Would you like me to take your picture?
Yesterday I was standing on the Pittsburgh overlook at the top of the Monongahela Incline. Almost everyone enjoying the view from Mt. Washington whipped out cell phones for a photo op… that is, until an old scruffy looking man rolled up in his motorized wheelchair and started freely asking, “Would you like me to take your picture?”
Almost automatically, singles and couples left to continue their stroll, perhaps taking in the view from a different overlook. Maybe they worried he would steal their phone and race away.
I felt the sunshine on my back and reveled in the fresh air. It was a subliminal moment’s decision to strike up a conversation with this gentleman. (Okay, in reality, he started the talking, but I allowed it to continue… yup, still an introvert.)
“I’m Bernard (BER-nerd). I’m a cook and I’ve worked in a lot of those buildings over there.” He pointed out various businesses where he’d prepared lunches, including the Carnegie Science Center. “Do you see that submarine?” He pointed off to the northwest.
“Submarine?” I asked, incredulous.
He directed my line of sight to the Steelers’ stadium at Heinz Field and told me to look left, and then to the water line. Sure enough… a submarine.
I had been staring at that view for half an hour, and no doubt could have stared all day without taking in that particular detail.
“Do you still work at the Science Center?” I asked.
“Oh no, I like to be creative, so I never stay much in one place.” He said he likes to add little surprises in his food sometimes, rather than cook the same thing the same way every time. “That gets boring.”
I confessed to him that I’m a baker rather than a cook. I like to follow a recipe exactly (at least when I’m patient enough to do so). I like knowing that the results will always taste predictably good.
“Yeah, but secretly, don’t you sometimes just add a pinch of something in there when nobody’s looking?”
I consider his question. “Nope. That’s not me.” Maybe I’m living cautious. But then I realize I have been engaging in a conversation no one else that morning wanted any part of. And it’s nice.
Or at least it was lovely until he turned the talk to his status as a single man and asked if he could have my number to “call tomorrow.”
I said a hasty goodbye and shrank back into my introverted shell.
The moment I stepped away from the man, a yuppie couple held out a cell phone toward me and asked, “Would you take our picture?”
Poetry everywhere… Bacon is red, violets are blue? Poems are hard. BACON.
(Sign outside Harris Grill on Shiloh St.)
My thanks to Deb and Nat for hosting me on this lovely Pittsburgh getaway, and for sharing two incredible movies (neither of which my husband will feel forlorn to have missed… okay, maybe the salacious bits in “Colette,” ha!)
PS. My two video courses are on sale at Udemy.com this week — just $9.99 each. Click the image above to visit the class of your choice..
Thanks to all of you who helped make my “Publish Your Children’s Picture Book” class a BESTSELLER!