August 14th, 2012. Lovely evening for a stroll in the park, admiring ducks, enjoying the shadows and sidestepping used condoms.
To be fair, it was only one condom. I saw no others the entire hour or so I was there. This particular park is clean, busy, and not of the sort where one expects to find such...artifacts...of human interaction. I suppose that is why when I spied it on the pavement it caused me to do a double-take.
A condom. In the parking lot. Used. Eeeep.
I was on my way to a nearby trash can, wrapping up after a thoroughly enjoyable evening of shooting black-and-white film photos (with my two favorite cameras) and there it was in all its dirty un-glory. The condom (hereinafter known as The Artifact) gave me pause. I mean, really, I actually stopped walking to get a better look so I my eyes could verify what my brain was telling me was there. It was in between two cars, not far from the bumper of what I think was a little red sports car. I looked up quickly to see if anyone was in the car.
Nope. No one there. Plus, The Artifact was looking begrimed and weathered, suggesting it had been in its current location for some days at least. I looked around again to see if anyone was watching me and perhaps wondering what I was doing leaning over and staring at the ground. There were couples strolling by, some with kids, joggers, and other folks just out for an evening constitutional. No one was looking at me. And everyone but me seemed perfectly oblivious to The Artifact. I started to chuckle.
Why is I notice such things? Furthermore, why do I feel compelled to document such things? Not that I spend my days seeking out empty liquor bottles, smashed light bulbs and discarded prophylactics. I'd much rather spend time seeking out trains in motion, animals in light, the diffraction of sunlight through leaves. Such things are much more uplifting and edifying, in the main.
Yet there is this curiosity about the cast-offs of human behavior that leads me to notice that which many others would rather not see. Maybe it is just my crow mind tendency to believe that almost anything can be interesting, can exhibit some form of attraction if only we can catch it at just the right moment. At the very least, we can gain some insight or clarification into some aspect of the world or humanity that fascinates or repulses us.
This is what occurred to me, standing in the parking lot and meditating on an object that most of us would agree was not something with which we care to contemplate. Because I am the photographer that I am, I couldn't resist snapping a picture of it with my phone, being out of film. I laughed again, thinking that while I certainly wanted nothing more to do with The Artifact, I had to admire the caution of whoever had left it there for some hapless soul to discover.