If only.

I’ve been known to say, “I wish my eyeballs were cameras so I could record things I see.”

Today is a great example why that is such a great idea:

One of our company cars needed to be fixed so we took it over to the Shell station across the street to have them look at it. We had to wait about half an hour so we took a seat on the bench out front and waited. After only a few minutes, a gentleman walks up and asks if he can squeeze in on the bench, and we happily squished together so he could have a seat.

He was an older guy, probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s. He wore round sunglasses that seemed to small for his face and a ripped green t-shirt and jeans that were washed out and covered in dirt.

He asked where I was from and after I told him Cleveland, he said he could never live up north. When he was in the military, he had to live in Tacoma, Washington and he said he’d never been somewhere so cold. He was glad he was raised in the south.

Then we got into how the city has changed in his lifetime. He remembers being able to walk around, unafraid of the people that you walked by. He wasn’t afraid to take his kids to the carnival (Mardi Gras), and he loved living in this city. Now, though, he says he’s frightened to do things he used to do and he hates the way the city has become so unfamiliar. There were times, he said, when he could be out until 6am and not worry about getting home.

As I talked to him, I couldn’t help thinking about how his story might never have been heard if I weren’t listening. I want to be able to share the stories of people I meet here in New Orleans, because they have interesting ones. Now, assuming I can get over my social anxiety, I think this could be a really cool project.

And by the way, I’m looking into buying sunglasses that are also a camera.

Sometimes you just want to remember everything.

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