Skip to main content

Not-So-Beautiful World

No PhoneThere's something sad and forlorn when you see the empty shell of a former payphone. Especially when it's right across the street from the University of Central Florida.

Payphones are the victim of the pervasive spread of cellular phones throughout our society. So pervasive, that according to one story written last June the number of payphones has shrunk to just 500,000 in the entire US, down from some 2 million in 2000, and 2.6 million in 1998.

During the last 15 years payphones have retreated to transportation hubs such as airports and bus stations.

The greatest victim of this shrinkage? The homeless and the poor. In spite of the low cost of phones and the pay-as-you-go plans for many of them, it's far still cheaper to drop quarters into payphones when you need to make a call, rather than buy a phone card for as little as $10. Sometimes you need to spend that $10 on something more important, like food.


On the way to pick up lunch I came across an empty beer bottle lying in the leaves behind the World of Beer. Can't say how long it's lain here or even if it came from WoB. But the fact it's in back, along with a lot of other trash that includes Styrofoam cups two days after the super bowl, well, the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong.

Killing TimeI wound up at the Pei Wei to pick up a hot lunch, something I do once/week for the variety. I'd taken the E-P2 with the 45mm along in case I saw something I wanted to practice photographing.

While I was waiting for my takeout, I sat next to another customer waiting for his takeout. He sat at one end of a bench and I the other. He didn't notice me or much else, as he was immersed in whatever was happening on his smartphone.

I fired of four exposures while balancing the camera on its side, down on my right leg. He never looked up once.

That's the problem with smartphone use these days. Smartphones are addictive, compelling many of us to turn them on and interact with them just about everywhere we are. We no longer practice talking to strangers anymore. Instead we pull ourselves into the world our smartphones provide, mentally and emotionally insulated from the rest of the world. It's safer that way I guess.

Just Holding Up the Sign

And it wasn't just at the Pei Wei. Later in the day I came across this college student holding this sign up. He wasn't waiving it, he was just a human sign holder. He was passing the time with his smartphone. Even though he had his earbuds in he still seemed to have enough presence of mind to pay attention to the world around him. At this point in time where he had turned his head he'd heard me fire the E-P2 previous to this shot. I never realized the E-P2 was that loud, but then, I wasn't trying to be particularly sneaky either.

Driving Home

I added to my carbon footprint with one more commute home. On the way home I grabbed this exposure with the 40-150mm R on the E-P2, so that I could capture the bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-4 headed east through Orlando to 436 and points beyond, such as Deltona. My side of I-4 is relatively clear.

And of course, the "Rethink Your Light Beer" billboard. All those extra fattening calories, all that excessive alcohol. Empty bottles, empty calories, empty culture, empty lives.


Olympus E-P2, M.Zuiko 45mm and 40-150mm R. Post processed in Lightroom 4 Beta.


  1. Wow. Good one, Bill. And I love the photos; thanks for sharing them together with your thoughts.


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WA…

Be Careful of Capital One Mailings

Capitol One ("What's in your wallet?") sent me a bit of deceptive snail mail today. I felt sure it was a credit card offer, and sure enough, it was. I open all credit card offers and shred them before putting them in the trash. Normally I just scan the front to make sure I don't miss anything; the Capital One offer made me stop for a moment and strike a bit of fear into my heart.

The letter's opening sentence read:
Our records as of December 30, 2009 indicate your Capital One Platinum MasterCard offer is currently valid and active.Not paying close attention during the first reading, I quickly developed this irrational worry that I was actually on the hook for something important, but I wasn't quite sure what. The letter listed "three ways to reply" at the bottom; via phone, the internet, and regular snail mail. I elected to call.

Once I reached the automated phone response system, the first entry offered was '1', to "activate my Capital …

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…