coming home to atlanta, in which I get way too close to a lot of people mid-town

July 4, 2014
quiet contemplation

Resting in quiet contemplation after the big race.

It’s been 30 years this year since I moved away from Atlanta to Orlando. It’s been two years since I went back to visit my parents. My parents are now in their early 80s and two years is a bit too long between visits. So I decided to address the deficit a bit; I flew back to Atlanta early this morning.

I got up around oh-dark-thirty (4:30am to be precise) so I could fix a bit of breakfast, shower, dress, and head for OIA to catch my Southwest flight 424 to Atlanta. The flight was 20 minutes late leaving OIA due to an engine alarm in the 737’s cockpit. We taxied back to the gate, maintenance quickly board, solved the issue, and got us back on our way. Total time about 20 minutes.

When we landed I left and boarded Marta, headed for Doraville to be picked up by my younger brother. When I got on at Hartsfield I thought it was going to be a quiet ride, and it was, until we hit mid-town Atlanta. That’s when we were overwhelmed with a lot of sweaty, smelly Atlanta residents who’d just finished the 2014 Peachtree Road Race.

One minute, it was just me in a partially empty car, the next it was everybody trying to crowd in so they could get home. And I mean they were packed in. The aroma of so many in so little a space needing a shower was a reminder of why I’d left the Big City of Atlanta in 1984. I thought it was bad back then; it’s grown worse, well beyond my dark and tainted memories.

coming on board after the race

Streaming down to board.

crowed feet

Trying not to get stepped on.

bearded redneck

The bearded redneck runner…

Of course, what would a Marta ride be without rubbing elbows with the local hoi polloi? In this particular instance the Bearded Redneck Runner (above) decided he didn’t like me photographing his wife’s midriff (see below). I wanted a simple photo of the sign, a form of establishing content for this story. I guess that was too provocative of me; he got all Manly on me, telling me I might not like what he would do to “that camera” if I didn’t stop it. Of course, this was all after I’d taken the Dreaded Photograph.

Being in a car full of tightly packed sweaty unwashed, I had a brief Walter Mitty moment, a mashup of the movie “World War Z” combined with “The Walking Dead”, where I imagined some sort of redneck contagion spreading amongst the tightly packed, so I decided that rather than become contaminated by actually having to touch the idiot (as in punch out the redneck’s lights), it would be better if I just sat there and until he and his Chosen Mate left the car, which they did right after his bellicose statements. After all, the world doesn’t need yet another mindless, rude, cheap-beer-swilling belligerent Southern white male; there are way too many as it is. I’d left Atlanta 30 years ago to avoid that fate.

While the good news was that the Bearded Redneck and Wife left the car, the bad news was the majority of the other riders stuck it out with me until we all got to Doraville.

she who must not be photographed

… and she whose midriff must not be photographed.

exiting in doraville

Everybody out! Please!

I never felt more relief getting off a Marta train than when I finally got off at Doraville. I hung back until most of the crowd cleared out, taking my time getting out of the station and into Doraville proper.

“That Camera”

Everything taken with the world’s most intimidating camera, the Panasonic GX1, with the world’s most intimidating lens, the Panasonic 20mm pancake. And because I’m on travel, all the photos are SOOC, except for resizing with Shotwell on Ubuntu 14.04.