Ok, so many of you know I photograph a lot of sunrises. That means I'm sometimes in unusual places at very early hours, and I don't know why, but I have a knack for either attracting, or running into strange people.
And Monday morning, New Years Day, I ran into - "THE DUDE".
I had just finished shooting sunrise at Rye Harbor. It was about 7:50am and I was there alone. I was sitting in my car on the pier, putting my gear away while in the drivers seat, when I noticed a man - who appeared out of nowhere, approaching my car from my left.
As I turned to look at him, he reached out and knocked on my window. He was an old man, with a bushy Wilford Brimley-like mustache and a funky hat. Before I could say anything he made a box with his fingers, and then simulated clicking the shutter - as if he were holding a camera.
"You a photographer?"
I shrugged my shoulders and nodded as I put my window down a bit - "Yeah, I guess..."
"Didn't you get.......the memo?" he said.
"Um, no I didn't."
"You didn't get the memo?" he repeated with a raised eyebrow that would have done The Rock proud.
At this point - I figure I'm about to be scolded for parking in a place I shouldn't be in, or something like that - but instead - he leans in close- almost putting his head in my car, and says -
"2018..............(long weird pause that kinda creeped me out).........will be BETTER than 2017..."
Then I said, nervously- "Well.....that's good news.....thanks for the memo"
Him: "BETTER.......than 2017......"
"Thanks, man! Well, Happy New Year!", I said, as I put the car in reverse and started backing up slowly. I checked the rearview mirror for a second- and looked up - and the dude was doing THIS:
The Dude faced the sun, threw his chest out and spread his arms wide open!
THE DUDE WAS DRINKING IN THE POWER FROM THE FRIGGIN SUN!!! He did it long enough that I could actually fire off a couple shots of him!!! It was like some kind of ritual or something! I backed out a little more - because I didn't know if the guy was going to gain some serious super power s*** and start trashing the place- and when I looked back - he was doing THIS:
The Dude dropped to a knee and prayed! HE WENT FULL KAEPERNICK on me!!! FULL ON KAEPERNICK!!!
Hey man - I didn't know what was going to happen next - like maybe he turns around and he's got beams of light shooting from his eyes, and torches me just like the white suit guy when they open the Ark in the first Indiana Jones movie- so - I wheel the car around, and start to pull out.
When I give him a final look - he's back up on his feet- facing me, and the last thing I see - is him - making the camera gesture with his hands. And he's clicking the shutter button as he disappears behind me.
Seriously! Is it ME? Or is that just f'd up????
Maybe it was just some eccentric old dude - and if so, that's kind of cool. But.....what if it wasn't? Several years ago, Andy Blacksmith ran into an old woman, and was CONVINCED that the woman was GOD. I was the only one in the studio who said "Hey man - who knows? You could be right!!!"
And that's all I could think of as I drove home from Rye on Monday. I mean, if God was going to appear somewhere, why not on a fishing pier on January 1st, in -13 below zero weather?
See? Now I got all these questions! If 2018 turns out to be a kick ass year- how did that guy KNOW it would be? Why was he driving a mini van? (Would God drive a mini van? I mean - Jesus would - that way he could give half his apostles a ride to a pizza place, right?) And what was with the long emotional hugging of the sun thing?
Who the hell knows?
But like I said in the beginning, this is the kind of crazy shit that happens to me.
To The Dude- in case he ends up seeing this -
You rock on, brother. And here's to 2018 being "better than 2017,,,,"
Happy New Year,
(and be careful if you go out in places alone early in the morning...haha - )