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  • Last psssss of the spray paint fading down, the dude in the blue Giants hoodie dropped his stencil, stepped back to review his work.

    What I forgot was the click of my camera, and before I could even glance at the preview screen, his face two inches from mine, his breath moist, reeking of garlic and onions.

    "Gimme that picture, man."

    Where was this guy from? Photos are digital, pictures are emailed, uploaded, tweeted, tumblred. "Hey, I was just admiring your message, it's curious."

    Eyes narrowed. Then widened. Then narrowed even more.

    "Are you with the Department?" he hissed.

    "Department? no, man, I am just on my own, I just capture the scenes in my camera." I stepped back.

    He stepped right with me.

    "I am serious, man. The picture."

    "What are you worried about? And hey, this is a public space. It's a free world."

    "That's what they lead you to believe, man. The Department does not allow it."

    Hmmm, now I'd had my share of encounters with the street eccentrics. It's part of the scene as much as the gracefully crumbling brownstones, the worn out warehouse, the rotting docks. Its the decay I am attracted to, though ness so in the human form.

    Let's shift tactics. "What does it mean? The future is supposed to be where everything gets done right."

    He spit at me, right on my shoe. Great.

    "So you know something of the future?" I trailed.

    "Know something? Know something? If you knew the shit I went through to come here and warn you shiftless slackers... Man, I do not even know why we even try. You all are buying into this. You are lining up for this chain."

    "Fill me in, give me the truth" Honestly I was looking for an exit.

    Then, for the next 3 and a half hours, I got the full details on how the future sucked. It was worse than any myopic dystopian science fiction novel. It was a horror movie without the audience appeasing ending. It was the end of light.

    And he was right. And now I have this info, and here is what we need to do....

    I am using Cowbird to share the story of a 15,000 mile road odyssey I took in 2011, which started with me quitting my job in March and setting out in June for a loop around the US and Canada. It's less of a day by day narrative and more of an attempt to tell a story of the story, with some amounts of imagined bits that emerge on looking at the media from the trip, including the more than 1400 images, videos, and audio files collected in my digital time capsule, the Storybox.
    cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by me:
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