[The girl's friend with a camera was taking this picture when I took this picture. Foto di Marzia Poerio, Shanghai 1993]

My friend with a camera actually owns many cameras, and she likes consistency - not only with her camera, but also in other aspects of life. To visualize my friend with a camera, you will have to imagine a Japanese cartoon of the nineteen eighties, where strange people with big sparkly eyes always wear the same outfit. My friend with a camera is like that, from complementary color clogs to red bike pants, from vintage-looking shirts to outrageous sweaters. My friend with a camera is not a photographer per se, but she is also that. Other things she is are artist, unicyclist, brown-haired, inquisitive. My friend with a camera might even be too hard to portray because it is too easy to do so. She likes to eat at Korean tofu restaurants, and deceivingly upper class bakeries. She carries knitting tools everywhere she goes, and she has a light in her stomach that turns on when she has an idea. No, it turns on only when she has a good idea. Her ideas include knitting, taking pictures of stuff including knitting, riding her bicycle in Los Angeles, and other things she keeps hidden in a white shed outside of her house. The shed is packed full of magic devices and mysterious machinery, but does not contain things that normally go to die in sheds like broken appliances and questionably colored paint. I remember the first day I saw that shed: I was secretly looking for an obsolete toaster oven. I expected to find the place less lit, and consequently more serious. When my friend with a camera opened the door for me, I was hit by colors that clearly did not belong into questionable paint cans, but were all happily making a funny impressions of the light coming in from the outside. Outside, it was the perfect weather Los Angeles always has. Now, I clearly magnify the scope of my encounter with my friend with a camera’s shed for narrative purposes, but there are other stories about her and said space that don’t need to be reworked fictionally. This is not the place to do so.

My friend with a camera and l like to go skiing. My friend with a camera is a much better skier than I am, as the stories I am not writing here would confirm. But this is not really important, except that when my friend with a camera and I went skiing together once, it struck me as an epiphany that Americans know how to ski, and they can do it very well. That day we also ate beans and took pictures of skiing. Not of skis, just of skiing. Other things my friend with a camera does are ordering and posting things online, which is also what everyone else does, and it’s ok, because she’s not really a Japanese cartoon from the nineteen eighties but a normal person. Only thing, she does not go to museums like normal persons, but more like the people who are in the permanent collection, so it is amusing to go to museums with her because she will always know everything about it inside and out, including all the interns at the gift shop and all the artwork, piece by piece. She often initiates conversations with gift shop interns and all the artwork, so if you are ever at a museum with her you should watch for the Rembrandts as they tend to get inappropriate in her presence. My friend the photographer likes to talk, but she listens too, and if you say something she questions it first, then she remembers. Sometimes she doesn’t, though, because we are all very busy.

I get along with my friend with a camera because we have similar taste in people, forms of entertainment, and coffee. We also have similar brown hair but mine is curly.