to himself. He went to the bathroom, grabbed a wash cloth, dampened it and added some Dial hand soap, then blotted the carpet clean. That made him wonder, “If Dial cleans that mess up, what does that do to your skin?”
Paul figured he would save the little Greek Spot 2 doors down for his last meal in town, so he went for lunch at what he thought was the most WASP looking restaurant in town, Stonebridge. Stonebridge is in a beautiful old white house right in the middle of town overlooking a stone bridge crossing the Housatonic River its way to the Long Island Sound. This is the Milford of Paul’s imagination.
A male whale greets him as he downshifts into the parking lot. “How is this guy going to get in my car, let alone park it?” But wait. He isn’t’ a valet. He is a “spotter.” He just walks you to a parking spot. “Can’t WASPS find their own parking spots?” Paul spots a woman leaving a spot nearer to him and motions to Mr. manatee that he will simply take this one.
As he enters, to the right is a dining room with a bar and buffet with very white older men with Brooks Brothers jackets and even whiter women in Talbot dresses. BULLS EYE. WASPS! The next all white room, decorated in floral arrangements, has a bridal shower for “Michelle”. The hostess asks if Paul prefers to sit inside or out. “Out, of course.” The restaurant is huge and has other rooms he could not see or, were not open. She then walks Paul through a casual pub like seating area with a bar. Apparently, the rooms are segregated by class.
Maybe because of how he is waspily dressed, Paul is given an outside table with a beautiful, unobstructed view of the river and the bridge, but he chose the chair that also affords views of the clientele. Paul had hoped to take some I-phone portraits without people noticing. He finds he captures people as they truly are that way, but no one stood out to him among the smattering of floral patterned dresses with visors and the appropriate number of Nautica and Land’s End polos.
His sparkling water with lime fits this place. He orders his glass of Sancerre, and a “Cajun Cod” burger with sweet potato fries, knowing that he won’t taste any “Cajun” style heat on his food here in WASP land. The food was good, not great, but he hadn’t come for that.
Far more interesting was the family that was soon seated next to him. It was a black family, right out of the movie, “Get Out”. They were light skinned, waspily dressed, with a young daughter, maybe 5 years old dressed in similar style. “Is Jordan Peele nearby?”
Occasionally he looked up at them waiting for the right shot. Finally, he saw the photo. The little girl had ordered apple slices and calamari. Her Finding Nemo sippy cups were perfectly placed next to her hot pink framed cartoon filled I-pad.
And sitting in the chair across from her, seemingly also having lunch, facing Paul, was her teddy bear like puppy. A perfect image. Neither the child nor her parents were in the image, just her lunch and guest. He smiled to himself. As Paul walked back out, he noticed the parking lot was now virtually empty and wondered if Mr. Manatee still did his thing.
Paul went back to his room and played with some pics as he wrote accompanying notes. Maybe this will be a photo essay. As the late afternoon sun lowered, Paul decided to go back out but wanted to wait to take photos until just before sunset again. There would be a better sky. The fluffy and scattered clouds would morph into pink and purple flora and fauna as the sun set below the horizon.
When he went out at 4:30, he found the quiet beach at low tide with the sand bar to Charles Island fully exposed. When it is, you can actually walk the mile off shore on that narrow strip of sand to the island that usually seems to just float there. He just lounged and enjoyed the view.
An hour and a half later he rose. Gathering himself, he showered and changed. At 7:30, with his tripod mounted camera mounted to his shoulder, he walked the quarter mile to the spot he had already chosen to get his twilight shots with blurry images of people as they paraded down the boardwalk.
Paul was hungry, so he pulled his gear together and walked back to put it away, then walked the two houses over to the Greek Spot for a nice al fresco dinner. It was the type of beach place you ordered food from the kitchen and brought it out to your own table. As he got there Paul saw the staff starting to bring in the tables and chairs. It was just 8:00 PM. “Huh?”
“If you want anything you have to order it now and take it to go only. We are closing.” Paul contemplated his options. “Now that sucks. I waited until my last supper to eat here and now I have to eat it up in my room?” “I don’t feel like driving to one of those barstaurants.” He felt another disappointment but, c’est la vie. It could have been interesting watching the people walk by on the beach strip and avoiding the older pony tailed ex hippy eating his baklava sunday. Yes, a baklava sunday. He ordered his stuffed cabbage and spanakopita, went back up to his room, had a lonely, viewless dinner, watched a little TV and went to bed. But before that he went out to shoot the beach at night.
Check out is 11:00 AM tomorrow.