You ever have an encounter with someone that leaves you thinking to yourself “There was a reason for that, just what it is?” I had such an encounter while walking with my tripod over the shoulder, down 3rd avenue. I turned to my right and saw someone waving me down then crossing the street. For a moment, it looked like a friend of mine but just a little ragged, it wasn’t. Once I recognized that it wasn’t it was too late. I was committed to the engagement of conversation with whoever this person was.
“How was the fishing? I see you have a pole “then he stopped, “Oh sorry I thought that was a pole.” I said no “it was a tripod for the camera.” “Taking pictures of what?” I explained that I was photographing around the down town are and I was about to head out. He asked for what and if I worked for a newspaper or something? I replied that no I was just doing it for myself. That is when he said I should photograph him that he would be a good subject. At first I was a little reluctant but what the hell, I could do it.
I had him sit on the bench and asked him what he was up to? He said his name was Bill and that he was walking around. He explained he was a Navy Vet and that he was trying to work the lawyers for a shoe shine. “Most of the don’t because they carry plastic.” I told him I thought that sucked on the lawyer’s part. He talked about a few other things but I couldn’t quite follow and after the session I gave him a few bucks. And before we parted he told a blond joke about two blonds on the opposite sides of the river. I can’t remember it but it is the equivalating of a blond being behind a steering wheel being called an airbag. The whole encounter took all of 5 minutes and I came away with an image I did not ever think I would get and he with a few bucks.
I felt and still feel I am missing the point of that encounter. That there was some reason for it and maybe I missed something. Maybe the reason for it has not yet played out and that it will hit me someday when I least expect it. Either way I hope that he did get something to eat with what I gave him. If you see Bill ask him to tell you his blond jokes and maybe give a few bucks for a meal. Bright his day and the other people like Bill in the world. We all have something that we can share with others just to make our lives a little bit better.