Sunday, March 24, 2013

Goal #2124: Take a Picture of Someone Who Doesn't Want Their Picture Taken

You wouldn’t typically think that taking a picture of someone is a big deal. When I had my photographic moment, I was in a small village on Panay Island near the town of Ilo Ilo in the Philippine Islands. In most of the places I’d been to on the island, folks loved to have their pictures taken. This was especially true with the kids. The kids were always hamming it up for me. They would crowd around me in hopes that I would take their picture with the promise of seeing a copy of it someday.

But old people didn’t tend to react the same way the kids did. I think they were just too steeped in their old traditions. I was new enough to the island and I didn't realize that many of the really old people grew up still believing that spirits could be captured and controlled by strangers with cameras.

I found several very very old women who rolled their own cigars and smoked them with the lit end in their mouth. I thought it would make a great picture to show friends, but apparently they didn’t. They throw a royal tantrum and demanded that I give them my camera. They were just about to unchain their dogs and let them after me when I finally decided that if I valued my life I had better bow to their demands. Just one look at them was enough to convince me that it wouldn't have bothered them in the least to see their dogs tear me apart. They unceremoniously opened my camera, tore out the film, threw my film into the fire and begrudingly gave me back my camera. I was then invited to leave their village and never come back.

Lesson learned: Beware of old ladies who smoke their cigars with the lighted end in their mouth. Anyone who does that has got to be a bit odd and dangerous.

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