when ryan and i were dating, everyone told us how cute we were together because we were so different. and i, being the smitten girl that i was, was like, isn't it cute how ryan is more quiet and i'm more loud? and how he's so methodical and i'm so impulsive? we are so in love! ISN'T THAT SO CUTE??
ryan likes to know every little thing in full detail beforehand. if he is going to pay a bill, he sits down, opens the bill and reads it. the whole thing. every little listing, note and number. and then he questions it. you should see him in action. it's totally impressive. those poor office managers are nearly melted into puddles of frustration and exasperation at the handsome man who is standing before them, chopping their seemingly simple and user-friendly invoice into pieces of mulch.
"so, let me get this straight," ryan will say, calmly, completely unaware of the frazzled woman before him, "when you charge me for this, it's a one-time fee?" the woman nods. "and why is it that much?" she doesn't know. "does this fee include anything else, or is it just the fee?" it's just the fee. "are there any other fees that will show up on the next bill?"
i'm the opposite. i get a bill, i glance at it and then, if you're lucky, i'll pay it. but mostly, i put it aside in a special place reserved just for bills that i'm going to pay later and then i never look at it again. and then it gets turned off. and after that happens, i heave a great sigh, go to the special place reserve for bills to-be-paid, dig through the pile, find the bill pay the amount, plus the late fee. if i lived like this now, ryan's hair would all be white and he'd be wrinkled with stress. this is why i only play dead when he attempts to do finances with me: because secretly, i am very grateful for his thorough attitude.
it's amazing where else you can see these traits spill. ryan and i, though we were married for the last two years of ryan's degree, never had a college class together (too cheesy), but i think it would have been interesting to see the kind of students we were. ryan asks questions, reads directions, follows things carefully. i sit in front, listen and take notes and then haphazardly make my way through the rest of it. i don't read directions carefully, i don't ask questions.
well, on thursday night i took a page from ryan's book and i have to admit, it worked out really well for me. thursday night i was at the moca (museum of contemporary art) taking pictures of the valentino tribute show and i was NERVOUS. i had just finished taking pictures backstage and had made my way out to the foot of the runway where the platform for press was set up. already, it was full and buzzing with all sorts of polished looking individuals. i stood there, at the edge, fingering my camera with uncertainty. i heard someone say, "they say there's no flash allowed?" and i felt my heart sink. the lights were dim, the runway was dark and i had to somehow work my courage up to climb aboard the press platform and stand among all of those photographers.
it took a moment before i gritted my teeth and caught the eye of a man holding a very impressive set up. and then i did what i often do best, i blurted everything out, "i've never done this before and i need help."
to my relief, the man smiled. he offered to move aside and let me stand next to him on the platform. he took my camera in his hands and showed me which changes were best. with a frown, he acknowledged that perhaps i could use a bit more zoom on my lens, but no worries! he pointed to a spot where i could stand--front and center and gently asked a few photographers to make way for me. i was so nervous, even with his kindness and his gentle tutorials, so i asked a bunch of questions. and he answered all of them. but i was still nervous. the light was so bad! what was i going to do? and then the show started and the lights turned on and the model came out and i snapped my first picture. with hesitation, i looked at the shot. it was wonderful. what a relief! i snapped another. and another. my friend tapped me on the shoulder.
"are your pictures coming out?" he asked.
i nearly dropped everything to hug him. instead, i gushed. it probably terrified him.
i wanted to blog this because i wanted people to see the kindness one can offer another. more especially, the kindness one professional can offer a beginner in the same field. i also wanted to blog this so i don't forget. one day, i'm going to be just as kind.
of course, i owe this moment to ryan. if it weren't for his example of unwavering attention to detail and his quest to understand the things that are before him resulting in my wish for the ability to faint on command many, many times, i don't know if i would have had the experience that i had.
so ryan? thank you.
and heather? thank you.
and the man with the camera who took such good care of me? THANK YOU.
ps for pictures, go here.