Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a post and a confession...

Today's Culture Blog explores more of the genius of photographer Bill Wilson. How Bill makes it to every random political event is beyond me, but thank God he does. It's all up now over at SFGate.

Unrelated, last week I was walking back from the Embarcadero Gap (where I spend most of my daily lunch hour) and I passed this man parked in a very old station wagon which was filled with garbage. He honked at me, and kinda banged on the window, yelling, "Come here! Come here!"
Within a second, I imagined myself walking over to him to see what he needed, him pulling out a gun and shooting me in the face. He was pretty old, but still. I watch enough true crime programming to know that...you never know.
I've felt guilty about this ever since.
But what could he possibly have needed? Was he trapped in the car somehow? That was the impression I got. I suspect the handle wouldn't work, or similar. It certainly looked like the kind of car with has handles that don't work.
And I made eye contact with him. He saw me see him, consider getting involved, and then decide against it. As I walked away, I felt horrible. I thought of all of the helpful yet safe options I could've chosen, like getting a security guard from the nearby bank involved, or asking a bystander to help figure this out.
Did I feel guilty because I was worried about the old man in the garbage car? No. I felt guilty because I was worried I was on one of those news shows where they hide video cameras, hire an actor to appear in distress and then watch in horror as people like me are like, "Oh God, don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact."
If I knew cameras were on me, I would've lept into compassionate action. Perhaps the lesson here is to always pretend you're on a secret Good Samaritan show, just in case. Plus, you might actually end up helping someone! Or getting shot in the face...

2 comments:

No way said...

I had something similar, though less disturbing, happen to me in front of Embarcadero 2 recently and I had the exact same thought: I'm going to look like an asshole on camera.

A homeless gentleman was asking passersby a question and as I tried to sidestep the situation, he asked me something. I didn't turn around and attempt to answer him until I had walked away somewhat and it was then that I noticed it. He had what looked like a pile of books or something held up against him as if you were carrying your textbooks to class. It was then that I imagined a concealed camera recording me being an insensitive jerk. Because why would a homeless dude be wearing those thick-rimmed glasses that obviously house a camera? It's like spotting a toupe. The books were more plausible.

By the way, congratulations to Melissa for her appearance on KGO radio this morning.

Seana said...

Or whip out your cell phone and report someone in distress at the corner of X and Y to the police. Then people with guns and training can approach the scary garbage car.