Here’s another guest photo from one of our regular contributors. I don’t have the story of why she was at the Mental Health Center, she is one of the mentally healthiest people I know. Maybe she was waiting for a friend. Notice how the fence outside the window is set up to keep people in. Hmmm.
Having other folks send me photos brings new perspectives to the Project that I truly appreciate. Thus far we have 6 outside contributors and are always looking for more. Please email me via the link with your shots of waiting, or if you have any philosophical commentary on waiting or any of the photos, please feel free to leave a comment. The Waiting Room Project belongs to all of us. Remember, “They also serve who only stand (or sit) and wait.”
I have participated in a few marketing research surveys over the years. Typically, you take a pre-survey to see if you qualify and if you do, you are invited to participate. They usually involve a new product or re-branding of an old one, and you sit in a group from one to 20 and give your ‘input’. The products range from hard drives to healthcare, baby products to beverages. For your time, you are compensated with cash, a check, or lately a gift card. It is an easy gig, I’m pretty opinionated; I wish I could do it at least once a week.
This survey mandated that I bring a friend to participate or I couldn’t qualify. So the two of us trekked to the offices of this company in the Marina. Spacious, well-lit, this company provides conference rooms with audio-visual capabilities, everything is taped, huge wall to wall one-way mirrors behind which sit the faceless minions observing, taking notes or whatever faceless minions do while the public is offering its opinions, and cheerful interviewers. The ‘sponsor’ or client whose product we are evaluating is rarely present, but it’s impossible to know who is sitting in those darkened rooms behind the glass.
This interview lasted a little over half an hour, and my friend and I departed a little richer for simply giving our reactions to a series of slides with graphic designs. That’s all I can say, there is always an NDA involved. I have never seen more than one or two people in the spacious waiting room. This day, there were two folks sitting around the corner, but I especially liked the perspective of this hallway.
This is what was my local bank. I did business with Bank of America for many years with my former business. Originally, we used a BofA that was across the street from our accountant in Westchester and had a spectacular personal banker there named Ellen. She took great care of us and our business accounts. BofA has a lot of regulations surrounding its business accounts, someone once characterized it as a law firm that accepted deposits, but Ellen always managed to make it easy for us. But it was a schlep for me to deposit the checks in Westchester, so I mostly used the ATM at my local branch on the Venice traffic circle. Ellen retired and we changed accountants around the same time so I officially moved our accounts to this branch.
We had a couple of personal accounts there as well. Jake had one and we used our account to transfer money to him occasionally. We never kept much money in there, we don’t use BofA for our primary personal banking.
I”m not quite sure why I was in this bank last year, perhaps to finally close our last remaining accounts. While the lobby isn’t exactly completely empty, it isn’t exactly bustling with activity either. This photo captures two distinct waiting areas and not a customer in sight.
Another doctor’s office, more empty chairs. I cannot for the life of me remember which doctor this is, nor why I was there. I do know that a couple of days later, I was in another waiting room for an imaging procedure, but I can’t remember which one. I assume it followed this appointment, but I’m not sure. It is somewhat disconcerting that having been in so many doctor’s offices in the past three years they all blur before me.
The Santa Monica Sears and Roebuck has been on the corner of Colorado and 4th street for as long as I can remember. It used to span 4th street, with the Automotive center on the east side and the main building on the west. There is a little booth at the top of the building where a parking attendant used to sit and direct cars to the vacant spots. In its heyday, Sears was the place, the store was modern and you could get most anything there.
Not much of that glory has faded. The automotive center was demolished to make room for the Santa Monica terminal of the newly extended Expo line, the parking guy in the sky is long gone, and the whole store seems a worn and a little seedy. I still like going there for the Craftsman tools in the basement, but little else.
Now Land’s End has an outpost in the store itself, and I was there getting some Dockers Khakis, the only brand that actually fits me. I had ordered them online, and while I was waiting for someone to fetch them, I browsed the shirt section just to kill the time. They had the well-made pique polos on sale so I got a few. After completing the sale, I was directed to this string of chairs. If you order online for in-store pickup, this is where you will wait while they fetch your merchandise. It was only a few moments before a courteous employee emerged from the stainless steel clad door with my pants, sealed in a plastic bag and tagged with my order info. Fairly painless, the pants were on sale online, and I didn’t have to pay for shipping. Such a deal.
This photo appeared on my friend W’s Facebook page a few weeks ago. He is an accomplished photographer as you can see from the dynamic composition and critical framing. Knowing my penchant for waiting room photos, he tagged me in the post. I think it is a great shot, and in fact, it gave me inspiration to begin photographing myself in the waiting room situations. Stay tuned for some of these selfeets, coming soon.