Shiny station logos provoke a variety of responses from the public at large and most of them I'm more than prepared for. Take the other day for instance: Idol Expert Shannon Smith and I were enjoying the most glamorous of sandwiches in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant when a young man with nothing much to do poked his head into the driver's side window of Unit Four.
"Hey, what'chall think of ole Van der Sloot?", he asked, revealing a mouth that may very well have never hosted a real-life toothbrush.
"Huh?" I asked, not knowing what the hell the man with the scary mouth was talking about.
"Van der Sloot..." he said, looking past me to the pretty news lady sitting in the passenger seat.
"You mean the guy in the Natalee Holloway case?", Shannon asked.
Indeed he did, for when Shannon locked eyes with him, he leaned in even further into my lunch-zone and layed out a rambling theory as to why the jetsetting teenager was clearly innocent of all charges in the salacious Aruban murder case. Throughout his dissertation I never looked up; instead I cradled my four dollar cheeseburger and hoped Mr. Yuck-Mouth simply wouldn't breathe on it too much. Shannon wasn't so lucky, though. Ever the professional, she humored our skeevy inquirer until he finished his nonsensical rant and wandered off to weird out some other hapless lunch-eater.
"Way to hang me out to dry back there," Shannon said a little later. "You got an opinion on EVERYTHING, but when Mr. Stranger Man walks up, you slip into 'dumb photog mode'."
"Aw, c'mon Shan," I said through a guilty grin. "It's not like I was gonna let him drag you out of the car or anything..."
We both chuckled and soon forgot the incident, but Mrs. Smith's insightful accusation stuck with me. For the record, photogs AREN'T dumb - but the viewing public often assumes our intellect pales in comparison to that of our far-better-groomed partners. I, of course, enjoy dispelling this myth on this very webspace, but come at me with an off-the-wall question and I'm gonna play lugnut so fast it'll make your head spin. Is it right? Probably not, but it sure beats spending my lunch-break trapped in a protracted discussion of cable news fodder with someone who has little regard for my time and even less concern for proper dental hygiene. Is that so wrong?