so today . . . i went to the orange county smug mug meeting. it's for photographers. of which, i am not one . . .
but diandra is, so i went with her. if we go together, we can drive in the car pool lane, and since we need to travel on the 405 freeway at 5:30 p.m., it is much quicker if we can drive in the car pool lane. of course, we have to cross 5 lanes of traffic to get there from the on-ramp, but it is rush hour, so how fast could the traffic be flowing?
i was driving. we left the house and headed toward the 605 freeway, and diandra said, "you know how to get there, right?"
this was a reasonable assumption on her part. we had gone to the smug mug meeting together in august, and i had driven. of course, we had used her gps, so i hadn't really paid that much attention--i just went where it told me to go! i knew we started out on the 605 and then got onto the 405. the problem was, i didn't know exactly where to get OFF the 405. but i wasn't worried--i figured either diandra would know or we would recognize it when we saw it.
i was wrong.
diandra didn't know which exit to take, and i had no idea either. thankfully her amazing and awesome, sort of new cell phone has a gps in it. and thankfully she remembered the name of the place we were supposed to be. so thankfully we didn't have to depend on either one of our brains to get us there! but we did have to get across those five lanes of traffic . . .
when you live in a metropolitan area, you learn to deal with the traffic. i have never been intimidated by freeways. but then again, until moving here, i have never driven in twelve lanes of traffic going in two different directions. at night. during rush hour. and while i am not intimidated by it, it can be a little bit nerve-wracking at times. seriously, it is a miracle that i have not had an accident. rollie likes to say that when i get in my car, God sends angels on motorcycles to surround me. and i am pretty sure it is true . . .
anyway, we made it to the meeting in plenty of time, traffic and all. we got a good seat and settled in to listen to the presentation, made by jasmine star (who, as you know if you have been reading my blog for a while, we think is awesome!) i had been looking forward to hearing her speak. i pulled out my pen to take notes . . . and found it wouldn't write. at all.
i had just used that stupid pen a few days earlier and it worked perfectly fine! and now, when i needed it most, it was refusing to give up it's ink! now what? everyone around me was frantically scribbling on their paper (because jasmine talks FAST!) everyone, except me, because my pen decided to take the night off. i tried to take notes on my phone, but i couldn't keep up, typing on those teeny, tiny keys. so i finally just sat back and listened. and laughed. and realized that she wasn't really giving out information anyway. she was talking about being the kind of person who cares about the people they come in contact with.
it was interesting. here we were at a meeting for photographers, listening to one of the premier wedding photographers speak, and she wasn't talking about camera settings or rad actions or marketing or equipment. she was talking about developing relationships with people. she wasn't discussing how to set up formal shots or how to pace the day of a shoot or how to manage your business. she was talking about helping people and making them feel comfortable and doing things seemingly unrelated to photography--just because you care.
it was interesting, because that is not the way most people think about developing their photography business. it was interesting, because it wasn't about how to get ahead or be the best photographer. and it was interesting, because we have seen up close and personal, that jasmine practices what she preaches.
a year ago, she did a photo shoot for diandra. it was an amazing succession of circumstances that led up to that meeting, and it was a life-changing experience for diandra. and not just because jasmine took some beautiful pictures of her, but because jasmine cared. the photos were lovely, and we would have appreciated them even if jasmine had just been friendly and skilled at what she does. but she was more than that--without even knowing what diandra was going through, she was able to make her laugh, and remember that she was beautiful and smart and funny and wonderful. jasmine made her feel like she was someone worth knowing.i look back now, and i know that day was a turning point for diandra. i can see it happening in her eyes and in her expressions when i look at those photos. and i know that the interaction between two people who had never met before was more valuable than either of them could have known at the time.
people are important. it is so easy to get all caught up in the details of life that we forget that. it is easy to get so busy and tired and focused on our tasks, that even if we remember it, we don't have the energy to do anything about it. it takes energy to care about someone--energy and time, both of which can sometimes be in short supply. but i am thankful for the people in our lives who take the time to care. because you just never know when the few minutes you spend with someone today might be a turning point for them.
much of what is good in diandra's life right now can be traced back to that day, on the beach, talking to an incredible woman behind a camera.
one person really can make a difference.