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Edition #90, November 15, 2008

Unlocking My Addictions

Photographer: Mark A. Perry

                                                                            Photo by Mark A. Perry

Unlocking My Addictions

For many people across this big planet of ours, addictions are very much a way of life in their daily routine, some good and some bad. Iím pretty sure most of mankind, when asked to describe the meaning of the word ďaddictionď, would probably describe it as a terribly lonely experience and they would certainly do whatever it takes, to avoid the painful torture of having an addiction. 

Iíve always thought that I have been addicted to trains since the day I was born but I never saw it as bad thing. I donít ever remember a time in the past when they didnít fuel the fire to my endless fascinations and are forever embellishing my ever widening imagination. Through my childhood up until my middle age years, trains were a big part of my life. Sure they competed with friends, sports and the opposite sex but I was able to indulge in all my interests but easily the trains always took the largest portion of my everyday addictive routines. But was that wrong? They were my addictions. They served a purpose. They never hurt anyone. They allowed me to be me, all by myself with no one to bother me. They kept me safe when times were not right in my life.

Could it be that this addiction kept me sane and guided me to where I am today? Honestly, I donít have the answer for that. Railroading became my profession and I finally saw my life, turning around for the better, the day I hired out. For the first time I actually let people get close to me and soon I had acquired some truly great friends both on the job and in the hobby. Finally I felt good about myself.

But then for some unknown reason by the time I turned 45 years old, that addiction was taking a backseat to most other things in my life. I soon found myself not really caring about all the details of the trains like I had in the past. Iíd become much more obsessed with being a true friend with all the people that Iíve come to know because of those trains! Had I kicked the addiction or had a new addiction taken over me? Who knows but Iíve come to the conclusion that I think I finally just found some peace with who I am and where I came from.

Witness the accompanying photograph. This image was shot in March 2008, while I was out in California attending Winterail. What does it portray and what is it trying to say to everyone that looks at it? I canít answer that for anyone else. Some might say it is meant to portray something about the Southern Pacific. I donít know about that, I only saw the SP once in the real flesh. Yes it was an interesting railroad but in reality this simple, almost mono-chromatic image speaks to me only about my so-called addictions.

Honestly, I can say that I only attend the annual photographic event for one reason and one reason only. While all the spectacular slide shows are great and all the unfamiliar railroads in that region are something new to photograph, the main new addiction for me attending the annual event is because all the people I meet there. Simply hanging around and learning from such inspiring people like Mel, Elrond, Ted, Joe, Mike, Dick, Howard, Mark, Shirley, John, Jamie, the list goes on and on... 

Some truly wonderful people that helped me along the way with unlocking my addictions....

Mark A. Perry

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