This post card is not about the American retail giant, Target Stores, who stared into Wal-Mart’s ingenious reptilian eyes, refused to blink and yet lived to tell the tale. Target knew better than to stay in the same pond with Wally. He was too strong and already knew the pond too well. Those retailers who opted for direct approach died on the rocks of confrontational competition. Tyrannosaurus Rex isn’t driven from his intended. Drive down Main Street through any medium or small town in the South where Wally lives. The town’s commercial district is either boarded up and deserted or it’s a collection of small boutique shops selling items Wally does not. So Target Stores hired Michael Graves and invented cheap chic. When the eight-hundred pound croissant moves into your town you sell gâteaux. This post card is about a Targét.
On Friday I was in my favorite French city, Orléans. There are many reasons why I adore this city. It’s small enough to be exceedingly quaint and friendly. Its inhabitants are gracious enough to only wince as I speak my Blanche Dubois French and patient enough to speak slowly so that I can understand fifty percent of what they are saying. At the same time it is large enough to have theaters, museums and many good inexpensive restaurants.
After dinner the evening light was so beautiful I decided to have a walk and to perhaps make some pictures. During the summer months the crépuscule (twilight) in Northern Europe lasts for several magical hours. It is my favorite time of day. It’s no wonder that Jeanne d’Arc and so many others believed in fairies. In the softly dimming light one can imagine many things that are not grounded in acceptable reality. I arrived at one of my favorite large squares in Orléans. In the center a regal statue of the city’s famous savior, Jeanne d’Arc, donated by the City of New Orleans is surrounded by restaurants and shops all seemingly packed at this time of day. I located an empty bench, sat down and became enchanted by the mixed play of artificial and natural ambient light. Excitedly I took my camera from my bag. I wanted more “zoom” than was afforded by my customary lens, a 50 mm, so I removed it from its home on my Leica M8 digital camera. I replaced it with a 75mm lens and turned to make a few images. When I finished I sat down next to my bag on the bench for a few more minutes before heading back to my hotel.
When I arrived at my hotel, I noticed that I still had the 75mm lens on my camera. This seemed to me a bit curious because whenever I change lenses it is routine for me to return the 50 lens to its normal home after using a substitute. The 50 is my “go to” lens. Huh? I said to myself as I reached into my bag for my primary lens but did not feel it there. Frantically I emptied everything from the bag onto the bed. The 50 mm lens pouch was there with the rear cap inside but no lens! Disbelief! Impossible!! I was never more than two feet from my bag. Touché.
After two days of gut-wrenching sleepless nights I got my mind around what must have happened. I soon recalled setting the 50 lens on top of my bag intending to replace it after using the 75. Out of sight out of mind until returning to my hotel. No doubt a professional thief was working in the square. Certainly he or she noticed that I was a professional photographer (dressed in black) and an American (comfortable shoes). Targét! At precisely the opportune moment he or she floated by and snatched my lens from its temporary perch atop my bag. Not wishing to be seen chased from a crowded square with what is obviously a professional camera bag by what is obviously a professional photographer, le voleur simply silently palmed the solitary lens, turned and floated away like a fairy into the falling light. When in Paris, I am Inspector Poirot, but when in a smaller city like, Orléans, I was more like Inspector Clouseau.