Monday, April 27, 2009

Australia Says 'No' to Photos

We were cruising the streets of Daisy Hill last week when we came across these placards displayed in a front yard. Having been set firmly in tourist mode for the past two years (which involves viewing things in a flippant, jesting kind of way) I resolved to take pictures of the signs, because they made me laugh. So, after we parked, I walked back down the street and started clicking away in the most covert way I knew how (looking straight ahead as I walked, clicking shots on the side). In retrospect, I should have spent a little time staking out the property, but how could I have known? After I took the last snap I heard an aggressive voice call out, "Hey! You want a picture of me with the sign mate?"

The owner of the placards stomped out of his carport, brushing aside his punching bag as he came. I toyed with the idea of running, but, taking into account the oppressive humidity, my foolhardy decision to wear jeans, and my propensity for nose-bleeds, soon decided against it. Besides, he had a dog, who had made much wiser wardrobe choices.

"Oh, Hi there," I said, as if he just had offered me scones.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm Julian Lewis" I said, as if it carried some kind of meaning. It did not.

He went on to grill me about every aspect of my life, convinced I had been sent by Education Queensland to document his public demonstration against the primary school across the street. I told him I had not, and soon provided him with enough detailed information (withholding my mother's maiden name) to satisfy him that I was probably not a spy. My shaken and stirred manner probably supported the argument.

I asked him what he was protesting about, and he said he had been laid-off unfairly as the groundskeeper from the school across the road. He was not eager to talk about the reasons for his dismissal, so I chose not to push it.

We left on good terms, though I really regret not taking him up on his initial offer to photograph him with the sign. Still, I guess if I had, I might have been typing this story with a pencil in my mouth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you need to get a camera that's hidden in your sunglasses like Nightrider, Juz.