On this summer evening, there was a lilting breeze, perfect for a walkabout. I headed down to the City Docks to take in the view. There is always an assortment of characters at this gathering place along the river. Fisherman casting lines, couples holding hands and sneaking kisses. Workers relaxing after a day’s hard labor, children playing, and kayakers skimming along the water’s surface with Zen-like movement and meditation.
A young man named Nebal asked about my camera, and we enjoyed a lively conversation about photography.
An older gentleman joined in the discussion. I was instantly drawn to his weathered face.
“Are you a professional?” he asked.
“No, this is my hobby. I’m an amateur,” I replied.
“How long have you been at it? Taking pictures, I mean.”
“Oh, about ten years or so, I suppose.”
“Ten years! You should be a pro by now!”
I cracked up laughing, because he did have a point.
Hoping to salvage my dignity and garner a little respect, I quipped back.
“Well, my definition of amateur is one that makes no money. Still, I’m a good photographer.”
Now it was his turn to laugh.
With rapport established, I cautiously asked, “Okay to take your picture?”
Taking a long drag from his cigarette, he stared me down.
“I was wondering when you’d ask. What took you so long?”
A few snaps, a handshake, and a promise to bring the pictures back to the City Docks for George, and I was on my way.
I can give up needing to know the answer before I ask the question.