Aug 162011

Getting out and about taking photographs brings me into contact with some interesting characters.

At the weekend I was about to take some shots of a building that used to be an old filling station on U.S. 90, when two guys, who had been parked in a battered red pickup truck, drove up and asked what I was doing.

Canon 40D and Zeiss Planar T* ZE 1,4/50. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

They were rough and ready in their appearance and looked like extras from the film Deliverance but my English accent seemed to diffuse any suspicions they may have had and we got talking.

You could have knocked me down with a feather when the driver, who later introduced himself as Tom, started waxing lyrical about the BBC series Doctor Who and said Tom Baker was his favourite Doctor Who of all time. I don’t know whether the shared forename might have influenced his choice. The conversation then turned to the comedy series Coupling. Tom it turned out was a great fan of the BBC and British comedy in the mould of people like Ricky Gervais.

He much prefers the cleverness and dry wit of British humour to its American counterpart, although he conceded that not everybody in America gets the British style of comedy.

I said that American humour places a greater emphasis on visual gags, while British humour’s strength is its subtlety and the clever use of words.

He and Raymond, the other guy in the cab, were originally from Indianapolis and moved to Jacksonville about a year ago. They are engaged in the scrap car business.

The mention of Indianapolis quickly brought the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning into the conversation, a subject more in keeping with a couple of average American Joes. Needless to say both Tom and Raymond were big fans of the Colts.

Tom told me he had bought his wife an Indianapolis blanket that he was going to attach to a frame and hang on the wall. Raymond jokingly said he might spray Jacksonville Jaguars all over it.

I said to Raymond: “You like hospital food then?”

Tom laughed, turned to Raymond and said: “That’s British humour.”

After about an hour we shook hands, parted company and I got down to the business of taking photographs of the building and U.S. 90.

The encounter with Tom and Raymond proved once again that outward appearances can so often be deceptive. You should never judge a book by its cover.

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