Thursday, April 11, 2013

Candid Camera

A few weeks ago, I watched "Love and Other Drugs" on HBO. Verizon was kind enough to give us several months of "free" HBO for our viewing pleasure. After having it for almost two months, I've only been convinced that whatever special price they want to offer us won't be worth the cost. But I digress.

As I was saying, a few weeks ago, I watched "Love and Other Drugs" on HBO. I had previously watched about 10 minutes of the middle of movie. I had no idea what was going on, only that I didn't really like either character that Anne Hathaway or Jake Gyllenhaal were playing. This time around, I caught it at the beginning credits and Brie wanted to watch it with me. So there I sat, from start to finish. I'm still not 100% sold on it, but there were some parts that I enjoyed a lot and I came to relate to the characters.

In one scene of the movie, Anne learns that Jake was not an intern as she was led to believe. She confronts him in the parking lot at the doctor's office and unleashes her fury upon her. Let's just say, the Queen of Genovea would have been appalled. At the end of her verbal and physical attack, she whips out a Polaroid SX-70 camera and snaps a picture of him. It was so awesome. Jake recoils as she takes the shot. She is unapologetic and sticks the camera in her bag. I love how she did it with a Polaroid because there in her hand was the proof.

Needless to say, I fell in love her character at that very moment. Even more so later in the movie, as she creates collages with Polaroid prints that she has in her apartment.

I wish I had such courage, such conviction, with my camera to do the same thing. While we were in Italy, I was put off by the culture rude behavior of the Northern Italians.  At the Duomo in Siena, as I was trying to communicate to the ticket agent to find out if there were separate tickets for entrance to the cathedral and the top of the Duomo, the language barrier and her impatience got in the way. She quickly became frustrated with me and the next thing I knew her hands were flying about, her voice a loud pitch and then the words, "tonta", where uttered pointedly by her right in front of me.

Being Mexican, I know just enough Spanish to know tonta means stupid. Even if I didn't, her demeanor, hand gestures and facial expressions where enough to tell me what she was saying. I angrily told her that I was not stupid, she just wasn't listening to me. Her manager, all the while standing behind her, saying not a word.

Having put up with rude person number three already that day I had had it especially since this woman was selling tickets for the Catholic church. As my daughter and our friends, sympathized with me, I announced that, henceforth, I would be whipping out my camera and taking a picture of anyone else who was rude to me during the trip, or ever for that matter.

The idea really excited me and if I were six foot two and two hundred some odd pounds, I would have gone back to the ticket counter, taken a picture of miss rudeness herself and then ran like the dickens. But being the chicken I am, I took my tickets, indignantly exclaimed to her that she didn't need to be so rude and entered the cathedral instead. Isn't that what God would have wanted me to do anyway?

I loved that Anne's character did what I wanted to do, even if for different reasons. While Jake's character hadn't been rude to her, he had deceived her and got what he deserved. The camera shot, for me, was the icing on the cake. Now, like David duChemin, I want to use my camera for good and not for evil, but would taking a picture of someone being rude be evil?

Would someone act different if they knew they were going to be on camera? Yes, I think they would. That's the point.

The picture itself is not to throw darts at,  post on facebook or instagram (though that would be tempting!) or anything like that, but to give the person pause the next time they are in a similar circumstance. What would happen if they stopped to think...the last time I acted this way, I had my picture taken...I wonder if this person has a camera too. What if instead, they grin and put up with the stupid American tourist because after all it's probably the first time she's been to our beautiful city and her American dollars are helping to keep me employed?

Next time, I'm taking the shot. Here's hoping there isn't a next time.

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