The Waiting Room Project adds another contributor. This guest post is from a friend who takes the Los Angeles Expo line from her home in Santa Monica to work downtown. She has been posting wonderful pictures of her journeys, and today, sent me this one. I love it. It embodies everything of what the Project is about. Excellent photography taken with a smartphone (in this instance a Galaxy III), the variety of waiting areas, the feeling of a nearly abandoned space, and there, in the distance, a lonely soul or two waiting for the train. Perfect.
I am excited that the WRP is gaining a little traction with other people. Please send me your waiting room photos to share. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be a room. I will be posting them as they come in, and want to thank all the contributors past and future, in advance, for taking this project to another level.
While we’re on the subject of airport car rental centers, the award for the most massive goes to Fort Lauderdale. This multi-story monster houses thousands of cars and every major (and minor) car rental agency in the country. It is “off-site” in that you need to ride a bus from the terminal to get there, and there are two floors of waiting areas bordered by a huge open atrium. It just goes on and on and on. All the cars sleep quietly in the garage behind the endlessly curving waiting area with its gleaming terrazzo floors and chrome stanchions. You pick your car and go.
We traveled recently to visit T’s mom and sisters to celebrate her birthday and arrived at night. The whole building is a bit disorienting, especially after a 5-hour flight.Fortunately, it was largely deserted, adding to the surreality. An enormous space with maybe half a dozen people. I hate to think what this place must be like when it’s busy. We found the perfect vehicle, fired it up and wound our way down the spiral ramp that connects the 5 or so floors of the parking garage. Out to the highway and the half-hour drive into Miami Beach. Easy peasy.
Last year I travelled to North Carolina for my niece’s wedding. I flew into Charlotte and picked up a car at the airport. The cavernous waiting area serves all the rental car companies in the common building directly across from the terminal. I think I went with Dollar. I had my car and was on my way to Boone, NC in a matter of a few minutes. The recent trend of having all the car rental companies under one roof produces giant structures that house the waiting areas as well as the garages for all the cars. I guess it is more efficient than having each company have its one lot and service center, but these gigantic rooms can be a bit disorienting at times. Like when you get off your plane after a 5-hour flight and still don’t really know what time zone you are in.
Luckily, it wasn’t too bad, the drive north was through beautiful country and I arrived safely. The wedding was lovely, I had a chance to sample some of the local barbecue on my way back to the airport, and I found myself returning my car to this very same building in a couple of days. All in all, a whirlwind trip to the North Carolina mountain country.
We were on one of our escapes to Ojai in the Summer of 2014. I was there for my birthday and Father’s Day. Occasionally the two dates coincide as they did that year. Along with our usual routine, we visited L., a long time friend who happened to be staying at the Ojai Valley Inn for the weekend. The OVI is a lovely, old school hotel with beautifully kept grounds, a spa, and golf course. We were there on Monday, and the emotions of the weekend were still so close to the surface.
We took a walk with L to see the magnificent herb garden and passed by the first tee. There was something so tranquil about the scene. Shade on a hot day, the uncrowded golf course. The anticipation of the first drive to begin a memorable round. You can spend a lot of time waiting on a golf course, there are usually benches at every tee. Today, it didn’t look like anyone would be waiting for very long.
Golf was one of the things Jake and I did together for most of his life. After he died, I could barely look at a golf course without bursting into tears. It took me nearly a year before I could play again. I stopped to photograph this bench and cast a longing look back, remembering all the wonderful rounds we played together.
With the last three posts, starting with Hillside, we have entered the second gallery of photos, December 29, 2013 through the end of 2014. During that year, even though we struggled with the aftermath of Jake’s passing, I continued the Project. It took on new meaning as a sort of homage to him as he was the inspiration for it in the first place, so I carried on. Fewer doctor’s offices, more discovery of waiting spaces everywhere else.
It seems logical to break the pictures into galleries of years. Don’t know why, it just does. I haven’t posted all the photos from the first gallery, you can visit the Photographs page if you want to see more. Likewise, I won’t be posting every picture in the library, it would take more than a year of posting every day to include them all. If there are any photos that you particularly like or strike a chord with you, please leave a comment.
The rest of the photos from the Union Station day. This is the only time I went to a place specifically to shoot for the project. I could have spent all day there, each photo tells its own story, each person is there waiting for something or someone. The picture of the bride isn’t exactly about waiting, but the image was so compelling I had to include it.
As the project progressed, I developed “rules” for the game. The photos had to be taken with the iPhone. I had to use the Hipstamatic app and the photos had to be in black and white. It had to be a waiting room in which I found myself, and at first, I strove to photograph only empty rooms. We were downtown for lunch one day and decided to break the last two rules by going to Union Station to shoot the beautiful art deco main waiting lounge. Of all the photos I took that day, this one stood out as the best of the lot. The woman and son wait for their train, he dwarfed by the huge overstuffed chairs. She rests warily, her foot on her duffel bag lest someone try to snatch it, leaning as close as she can to her son, still protecting him in her sleep. The activity of the other people swirls around her as she finds a moment of repose in the hectic station. I will post the rest of the select photos in a gallery post to come.