orlansky

The Side Look of a Barcelonese #910 : Shadow of a father having a conversation with his son © Ben Orlansky aka Orlansky :

The Side Look of a Barcelonese #910 : Shadow of a father having a conversation with his son © Ben Orlansky aka Orlansky :

When I pass old men in the street sometimes, I close my eyes and imagine who they used to be. This one, with a cane and a limp, just nearly broke his neck checking out the ass of a seventy three year old lady on a walker. He grinned so hard I thought his teeth would fly. I know who he used to be. And another, so gray and slight I fear he’ll fade right where he stands. A car backfires suddenly and he flinches like he just touched fire. Shaken, he hastily adjusts his sleeve before anyone can see the numbers on his arm. But I saw, and now I know him too. This ninety year old girl in a wheelchair is listening to music on her iPhone, and I know people half her age who are less alive than she is. She grins at me and I swear I can see that wheelchair dance. Just before I turn the corner, I see she has no legs. I have to stop to catch my breath now, and you take the opportunity to catch my eye and smile. I lean on my cane and wonder, did you just see the boy in me? You walk on by and hug the girl with no legs and you’re both grinning now, and I walk home and I can’t stop crying, and for the first time I can remember, my legs don’t hurt anymore.

This is a story about my knee being a dick. No no, this is a story about a pair of crutches. Once upon a time, my knee hurt a little. A few days later, it hurt a lot. The next day, I kinda sorta couldn’t walk. I had a flight to Chicago in a few hours and completely panicked. All the stores were closed. Freaking out a little (okay, a lot), I called a dear friend of mine, whose mother happened to overhear him, whose neighbor happened to overhear her, told them she saw a pair of crutches in the garbage on the corner. After much brave digging by my friend, those crutches got me to Chicago that night. Those crutches got me to Cuba (and back). Despite the fact that I detest them with every fiber of my being, they saved me. Fast forward a few months, and they are now happily collecting dust in my closet while I walk on the ground with two legs. Get this. My friend calls me today and tells me the same neighbor who told him about the crutches to begin with hurt their leg. Give you one guess where those crutches are now. Yep. So, I guess this isn’t a story about crutches after all. It’s about pure friendship, and goodness, and kindness. And maybe sometimes in this crazy fucked up world we live in, that’s all we need.

I dug a giant hole in the middle of Times Square with my bare hands the other day. Tourists stared. A cop with a machine gun asked me what the hell I was doing. I told him I was looking for inspiration. Sheepishly, I stand before the white judge. He looks like he bathes in beer. He sneers and says he has real criminals to arrest and asks me what the hell I was looking for. I shrug, look down at the floor, and tell him I was looking for myself.

You may have noticed I’ve only been posting sporadically lately. On my last photo walk back in December, my knee did something vile and unspeakable to me. Fast forward two months and one surgery later, it’s been absolutely fantastic. I had bought tickets to Cuba prior to all this hellish business, and despite the fact that I’m still on crutches and due to the fact that I’ve lost my mind, I went anyway. This was taken while precariously perched on a particularly perilous pair of crutches at a cigar farm in Vinales, Cuba.