I did a job down in the Southern Tier for a company that does children’s play structure installations. It was in a town that is the polar opposite of the working class collection of farmers and factory workers that make up my neighbors here in lovely Oswego County. The people are rich. The town is trendy.
I wasn’t sure what I’d need for the job, so I took a lot of gear. Two bodies, five lenses, couple of lights (stands and umbrellas), flash, extension cords, etc. Good thing I brought it all because I used it all. The job was at a YMCA.
The equipment was installed in a room that it filled completely. And, since it was a play structure for toddlers, it was designed for someone 3 feet tall and about 50 pounds. I’m 6’4″ and, even though I’ve lost almost 20 pounds in the last month, I tip the scales at 241 pounds. And it was about 80 degrees in there. And humid. So humid.
I finished the job, packed up my stuff, got in the Excursion and was getting ready to leave when a middle aged woman (looking very agitated) came running up to the window. I rolled it down and gave her what I consider a smile (but I understand from most folks, it isn’t). And, we’re off.
“Can I ask who gave you approval to take pictures in there?”
I gave her the name of the client and watched as she got that look of someone that never listens to people answer the questions she asks because it might interfere with the load of righteous indignation she’s been building up and is so determined to deliver.
“Did you talk to anyone here or did you just come in and start taking pictures?”
Of course, I spoke to someone in there. It was a lady but I don’t recall her…
“Because we have kids in there and we can’t just have anyone wandering in off the street”
I understand but I didn’t just walk in off the street. I was hired to…
“This is our Toddler time and parents paid to use that room but they couldn’t because you were in there taking your (pointed pause) pictures“
At this point, I opened the door of the Excursion and stepped out. I no longer had a smile. I was tired and sweaty. My arthritis was killing me and both knees were on fire. I’d been lugging around my Sony A900 all morning and my wrist was throbbing and getting that shooting pain from the tendon that refuses to heal.
She took a half-step back and the expression on her face changed from Privileged Yuppie to OMG Scary Black Man. If she had a purse, she would have clutched it to her breast. I said “Follow me” and started walking to the building. She was talking (a lot) but I have no idea what she was saying because I wasn’t listening. I opened the door to the building and held it for her (home training never dies). She walked through.
“You understand, we just can’t let…”
I turned my back on her and walked down the hall. She followed because I knew she would. I came to the Director’s door, stopped and turned to face her.
“Ohhh, you spoke with Director _______ “
I then said “I spoke with Director ________. She OK’d it. And you are?” She answered but I ignored her. I walked out of the building and got in the Excursion.
I sat there in their No Parking Zone and let the Excursion’s V10 idle – loudly – while Yuppie Moms and their ill behaved spawn filed out of the building giving me disapproving glares as I just sat their letting my carbon footprint get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.
I put it into gear and headed back to the RiverHouse.
“I used to live with those people” is the thought that kept running through my mind. What was I thinking?