Friday, December 04, 2009

Benevolent Specter

(This post is for Satellite Dan - who berates me whenever I slack off on-line...)

Like an apparition, I materialize in an instant and hover on the edge of happenstance. Okay, so mostly I just show up and record stuff, but you'd feel like a poltergeist too if you crashed as many gatherings as I have. Family fights, picket lines conventions, cop car parties: I've rolled up on 'em all and earned my keep by acting distracted. I'm thoroughly convinced that if you feign disinterest, people won't even ask why you're pointing that camera their way. Luckily for me, I'm aloof by nature; an interloper prone to mope. But much of my thousand yard stare is a trap, for while I may appear to be fiddling with an indifferent lens, I'm actually zooming in on you ever so slowly - if not to steal your soul, at least to put you on the news. But before you summon a village elder, relax. I'm a benevolent specter.

Take the other day, when my The Suits in my life thought it would be a good idea to stalk hundreds of Surry County residents as they lined up for a government food give-away. I didn't argue - times are tight and charity in the act is almost always good Tee-Vee. Besides, I've covered the Elkin food distribution a time or two in the past - it's a veritable Lenslinger commodity! The people in charge there are always nice; there's even one lady who wears a 'Hug Collector' button and she'll pretty much break your thumbs should you try to shirk her embrace. The only problem - and it's really not a problem - are the folks who turn out for the free stuff. Don't get me wrong; they're good people. They just make me feel... like a vulture. I mean, would you want to put your pride in your pocket and line up for government cheese - only to see me and my fancycam at the head of the pack?

I wouldn't. Which is why I try to go easy on those in my crosshairs. It's not a tactic I use down at the courthouse. No, if you're sitting on the floor outside Courtroom B, attempting to bum cigarettes off non-smokers, well - you're fair game. Try to hide from my camera and I may very well chase you down a stairwell. But a charity event - where the downtrodden form a single file line and take what's being offered? Even a cold-hearted cameraman like myself feels kinda skeevy. So relax, mother of three who's scrunched down behind her steering wheel in hopes I won't see her. And you there, with the ill-fitting coat and downtrodden stare. It's all good. I'm here to televise - not victimize! If you don't want to appear in my little passion play, I'm totally cool with that. Besides, not everyone feels that way - and with a little effort they're easily spotted. THEY will be the stars of my production and perhaps we'll both sleep a little better tonight.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's a gentleman with a picket-fence grin and a new bag of free groceries who's been waving at me for the past fifteen minutes. I'm gonna go make his day.

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