One of the things that’s great about being friends with so many photographers (In addition to being a bit of one myself) is that I have a visual document of so many key experiences in my life, even ones that don’t seem to be so at the time. I remember sitting in my living room, taking a break from writing with a viewing of X2 when the power went out abruptly. I thought that it was a momentary outtage, but as I would soon learn, the entire city had lost it’s juice when a transformer blew over a Con Ed (or something to that effect).
As I’m hardly afraid of the dark and I had plenty of candles, I figured that I’d grab a book off the shelf and pass the time reading. But when the phone rang a few hours later I learned that I had something else in store. Three of my homeboys had walked from Union Square to Brooklyn and wondered if they could come by my apartment to rest their feet. As it was getting dark, I was more than willing to oblige them.
When friends come together, food and drink come next. Assuming the worse I figured that it was best to empty all the perishables about of my fridge. And with four hungry men in an apartment, it wasn’t going to take much. I took out the already thawing red snapper steaks I had, along with the fresh broccoli, red peppers and onions and threw them into a skillet while I boiled jasmine rice. I added soy sauce and black pepper to the fish and veggies and assembled portions for all present by candlelight.
As we sat and ate, a blunt was rolled. Some of us smoked while others talked trash and by the time the meal was over we were wandering through the night hoping to meet some women in the same predicament and to witness the panic withing a city without lights. Sure enough a group of kids were trying to break into the cellphone store on Nostrand and there were lines in front of the bodega we passed in Fort Greene where some poor Arab man inside stood shirtless and sweating as he sold goods to the line of anxious people outside. We’ll never forget the idiot who kept stressing that he wanted his water cold, as if in a powerless city, the poor shopkeeper could guarantee that. That bodega, ironically enough, is now a prominent sports bar. Go gentrification.
So when my boy Rich, now a photographer extraordinaire, sent me a shot of me (at 28 and still a dread-head) on the day after, I remembered all the things about that night I hope to never forget. The four of us are all in different cities now, leaves on the winds of change and destiny. Pictures says a thousand words and food seals the deal. It was the first time I’ve ever had to cook in darkness. But I’m sure it won’t be the last.