I made a big mistake at work yesterday. I let someone be unreasonable and ruin my day. No, I don’t want to talk about it. I’d rather go back to a happier time… like Monday.
On Monday, Gatermann and I went out shooting. He’s experimenting with high-contrast b&w photography and I wanted some harsh and stark pictures of myself in an urban setting, so we went driving around in the warehouse district. We found a great source of used car parts–drive around the right places, and you’ll find tires, hubs, car batteries, mufflers, and even gas tanks just sitting there, and no one complains if you take them. I even found a couple of tires mounted on hubs. They must make them in some of those old buildings or something.

But that wasn’t what we were looking for. We were looking for good shots. Well, we found a building that they’re tearing down, and one corner that’s still standing has a really big word painted on it, descending down the building: “Fresh.” Gatermann said he’d be coming back when more of the building was gone to get a shot of that. And Gatermann got a shot of a modern train running past the old, abandoned, St. Louis Southwestern Railroad (aka The Cotton Belt Route) freight depot on the riverfront.

And we found some neat-looking doorways for me to stand in while he took some shots.

We drove around some more, and Gatermann said he knew of a really neat-looking trestle nearby, so we went there. It’s been years since the trestle’s been used, but someone still mows under it. We got a few shots, then Gatermann looked over to the left. Next to a building, there were a few coal hoppers just sitting there. “Let’s get a shot of you standing between those two cars,” he said. I walked over there, then Gatermann said, “No, let’s go to the other side. With where the sun is, we’ll get backlighting there.” So we walked to the last car, stepped over a rope that was blocking our way and totally ignored the sign on the rope, and then one of us noticed a sign on the door of the building: Danger. Radioactive. Keep out. I looked at the signs on the fence next to the building: Radioactive contamination. Keep out. Gatermann and I looked at each other. “Maybe it’s not a good idea for us to be here.”

We stepped back over the rope and read the sign: Radiological buffer zone.

I looked at Gatermann. “Well, that was probably the smartest thing we’ll do all day.”

As we drove off, I noticed some more signs on that fence: Guard dog on duty. Guard dog? Isn’t radiation that’s bad for us bad for dogs too?

Chances are one of the sets of signs was lying. Maybe both of them. But that just didn’t seem to be the place to be that afternoon.

We weren’t the only ones to think that. Apparently some people think the thing to do in St. Louis on Memorial Day is to go find a warehouse, preferably with a loading dock that you can use like a porch, pack up the lawnchairs and the grill, and barbecue there with your family or a bunch of your buddies. You’ll have to ask Gatermann why that is, because I’m not a St. Louis native. I just live here. I don’t even like pork steaks.

But no one was BBQing at the House of Radioactivity. I guess no one wanted to know whether the barbecue would cook faster there. Or maybe they just didn’t want to share with the dog.