Driving on Venice Avenue, I saw a retired-aged couple sitting on a bench. Their body language was relaxed, and cloud cover made the light situation appear favorable. When I approached them with "The Question", there was no hesitation.
They are from Massachusetts, and have spent winters in Venice for 12 years. It's still cold 'up north', so they are more than happy to be here. When they heard that I live in Florida year round, Paul asked how I could stand the heat in the summers. I told him that I am getting less tolerant as the years slide by. It's not the high temperatures and humidity, but the duration of the discomfort. June is OK, but by September, I've had it! He understood – they once lived in Minnesota and could stand a few freezing days, but being stuck indoors for 30 to 40 days was difficult. I told him that I would become an alcoholic in such conditions. He laughed, and explained that ice fishermen drive trucks onto frozen lakes, and the fishermen huddle in little houses to fish. And to drink. Lots.
As a technical aside, I have photographed most strangers with a Nikon D90, with a prime lens at wide aperture, usually f2 – 2.8. This combination has a shallow depth of field; the background becomes blurred. This summer I plan to switch to a micro 4/3 camera that has a smaller sensor. The backgrounds won't be quite as blurred. So to get used to this, I am shooting at f4, beginning with Paul and Millie.
Although they live in Massachesetts, they are very familiar with New York City. I was born in Queens, and we talked about the neighborhoods there. Several years ago, I visited the neighborhood where I lived as a small child. It has not withstood the test of time well. Paul and Millie were familiar with such situations. And, the crime...
I wished them well, and handed them my MOO card. We will probably cross paths next winter.