Wednesday, September 27, 2023 Sep 27, 2023
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A Photo Shoot Is Taking Place in Deep Ellum

Being a series of observations that elucidate the meaning of existence, or something.
By Geoff Johnston |

Right now, as you begin to read this sentence, the universe is expanding relative to an ever-changing scale of space. The Earth will take the next 23.93 hours to complete one full turn on its axis, rotating at just over 1,000 miles per hour. The rate of plate spreading along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge averages about 2.5 centimeters a year. And right now, as you read this magazine, a photo shoot is taking place in Deep Ellum.

Automobiles collide. Fights break out. An old friend breaks a promise. A young child breaks a family heirloom. An obese stranger breaks wind in a crowded elevator. 

A meeting is rescheduled. One half of a blind date is stood up. A reality show contestant complains about being thrown under the bus. A pizza is thoroughly enjoyed. Christmas lights illuminate a college dorm room. 

Across from the mural on the southeast corner of Main Street and South Malcolm X Boulevard, an aspiring fashion model writhes around in the back seat of a 2005 Toyota Sequoia, cramming herself into an evening gown while her photographer stands on the curb and swaps out camera lenses. 

A waiter is cut early from the dinner shift. A customer service representative takes a sick day. An executive vice president of sales and marketing considers running a 5K. 

Unrequited affection consumes a teenager. A widower stares out a window. A senior citizen deactivates her OKCupid and accounts and then creates an OurTime profile. 

A husband orders another cocktail and exchanges furtive glances with a new
co-worker. A middle school student sobs through the third chapter of Steinbeck’s The Red Pony. A singer-songwriter performs at an open-mic night and sings an unsuccessfully veiled ballad about contracting a venereal disease. 

A struggling writer pays for his coffee with loose change and neglects to tip the barista. A barista slips something really gross into a struggling writer’s coffee. A struggling writer puts aside his manuscript and spends three hours composing an angry Yelp review of the coffee shop he frequents. 

Beneath the legs of The Traveling Man robot sculpture at the Deep Ellum DART Rail station, a young couple awkwardly entwines arms and torsos for an overpriced engagement photo. 

Connections cannot be made to servers. Synchronizations fail. Directories are lost in data center migrations. 

An innocent child is born into poverty. An affluent patriarch represses base emotions and savors expensive brown liquor. A film student edits time-lapse video of a bowl of rotting fruit. 

A wedding is called off. A funeral is planned. A birthday party is ruined by an inebriated clown. 

An email reply is composed, considered, and deleted. A seasoned politician accepts a bribe via a third party. An able-bodied young man brazenly uses the handicapped stall in an office building’s restroom. 

Mascara runs. A tumor is diagnosed. A partly eaten hot dog is abandoned under duress. 

Under a portrait of Lisa Loeb in the parking alcove next to the Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on Elm Street where that head shop used to be, members of a local improv comedy troupe prance about with faces tightly screwed into expressions of compulsory zaniness.  

A living room is vacuumed. A front yard is mowed but not edged. A deflated exercise ball is stored in a guest room. 

Breakfast is skipped. Dinner is on the table. Revenge is served cold. 

An apple falls far from the tree. Chickens are counted before they hatch. Mothers let their babies grow up to be cowboys. 

A casual conversation trips over an uncomfortable pause. An orphan relocates to a foster home. After an undue amount of introspection and calibration of personal priorities, a DVR series recording of Bridezillas is canceled. 

Against a brick wall on the west side of Tanoshii Ramen Bar, a local speed metal band projects scowls onto the horizon as the drummer’s girlfriend takes their picture with a flip phone.

Right now, as you finish reading this magazine, a photo shoot has taken place in Deep Ellum.