We’re not at home

The skater comes towards me and I twist the barrel of the lens to frame the athlete. The lens extends, the plastic barrel flecked with white, the plastic in the process of decay. I stop and think. That’s not quite right, where did this zoom lens come from? I never shoot with zooms. I reach in to my camera bag to find my prime of choice. I pull out what I believe is, however, I can’t quite make out what is wrong with it. The lens looks wrong. But I can’t put my finger on it. It’s approximately 24 inches long and made of glass, a sweetie jar with the bottom cut off and a lens plate mounted to its base. It’s not the shape, feel and the material that disturbs me, but the clear, highly viscous liquid that covers it, which I start to peel off to get to the lens underneath.

Halfway though removing this liquid, which I am convinced is integral to the lens’s performance, I stop. I’m missing too much of the action and this is taking too long. There must be another lens in the bag somewhere. One not covered in gunk, anything will do.

I put my hand back in and bring out what initially feels more like more what I need. The cool metal with the dimpled paint feels like a lens. It fills the hand and I am convinced it’s a 70mm-200mm f2.8. Not my lens of choice for Derby action, but better than nothing. As I try to mount the lens I realise it is in fact two toilet roll tubes painted beige and  roughly jammed together. What’s going on? Why is this happening? Why wont it fit?

I start to panic. The biggest bout of the year and I’m missing everything. Why didn’t I pack the right lenses? Who put all this shit in my camera bag? I’m hitting melt down, I can’t get a grip of the situation. I’m beginning to wonder if I can get away with shooting through a toilet roll tube. Will anyone notice? Play it cool. Look like a pro and no-one will notice. Just claim all the memory cards became corrupted or you dropped your camera in the canal on the way home and just apologise for the lack of pictures.

Suddenly my eyes spring open. I’m disorientated. I roll over and see the bright red LED display of my alarm clock. 6:26am. It’s all a dream. Shit, it reads 7:26am, I’m late for work.

It’s just a cheese induced nightmare. I pull myself together and think, don’t worry, high pressure situations are fine, you can cope.  To quote Baldrick, ‘We’re not at home to Mr Cock-up’. However as I leave for work I’m convinced that I’ll be preparing the guest room in the very near future.


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