Monday, March 18, 2019

A silent street corner moment with grandma

No one's home
Orlando, FL
February 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm walking back to my hotel when I notice them: A stack of balconies on an otherwise unremarkable building, the midday sun painting stark, temporary, linear art against the concrete surfacing, largely ignored by the thousands of people who stream through the adjacent intersection on any given day.

So I do what I've been doing for much of my adult life: I decide to take a picture. I carefully slip my backpack off and slide it to the ground, then pull my camera out. An elderly lady with strangely blue-tinted hair and carrying a pink floral tote bag stops to watch. I'm sure she thinks I'm a terrorist casing the joint, but after I smile at her and she smiles back, I assume she gets it now.

I take my time composing this one. I've just closed off the conference from the main stage, and I'm feeling pretty good about what our team has accomplished. I'm walking back to my hotel room to power down for a bit before spooling back up for the long trip home. The building is hundreds of metres away, but the miracle of a long lens makes the shot possible. I rack off a few promising frames before just as carefully sliding the camera back into my backpack and hoisting the heavy load back up. That's when I notice my new octogenarian friend is still standing behind me, clearly interested in what I'm up to. But since she hasn't ninja-jumped me just yet, I figure we're OK.

I smile at her again. She waves before she turns around and starts walking away from me across six lanes of traffic. We haven't exchanged a word, yet somehow I suspect both of us won't soon forget this odd-yet-somehow-charming moment at the corner of International Drive and Destination Parkway. If her memory of this brings her a smile - as it does me - then we'll call it mission accomplished.

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