In memory of Robert.
Robert slept just down the street outside of Synapsis. I talked with him almost every day. He died last night from the cold. I miss him.
Robert took apart electronics and old windows and recycled the metals from them to make money. He was a gentle person and rather shy. He would often talk loudly to himself if he was upset, which could intimidate some people, but he was always respectful. I heard that he experienced an extreme loss and that is what brought him to the streets.
I would try to check on him during the day and when I was around Synapsis at night...and had been thinking about him a lot lately. He preferred to sleep outside.
I have been thinking a lot about people's perceptions of those who are houseless or living on the streets. It is popular in this area to generalize about people who have meth addictions or who have challenges with "normalcy" and to criticize them. Lately, young men have been driving by and throwing eggs at the people who are camped around Synapsis. There have been public meetings about the homeless "problem."
If you have any friends or conversations with people who are houseless, then you already know that most people are on the streets because there is not a place for them in everyday society. I am not an advocate of meth, but meth addiction does not make someone an evil person. It often means someone is self-medicating. Yes, crimes are sometimes committed by people who have addictions ... but these crimes pale in comparison to those committed by corporations. Why is it so easy in our society to criticize those who have the least? Those who choose not to participate in capitalist lifestyles?
I think we have better options in our society. We cannot wait for institutions to create the world we want to exist. I ask that people take a break from consumerism during this time to give something to someone who has less than you do. To create a space for compassion that is centered around actions in the world. I am willing to offer the use of Synapsis to anyone who wants to do anything there. Every Tuesday I open the space for art and hot soup and tea and conversation. From 1-3:30 p.m. You can come if you like. Perhaps there could be something late at night too? I don't know. I would love to be part of a working group around actively creating a society that we want. Starting with those who are at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid. WIlderness and animals, those who live in poverty. I wonder if I could have done more for Robert. I hope he is in peace.
In memory of Robert. With love. And action.
Just so you're in on the lingo, Bobarazzi is a made-up word based on another made-up word, paparazzi. Fellini coined it in La Dolce Vita to describe pesky photographers chasing after celebrities. (There was even a character named Paparazzi in the movie.) The news cameramen used flash cameras that made a popping sound — there's some onomatopoeia involved. You get the idea. Bobarazzi is a word someone made up for me. This is a place for some of my photos.
What about me? I've been shooting photos for the North Coast Journal for a long time. I hope I'm not that obnoxious. I use a flash sometimes, but not always, and it's quiet since this is the digital age. We don't have that many celebrities, mostly just regular people doing stuff. And I will shoot some other things too, not just people. As Caroline Fernandez, our production manager put it, I have "cart blanche to shoot whatever." Watch for some of my photos here.
By the way, I did not shoot this picture, it's by my friend Sandy Scott, executive director of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. She likes my pics, and I like hers.
The Yak Men emerge from the woods around Arcata on a semi-regular basis, leading a pair of yaks into town. They tell us they prefer living among live trees to life in "dead wood houses." The yaks have no names, the Yak Men did not offer theirs.
Yeah but, unless she changes her last name to "Arkley" or abandons a dog litter…
If you say so, Jennifer.... At least, "The whole farce will raise funds for Women's…