• Jerry Hetrick

A Bigger Sofa

Safe, comfortable and secure, words I sink into like an overstuffed sofa. Each twist and turn of life tends to push me off the sofa, but I work hard, deal with the difficulties and sink back in. As life advances, I’ve gotten better at staying on the couch, safe, comfortable, secure.

I’m not talking about being lazy. I work hard to stay in the sofa zone of life. At my age it’s a rare occasion that I stand, on purpose, and dive over the edge of safe, comfortable and secure, but a few weeks ago I jumped.

I downloaded a social app., joined a photography group and signed up for a photo excursion through downtown Los Angeles, as evening fell across the city. I drove into the heart of the city, busy streets, unfamiliar, nervous. I parked in the growing shadow of glimmering downtown buildings and homeless people, grabbed my photo equipment and joined twelve strangers. Tripods in hand, we went through the 3rd street tunnel and began to capture one evening in Los Angeles. At times I wondered about my safety. I was without a doubt uncomfortable (I’m not good with strangers and small talk). I worried about securing my expensive camera equipment. I was without doubt, off of the sofa.

I’ve photographed many locations in Southern California, but never downtown. The idea of the discomfort was enough to stop me. When I arrived home, I was filled with several thoughts, one was; ‘that’s over with, I don’t have to put myself in that situation again.’ However, after processing, I realized I had increased my circle of safe, comfortable and secure. I met top photographers. I had a conversation with a deaf woman, on a bridge overlooking a bustling freeway. I got separated for a time and wandered alone. I was out of my league and out of my comfort zone. I was also, flooded with stimulation, alive! Aware, growing and expanding, but it didn’t happen until I stood up and dove off the sofa.

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