Last evening, when my buddy leaves his business on Eagle Street, I walk out the door with him. He was headed to the River Arts District for something called “Magnetic Field” – they were doing a poetry slam. Since I’d rather eat dirt than listen to poetry, we shook hands and I headed towards Pritchard Park. It seems there’s always something in Pritchard to photograph.
I find that there isn’t much in the park. Some guy playing records under a tent as about 5 people with hula hoops move around the circle. With it starting to sprinkle, I grab a spot on the brick wall in the northeast corner of the park about fifteen feet from where Mary West the Prichard Park flower Nazi has installed a bird house on top of a ten foot pole.
As I’m sitting there watching the crowds stroll by in the drizzle, a girl comes up to me. She looks to be about twenty years old and typically Asheville. Tattoos cover her face and arms, a nose piercing and about ten piercings in her right ear with about the same number in her left ear.
She stares at the camera over my shoulder then looks at me and back to the camera. In that breathless, free ranging, stream-of-consciousness that some people who feel that what they are thinking has to come all out at once, she starts talking.
“Are you a photographer I’m a model I just moved to Asheville two weeks ago and I just so love it it here the people are awesome and the weather is just terrific my father is a photographer too he lives California and he takes pictures of all of the movie stars like Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise did you know that Tom Cruise is in the church of scientology and they don’t like people to smoke grass and he ran into trouble because Nichole Kidman you know his ex-wife smoked a lot of marijuana and that’s why they split up and now she’s in Australia have you ever been to Australia I want to go there one day and….yada, yada, yada, yada.”
Get the picture? Sorry for the pun.
I take a breath and try to jump into the conversation so she would realize that yes, I am a real live human being and not just a mannequin out on the corner to scare the pigeons. But miss-twenty-something hasn’t learned the difference between a dialogue and monologue, so she keeps going.
“Like I said I’m a model and I’m always looking for good photographs are you a good photographer have you been doing it long you know if you like I would let you take my pictures and it would help you build a portfolio and then you’d have something to show people your work and it would really be beneficial for you to take my pictures…..yada, yada, yada.”
Seeing a taxi coming up College Street, I told Miss twenty-something-who won’t-shut-up that it was good talking to her and that I was sorry that I would have to pass up on this career changing opportunity she was handing me.
I hailed the taxi, opening the door, I slid the gear bag onto the back seat. Climbing in as the driver pulled slowly away from the curb, I told him, “I’m going to give you a FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY to drive me home. The exposure would be great for you and would enhance your portfolio tremendously.”
He threw me out.