I am not one of those people who tries to live their life through the lens of a smartphone camera as so many others tend to do. Admittedly, I do take pictures of my carpentry projects for Instagram to share with that community, but I don't take selfies or pictures of my food. For the most part, I don't often take pictures of other people's cars either unless for a humorous reason.
I see Lamborghinis pretty often and Ferrari of Atlanta is actually on the other end of town, but off the same road as my neighborhood, so they are nothing rare enough to have their picture taken by me either. When I daily drove my MGB, people would take pictures of me on the road or stop to ask permission to do so in parking lots pretty regularly. None of this bothered me because it comes with the territory of driving something uncommon in the age of social media since everyone always has a camera in their pocket. But I have noticed a problem with all of this availability of content sharing twice recently...
I'm not really a truck guy, but I walked by a second generation Dodge Ram in a parking lot a few weeks ago which caught my eye. It had about a four-inch lift on it and the full-width solid axle across the front but there was no driveshaft connected to it (common issue with enough lift). Yet, what really grabbed my attention was the lack of a transfer case, so I leaned over a little out of curiosity and noticed it was owned by someone halfway through a four wheel drive conversion. When I stood back up, a woman in her forties was standing there, giving me the stink eye. Our conversation was as follows:
"Oh, is this yours?" to which she snorted:
"No! And it isn't yours either. I saw the guy who drove up in it go into the store a few minutes ago and I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate you taking pictures of his truck."
"Ma'am, I'm not taking pictures. I even left my phone in my car."
"Then what are you doing? Looking to steal something? Just leave before I get security over here."
I don't know what her problem was exactly because I wasn't taking pictures, nor did I even touch the truck (people who touch my cars without asking is a pet peeve, so I have the same respect for other people) or crawl under it, I just leaned over to look at the running gear. After this I wished her well and went about my business since one cannot really argue with crazy.
About two weeks later, in a different parking lot, a guy pulled in with a flat black Hummer H2. Every visible exterior piece of his vehicle was flat black. I couldn't tell if it was a vinyl wrap, Plasti-Dip, or paint, so I just slowed down while walking past it to see if I could tell from my five foot distance. The owner of the Hummer had turned around and started walking fast towards me:
"Hey man, don't be taking pictures of my truck. I get paid hundreds on the hour to rent that thing out to record producers for hip-hop videos. You want the pics, you gotta pay."
"The only picture I can take is a mental image. I don't even have a phone on me."
"Alright, just make sure you don't."
Is this just something that is happening to me lately or is it some sort of epidemic where you are not allowed to look at someone's car they have driven in public? I can sort of understand if I were touching a car, taking excessive pictures, or had pulled up next to them with a cargo van and wrench in my hand, but that isn't me. I'm nearly thirty years old, dress pretty conservatively and have never been arrested. Heck, I don't even have anything on my driving record and haven't in many years.
So, tell me, have people ever acted this way towards you for just looking at their car or someone else's?
Has the digital age really made people that paranoid or greedy that they have to lash out in indifference in a public place?
It seems like having to deal with the less confident teenage guys who would get in your face if you so much as talked to their girlfriend all over again.
Grace and Peace,