This is my Journal. After having worked in Sénégal for 8 months, then 1.5 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo; I have now returned to Washington D.C.

June 18, 2007

Smile!

I witnessed a really weird scene in the metro on Friday morning. A 40-something woman -weary from the day’s work- sat on an empty seat with a book, behind a quiet looking 50-year old. As she settled into the cushion, he turned around with his cell in his hand, positioning it just so. Caught in the moment, and realizing that he was about to snap a picture, she stood up straight, and gave him her little, polite picture smile. Snap!

Then he turned back around to fiddle with the cardboard box that just held his new phone. She turned to me, gave me a slightly quizzical, bemused eyebrow-raise, and continued to read her book.

I mean it’s not Guiness-Book-of-World-Records weird, but it was a little disconcerting to watch. Isn’t picture-taking a somewhat intimate action between two people who know each other? And yet, it was refreshing that the moment wasn’t more complicated than that.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, finally you update your blog :).
That's a nice story! I'm surprised the woman took it so well :)

-Ammo

Miles said...

Once for a photography class I had to take close-up pictures of strangers' faces - the exercise was less about quality of photos than it was to get us used to asking strangers if it was OK to take their picture. About half the people were happy to do it and put on a nice smile. Half the people said no - most politely, but some with a suspicious eyebrow raised, like maybe they were under surveillance or something. When I said "thanks anyway" and walked away, they seemed almost disappointed it wasn't a big spy game.

strudel said...

The young dad plays his accordion, a boring song, his eyes searching for the random policeman. Dling, dlong, dling, the tin cup of his daughter, a seven years old bitch from the Balkans, is begging for a coin. Her eyes are not looking at passengers, she dreams of an horse, a doll, or an ice-cream.
-He should be jailed.-
Where he will play and the wardens will dance.
-That little girl should go to school.-
I would'nt be her teacher.

The change at every metro-stop.
Rome does not care.

strudel said...

strudel: listen , do you thing this woman could be English mother tongue ?

gail: nope
Gail : can't say an horse
Gail : u wrote it jonny
strudel: apart from horse ?
strudel: may be a mistypo
Gail : yep
Gail : ok
Gail : no mistypo
Gail : an horse is written how it is pronounced by an itie
strudel: itie ? what's it ?
Gail : italian
Gail : the english call them iti's aitai's
strudel: you don't call me an itie . Got it ?
Gail : aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiii

Beaver said...

And yet, we take pictures of the colorful locals when we travel abroad, and don't fret too much about it.

Out of context, it feels so wrong, doesn't it?