I had to have a new windshield installed yesterday. While the car was in the shop I took Metro downtown to do a few photographs. For the most part it was disappointing. I got maybe three or four photographs that I kept.
When I got back to pick up the car it was not yet finished so I took a seven block walk along Yale Street.
I suppose that if I lived in the suburbs I would find the suburbs interesting. I don't and I don't. I live in a racially mixed, lower income area on the edge of the intercity that I call the cheapseats. I claim that I got stuck in the cheapseats by accident. True, I am here in good part do to circumstances, but the getting stuck part is only a partial truth.
I lived in Bellaire, one of the original Houston bedroom communities, for five years. I found it superficial. At that time I thought that is what I wanted. It wasn't. It was just too far from my country roots. I lived in Montrose, the near downtown area, for seven years. I found Montrose vibrant and entertaining. It was the seventies and debauchery was the norm in Montrose. Then I rented a house from a friend because Janet's business had taken over our six hundred square foot apartment, the bed was the next to go.
By unplanned circumstance we ended up buying the house and have now been here over twenty years. The neighborhood, like all inner city or near inner city neighborhoods is in a continual decline. I wish that it wouldn't but it is simply the way things are.
When I travel back to Bellaire I find it hasn't changed much except the homes have gotten much bigger and much more expensive. Montrose, is now mostly a community of urban yuppies, but the cheapseats are still comfortable with people that may be less well off financially but they are for the most part honest and genuine. I have grown accustomed to the cheapseats. I fit in as well here as any place I have ever lived.
In addition, I am on the edge of a part of Houston that I have been fascinated with since I first moved here in 1970, the inner city. Even when I lived in Bellaire I always enjoyed traveling through the less prosperous areas of Houston. In Montrose, Janet and I spent a great deal of time photographing along the Ship Channel and in the barrios along Harrisburg and Navigation. I loved the color in those areas. I still would but they are now trashier and much less colorful now than they were twenty to thirty years ago. Today the barrios are larger and includes most of the cheapseats. I have either become jaded to the color or they are not as colorful as I remember Harrisburg and Navigation.
So, I got a chance to walk a few blocks along Yale soaking in the ambiance, the textures and thinking about the thousands upon thousands of feet that had traveled that street. It was hot, I was soaked in swear and I discovered I had blisters on both feet. But waking on Yale none of those problems dissuaded me from my enjoyment. I got to wander through strange stores, stop and talk with the people along the way. I only wish I had more time to spend walking the streets of the inner city.