|good photos by Bill Miles|
I did not want our photo shoot to be on Wednesday.
Kaimin, the dog, had a surgery appointment, and my 5:30 p.m. class in longform nonfiction narrative required me to carefully read six LONG student papers. I didn’t even know what was going on in Sheri’s life; she was out of town.
“Any day after Wednesday,” is what I told the assistant photo editor at the famous national magazine. “Any day but Wednesday.”
So, of course, we decided on Wednesday. When AARP The Magazine wants your picture – like, now – it’s hard to say no.
Please wear dark washed jeans, the photo assistant instructed us. Warm tones. No logos or hats or sunglasses.
Why did AARP want our picture? I’ve written an essay for the magazine, scheduled to appear in the coming September/October issue. The essay isn’t about Sheri and me, but our age difference plays a big part. Therefore: a photo shoot.
I knew that the photog would take a few hours out of our Wednesday. What I didn’t know is how he’d change Tuesday. When the nation’s largest circulation magazine sends a photographer to take a picture inside your wife’s house, well, you’ve just made her life a whole lot busier.
Sheri suddenly became Martha Stewart’s neater twin – on meth. She cleaned, she straightened, she eliminated the clutter of our everyday lives. Business cards on the fridge? In the drawer! The dog food containers? Banished to the basement! That bowl of coupons? Ha! We aren’t the sort of people who use coupons.
|Bill with the shirt Sheri vetoed.|
Photo by Michael
She even got a haircut, all while I was at school for the last day of classes. When I came home, the house was beautiful but also, in its way, naked. I found a place to hide my keys, then grabbed the vacuum cleaner and added to the spic and the span. Later we picked out our dark, washed jeans and our warm tones. Sheri vetoed the comfy old shirt I chose. “I think that nice blue one is neater,” she said. Herself, she tried on three tops before choosing the one. Sagely, I approved of all three.
The next day, Bill the Photog arrived. He brought an assistant named David, a Jeep full of photo equipment, and a perfect smile. We gave him the run of the house, and soon he’d picked out the settings for our shoot: backyard, bed, big green chair in living room. He’d also judged my shirt to be too something and asked whether I had anything else. I showed him my closet. He picked out the shirt Sheri had vetoed.
I gloated. Though maybe it’s not so good to have a better AARP fashion sense than your older wife’s.
Bill and David were fun to have around. They were efficient and pleasant. Bill has shot for some big companies, including Lexus, Land’s End, and the drug company Pfizer. He’s got the commercial photographer’s exquisite sense of how to create in one photograph a world where everything is easy with joy. He got us to laugh with each other, even after a day of manic house cleaning.
|Ask your doctor.|
And when he used tape to get a window blind drawstring out of the background of a shot, I knew Sheri was right to have insisted we clean up our clutter. In the world of ease and light, where we lived for a few minutes on Wednesday, the only strings allowed are the ones that make you dance.