Monday, August 27, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to the coliseum

As previously alluded, downtown Eugene is probably as safe a place on a sunny Sunday morning as anywhere I know, but there's just no accounting for some of the random encounters in life.

I set out yesterday capturing some of the images in the previous post, which seems to me a pretty innocuous activity. I stood at the corner of Broadway and Willamette and casually photographed what I unofficially call Kesey plaza, given the bronze statue of our native son reading to his grandchildren. It is arguably the most public place in Eugene. I turned my camera east down broadway, walked about 20 yards and was caught a little off guard when a man, a little taller than me, approaced from the right. If you've spent any time in Eugene, then you know the type: 20-something, bearded, shaggy, possibly stoned but probably under the influence of something at any rate. He walked straight to me and asked, not in a kind way, if I'd taken their (apparently referring to him and his friends) picture. It didn't seem likely to me that he was an agent for this or any other country and so I wasn't really sure where this was going. I told him that I hadn't, which was absolutely true. I had taken pictures of the plaza and hadn't, frankly, noticed the man or his friends standing in the shadows of the far corner. He then asked, no more kindly, if he could see my camera in order to check. My mind quickly scanned the range of possible responses, starting with the one which would end the conversation then, there and for good. In less than a second, I decided that the only appropriate response was to reply flatly that No, no he couldn't. I then turned from him and continued taking pictures, not at all sure that the ordeal had passed. For whatever reason, he apparently decided not to press the issue. When I looked again, he had walked back over to his group of friends. The one thing I do know is never know.


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