“Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt.” Navjot Singh Sidhu
We cannot get enough of observing people. This is nothing new. Before television and the news channel people were still watching people. Is it human comparison? Are we trying to measure ourselves up with another person? Are we on some primal way trying to figure out what our tribe is doing? The unfortunate accident on the other side of the street that we crane to see what happen to another person. Sitting on our comfy couch turning on the local news watching other people’s lives or misfortune.
It was an unusually hot Sunday afternoon in the fall in Santa Barbara, California. Deciding to go to the beach made sense, it was over eighty degrees and for our little corner of the world it seemed hot. Of course other folks had the same idea to dip into the rather chilly water to cool down. I was relaxed and just decided to observe the people on the beach and those strolling past us. There were locals, tourist, college students, and some teeny-boppers. Most everyone was in a bathing suit or a summer shift, or shorts. Neighbors strolled past with their babies in back packs or dogs on leash. It seemed many were taking in this sunny day.
I noticed one man alone he was clearly creeping on the young girls. He was middle aged and heavy set. He has been a local car salesman in this town for three decades. His phone was in his hand but he was not texting or talking to anyone, as I perceived. I kept my eyes on him as I notice his observance of the young girls around increasing to become more blatant. There were three young girls that went into the water to cool off, allowing the world to disappear. They were having all the fun and innocence that the day fostered. As they exited the surf and headed back to their towels the Creeper Man was most defiantly taking photos. One after the next. These girls were oblivious to his photographing them. The girls were walking away dripping wet in their tiny bikinis. This covert act of his very much pissed me off. My daughter is of the age she can stand up to herself, but what about these fresh faced gals? I was not going to sit idle. Fumes were coming out of my ears, I had do to something.
I rose from my seat and approached that creeper man and said in my strongest ‘mom knows what you’re up to voice’ so he could hear me, saying, “Nice photos”. I then headed to the girls to point him out and tell them he was taking pictures of them. They were thankful. The creeper man saw what was taking place and hurried off the sand to his car. That felt empowering, for me and for the violated girls. A very small victory.
What I found out. Sadly, taking photos of people even children is legal. They can post them, or use them, to their liking. For the exception of porn. This made me feel slightly ill.
I suppose awareness of one’s surroundings and a person sitting alone taking photos is one to avoid. I hate to think of the innocent being taking advantage of this way but this is the world in which we live. I am glad I made a fuss. I am glad I told the girls. That is all I could do, and I did. My heart goes out to celebrities and their sweet children. People such as this man are not going away. I would walk a mile down the beach to get away from someone such as this. If I see this taking place again I will interrupt the people that are unknowingly getting photographed. I will now keep my eyes open as that Sunday some of my innocence was also lost.
My Mantra: “I am happy for my awareness.”