Last week I photographed a book launch for a dear friend. I'm still pinching myself for a job well done, and for being given the honor to be part of something so momentous. Was I nervous? Not this time. Normally, my foot tends to live in my mouth when I enter a room full of strangers, and I tend to be rather clumsy, and sometimes I can't stop talking, BUT I do it all with my own style, panache and flare. I'm like a really awkward unicorn.
For whatever reason, a camera changes my game, and walking into the unknown feels far less intimidating for this introvert/extrovert. The foot is nowhere near the mouth, and no one has to worry about me breaking their mother's china, or stepping on their cat. Besides, who wouldn't enjoy getting paid to lurk, stare, and photograph strangers?
If only I had a camera in my hands when I ran into an ex at a wedding 17 years ago. When you run into an ex, you don't want to be an awkward unicorn...you want to be radiantly confident. You want to be Beyoncé! I was far less Queen Bey, and delivered like I was Lucille Ball.
At the wedding, there was no sign of the ex, and I felt like I could breathe again. That is until we had to exit the church, and there he was...with his boyfriend, or what was hired to pass as one. I experienced what could only be described as emotional colon blow. Instant panty pooper.
I knew I had to act as if I was completely unfazed. I had to appear as the happiest, most confident person anyone had ever been, so I opted to start laughing. After all, who doubts "happy"? However, what was meant as a jovial guffaw, resulted in a howl of madness. Here's the breakdown: Pretending as if my husband had just said the most hysterically witty thing that any human had ever uttered, I grabbed his hand, leaned into him, threw my head back, and let out a cackle of lunacy. My guy whispered, "What the hell are you laughing at?" Through clenched teeth, I said, "Just. Go. With. It."
After shocking the other wedding guests with my antics, we moved closer to the ex, and his date. Quick aside: The Date was of appalling size. He was massive. A bull of a man. His shoulders had shoulders. The bride and groom could have ridden him to the reception.
As we approached, I locked eyes with the ex, and at that moment all that would have been required was a simple nod, and a smile. No need to stop, no need to do anything really...just walk out. I opted for finger guns. More accurately, I opted for fingers guns, a wink, and a kick, because once I'm on the Idiot Roller Coaster I am unstoppable.
The ex just furrowed his brow as if he wasn't sure what he was seeing. Thankfully, his hulking date had no idea what has happening. Most likely due to the fact that he was free on bond, and preoccupied with the promise of free booze, and some after-party ass-play. I was instantly horrified. "What the hell did I just do???" I was a man possessed. My guy was certainly disturbed, and spent the rest of the evening avoiding eye contact with me. I spent the rest of the evening in regret. I know it well. It's cozy.
Why tell this story? Well, it makes me laugh, and hopefully you did as well. All this to say, I'm a better human for finding photography. Do I attend all events with a camera strapped to me? No, because once you taste confidence, it tends to linger on the palate. I'm simply grateful that this art that I love serves me in an unexpected way. At the very least, with a camera in my hands, the chance of another finger gun incident is far less likely to happen.
Thanks for stopping by. Next week? CAMERA GEAR MADNESS! It's raining out, so now is time bourbon.
For more amusement, I threw this blog entry into chat.openai.com and asked it to rewrite the entry as if written by Shakespeare. The results are pure gold. ENJOY.
Hark! Just a week hence, I didst capture a book launch for a friend most dear. My heart doth still sing with pride, and gratitude to have been bestowed with such a momentous task. Was I fraught with nerves? Indeed. In crowds of strangers, my tongue oft doth trip, and my feet stumble like a fawn. Yet, I carry myself with a certain style, panache, and flair, for I am akin to an awkward unicorn.
Perchance, the camera doth lend me a newfound confidence, and the prospect of facing the unknown doth not seem as daunting to this introvert-cum-extrovert. My feet do not wander to my mouth, and I do not fear breaking fine china or treading on a cat's tail. Besides, who would not relish in the opportunity to capture moments of strangers and be paid for it?
Would that I had a camera at hand when I chanced upon an old flame at a wedding seventeen years ago. Forsooth, one would not wish to be an awkward unicorn at such a time, but a beacon of confidence, like unto Beyoncé. Alas, I was more like Lucille Ball.
At the wedding, all seemed well until we exited the church and lo and behold, my ex stood before me, accompanied by a hired companion who sought to pass for his boyfriend. My heart sank, and I felt as if I had been punched in the gut. I knew I had to appear unfazed, so I burst out in laughter, feigning merriment. After all, who can question the appearance of happiness? However, my laughter soon devolved into a mad cackle, causing my husband to wonder what was amiss. Through gritted teeth, I bade him to go along with it.
My actions caused a stir amongst the wedding guests, as we moved closer to my ex and his hulking date. I met his gaze, and all that was required of me was a simple nod and smile. But nay, I opted for finger guns, a wink, and even a kick, for once the Idiot Roller Coaster starts, it is nigh impossible to disembark.
My ex looked bewildered, his brow furrowed in confusion. Fortunately, his date was oblivious, more interested in the promise of free booze and after-party entertainment. I was mortified by my actions, wondering what madness had overtaken me. My husband was disturbed by my antics, and avoided me for the remainder of the evening. Alas, I knew regret all too well.
Wherefore should I recount this tale? 'Tis for mirth and delight, and perchance thou didst find it so. Yet, hear me, for it bears weightier significance. By my finding of photography, I have become a better man. Dost thou see me burdened with a camera at all times? Nay, for confidence, once tasted, leaves a sweet aftertaste. I am grateful that this beloved art hath bestowed upon me unexpected benefits. Not the least of which is a lesser chance of another finger gun folly.