Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Look at me when I'm not looking at you...

This picture was taken last year in Parma, Italy, where I spent some time working. As you might have noticed, I'm not much of a photographer. So I mostly rely on keepsakes made of memories and chunks of my imagination, boiled down to words. They let swirl themselves at will like pieces of stained glass in a good, old kaleidoscope.
Trying to capture the visual side of life often leaves me frustrated. It obviously takes a better artist to be able to strip the covers off the things, leaving them bare, but not naked.
However, there were two dogs, waiting for their owners outside of a small bakery. The woolly one seemed very quiet, almost serene, while the other one (evidently a "she") was leaping around desperately trying to catch attention of her pal. She undertook every possible effort to draw his attention to her: barked, whimpered in the tiniest voice, and stuck her moist black nose into his fur.
Her eagerness wouldn't let him (it was definitely a "he") soften towards her whatsoever. His slightly averted face showed no signs of acknowledgment, let alone joy.
I watched them, spellbound by a display of such human feelings. Briskly whisked away by an impatient, very hungry friend into the restaurant on the opposite side of the street, I still managed to take out the camera and make a couple of shots.
Everything and everyone was caught moving and my heavy, old-fashioned "Canon" gasped disapprovingly before coughing up the flash. The shot isn’t much in terms of quality , but I like the direct, white-hot swiftness of desperation in the outline of her body and the cautious remoteness in the shape of his.
Good news for every woman on this planet - she was able to restore her dignity after all (that I happened to witness as we settled for a meal outside – so I could watch on the drama unfolding in front of my eyes).
How? Nothing easier than that:
The very moment she gave up and looked another way his head perked up: having lost her curiosity for him, she became a subject of his interest.
Did it ever happen to you? Did you sit the whole damn night in the milonga without ever getting noticed, but the moment you unfastened your shoes, a bunch of guys swarmed by, looking at you incredulously: "You are not already going, are you? But why? And I was just about to ask … You know, it was pretty a busy night".
Not for me, no. But then, you must have been pretty busy to notice that.
Lately I've noticed a fine difference in a general attitude toward me at local milongas. I don't dance better, but considerably more and with better leaders. There is nothing new und improved about me, just same ole, same ole. . But I'm ready to let go and everyone here seems to feel it.
So at once I climbed a step up the ladder of the tightly knit pecking order of the local tango community.
Funnily enough,now…When I'm about to leave for good.


Elizabeth said...

You have it exactly right. Once you are ready to leave, don't care, have the shoes off, they suddenly all love you. I thought about that a lot this weekend at TangoMagic...
Great writing, T.

Leaving for good????

La Tanguerita said...

Thank you very much:-) this thing has always bothered me immensely, but I just didn't know how to write about it without sounding overtly sulky.
I'm just moving countries.. once again:-) But no such trifle would keep me from blogging (or so I hope):-)

Elizabeth said...

I think I have actually been the victim of a little dare that the men do...Who can get a woman to put her shoes back on. Just a small warning.
Hope your move goes well.

msHedgehog said...

You're so right.

If only there were a way of conveying a continuous, subconscious impression that were were about to leave permanently.

tangobaby said...

And where are you going? (good luck with the move.)

I have had leaders say to me, "so where have you been all this time?" and sometimes I have to laugh when I say, "here, every week, you're kidding, right?"

And sometimes it just makes me mad.

BTW, some of my favorite pictures are blurry ones and the mistakes. It's not the clarity of a photo that makes it interesting. Plus, you have a story, and that makes any image more worthy.

tanguero61 said...

It is appening to me very often in the last time..
I often go late at the milonga..
And in the last 2-3 times I saw a woman I would like to invite for a dance..
It's incredible, but every time when I decide to invite her, she is already putting her shoes off..
So I dont go.. and decide to wait 'till the next time..
The problem is I know so many people, and when I go into the milonga I spend a lot of time by talking and also dancing with girls I know..


La Tanguerita said...

Hi guys,
sorry for a long delay. I was away and offline for give or take two weeks.
wouldn't it be great? but I'm afraid one has to feel it in order to fake it:-)
TB, thank you very much:-)It used to make me mad, but not anymore. And I'm going to England.
next time just do it the very first thing in the evening. Go and ask her. Just don't put it off again:-))

tangobaby said...

England! How lovely! I hope you will be meeting our tango buddies in the UK then. Good luck with your move.