#549: I'VE GOT THE SPIRIT

The Palinode and I tried to go to a baby's first birthday party sometime over the last couple of months, but as is our way, we instead wandered around the baby's neighbourhood for an hour unable to locate a house we had been to on numerous occasions. When we did finally locate the house, no one was there, because the baby's birthday party was at his grandparents' house. After that time we missed this particular baby's father's wedding because we didn't read the invitation until it was already two hours after the ceremony (who gets married in the morning?), you would think that paying attention to the details on an invite would be a no-brainer. But this is not our way.

As we wandered the neighbourhood with our very adorable birthday gift, which the baby has not yet received, because it is our way, we came upon a garage sale. The garage sale was being run by a bunch of bikers in leather pants and do rags who wandered around drinking beer and making jokes about narcotics. Suddenly, our being lost seemed so right, and I knew that the Fates were on our side. Normally, I manage to show up at garage sales after the last as yet unchipped, functioning, odorless item that still has all its original parts has been sold, but this particular garage sale was special. I could tell by leather chaps and dagger tattoos.

We picked through tables of fifty-year-old pots and crocheted owls and those egg beaters that you crank with a handle. There was a napkin holder from Niagra Falls, eight-track tapes, and one of those glass stove-top coffee pots that percolates coffee up into the lid. The wide array of large, weighty knives was somewhat unsettling. My favourite item by far was the handmade post with wooden arrows pointing in different directions that had place names and distances on them to tell us how far we were from cities such as Toledo and Hong Kong.

Just as we were about to leave and continue our search for the baby's house, my eyes settled on a table covered with old cameras and car stereos, and there sat this, a Polaroid Spirit:

polaroid spirit

Excuse me, sir, I said to the nearest man with a mullet who looked like he belonged there. How much is this camera? And then, and then, oh and then, he said something so wonderful that I felt that sexy rush of adrenaline in my loins. That? Oh, how's about one dollar? he said, looking at the camera as though it should be thrown away. One dollar. ONE DOLLAR. I handed him a loonie, threw the camera strap around my neck, and repeated This camera only cost one dollar in a tone of reverential disbelief for the rest of the afternoon while fondling the rubber piece around the viewfinder.

It took me a while to get my hands on some Polaroid 600 film that was not overly expensive and/or expired, but eBay finally came through. My first shot was of the Palinode in our apartment with the lights turned on, but the picture came out nearly black. As it turns out, out, the automatic flash no longer flashes automatically, but after scanning the polaroid and doctoring it on GIMP, I managed to make the Palinode look more than a little scary.

first polaroid, doctored

This camera is definitely one that needs bright sunlight, so when we took a walk to the pet store to buy a second litterbox for Onion, the cat who pees on anything in any room as long as it's on the floor, I brought along the Polaroid Spirit, the camera which only cost ONE DOLLAR.* Here is the first polaroid I took that came out with any clarity, in which you can see the Palinode giving me his one-two punch I-am-hungry and we-have-to-make-it-to-the-pet-store-before-they-close looks:

the polaroid Palinode

On our way to the pet store, we came across Mr. Breakfast, my favourite breakfast place of all breakfast places, and I do take the morning meal seriously. Doc MacLean and Manitoba Hal, staples of the Canadian blues scene, think you should eat at Mr. Breakfast, too. As you can see, the vintage aesthetic of the place begged me to capture it in a polaroid.

Mr. Breakfast

And here is the Palinode, aglow with the hope that only a second litter box can bring after our closet, some legal documents, the desk, the boot tray, the dishwasher, and my suede coat have all been urinated upon by our most thick-witted cat, Onion.

the polaroid Palinode 2

As the evidence will support, I am the impossibly proud owner of a Polaroid Spirit. I repeatedly take it out and open every hinged piece, press and slide each button and lever. I open the refrigerator to gaze at the three film packs sitting next to the fish sauce. I press. I chk-choosh. I marvel at the slow revelation of square images. I slaver over the photographs from the Polaroid Photography Collective. I am in love. I write haikus in honour of its significance:

Polaroid Spirit

Its black rigid shell
belies native circumstance:
all things possible.

* When I gush about how my Polaroid Spirit cost me one dollar and my eyes sparkle as I remember fondly the quality of the light that fell on the camera when I first saw it in that driveway, some people have been mean-spirited enough to imply that there is a reason for how cheap it was, that my camera is an undesirable waste of plastic. Those people obviously lack imagination. And aesthetic sensibility. And human feeling. You know who you are, you hollow robots.

Elan Morgan13 Comments