Thursday, December 08, 2005

Listenin' In The Cold

"Chet's Audience" by Wes Aldridge

Tonight I wanted to record some reality with my light capturing box, so I went downtown. I walked the sidewalks and alleyways for about two hours in the 30-degree temperature. It was cold, much too cold for me to be aimlessly hunting a shot, but of course I kept on searching.

I came upon the intersection where a bronze statue of Chet Atkins sits on a stool playing a guitar with an empty stool beside him. Though tonight, the other stool wasn't empty. A man (whom I talked to later and found out he was homeless) was sitting there motionless in a deep stare. It was as if he was listening to Chet play. I slung the camera up and popped a shot before he saw me. I walked by the guy and we small talked and I went back to the Jeep.

I drove by the Ryman Auditorium and saw a sad scene: several men were huddled together lying on an air vent to stay warm in the bitter night air. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I drove a few blocks up to the TigerMarket and bought some large coffees and sandwiches and bananas and headed back to the group of men on the street.

I walked up and more guys had shown up to warm there since I had gone to the store. I gave them the food and drinks and asked them to please share. They graciously agreed. I sat down there and talked to them for a little while. It was getting late so I wished them good luck and headed on my way.

I knew that the $16-something-odd dollars I spent on the food wasn't much, but hopefully it will help those men get through a cold Nashville night.