Off to Mobile, AL
Sunday, August 09, 2009

So I had to leave. I just felt like the walls were closing in on me in Panama City Beach. Julie & Mike were wonderful hosts and really generous but it was time to go. So after I had my tarot cards read and shot some portraits of them both, Julie packed me a paper bag lunch and I was on my way. It felt great to be on the road again. I was free again. My car is my home and it is the only place I really feel at ease.

I didn't really know what the plan was. All I knew was New Orleans was the next stop. My options there were to stay with a guy named Mario who didn't really have any room because he was having two German girls stay with him and I would have to split the floor with him. Or stay with a girl named Bella who was willing to put me up as long as I was okay with the living situation. Specifically, she lived with her boyfriend who was an ex train car rider/jumper & hitchhiker who sat around the apt all day drinking whiskey and playing guitar, three room mates, three dogs, and sometimes they took in homeless kids off the streets. My choices were pretty slim and I was actually leaning towards Bella cause if nothing else it would yield some pretty interesting photographs. I wasn't really optimistic about what was going to happen.

Instead of driving all the way out to New Orleans I decided to stop in Mobile for the night. I drove through Pensacola and by accident entered the air base there.

When I finally made it to Mobile I went and had dinner at The Brick Pit. Supposedly Alabama's best BBQ. I got it out of the book Jesse got me for my trip. A tiny little place on the outside of town. It had graffiti all over the inside. Everyone had signed their names on the wall. I ended up signing my on the door and putting up a sticker on the bathroom door. I had a delicious pulled pork sandwich that had been slow cooked for 100+ hours.

After I finished I wanted to photograph the girl at the counter in the back of the restaurant. She said fine but when I was setting up her boss came out and told me she was too shy to tell me that she was uncomfortable with the whole thing. He told me they had some problems with a photographer before. I told him that was fine and at that very moment the "pit boss" was walking by and I saw him and I asked if I could shoot him. The manager took some convincing but finally he said alright and I ended up doing portraits of the pit boss. These ended up being a million times more interesting.

I talked to the pit boss for a while and he told me he had been working there for fourteen years and all he did was barbecue. He learned from his father. He had been barbecuing his whole life. He told me, "that is what I do." He was totally into having his picture taken which made the whole experience that much better.

I ended up going home... home being the Budget Motel... $45.00/night. It was terrifying. I had a hole in the shower ceiling and was convinced that someone was definitely murdered in my room.

My success with the portrait at dinner was quickly extinguished. Again I felt very alone... there were strange people living in the motel and coming and going all night. I didn't sleep well.

I wouldn't realize till later the next morning... but it would also be the last time I would see my beloved pillow.

Posted by Simon Biswas comments (0)