After a long Mother’s Day I decided to take a walk downtown and take pictures and maybe find some inspiration for future Grits shirt designs. Surprisingly, there was lots of signs of life for a Sunday evening. Even more than the usual crowd of people hanging at bars and clubs and, of course, the seemingly ever present homeless.
Being alone, especially in middle of the night, tends to make you more aware of what is happening around you. As I was busy taking pictures, I began to notice that some Asian dude was following me. Every I would make a right turn, he would make the same right turn. I’d turn right. He’d turn right. I decided to switch it up and make a left. Sure enough, he made the left, too.
So I figured I was going to have to make a stand. Better that I decided to do it before he did. Besides, I had a knife in my back pocket in case things went south. I decided to just stop dead in my tracks and start taking pictures. He kept going, walking past me for about 6 more feet and then he turned around.
“Are you a student?” he asked in a very thick Chinese accent.
I looked back and said “NOoooo, I am just a person who likes to take pictures.”
“Oh, ok I am a student at U of H just walking around downtown. I thought that you were a student. I not from this country I am from China. I’m afraid of getting robbed. Is it okay to walk with you so I won’t.... get robbed?” he asked a little nervously.
Why did he decide to ask me, I wondered. Why not the nice, happy Hispanic couple that we’d both just passed on Main street? Instead he chose the black man with long locks in the middle of the night, mind you. (Apparently I wasn’t as a menacing looking as I thought.)
But I said, “ok.” Then I introduced myself and asked him his name. I couldn’t really understand what he said through his heavy Chinese accent. So let’s just call him David.
That’s where my journey with David began. Here are a couple of pictures from that night.
Most of our conversation consisted of him pointing out buildings and me telling him what goes on there.
But then as we’d almost reached the Theatre District the conversation took an awkward turn.
David: I don’t want to offend you but, can I ask you a question?
David: Is prostitution legal here?
Me (perplexed): No, of course not.
David: So, If you got caught… Do you know the penalty?
Me: I don’t know…. Why? Are you trying to find a prostitute?
We continued to walk in awkward silence for another block.
So I start to try and figure out how I’m going to shake David. Apparently, he has other reasons why he’s walking around downtown tonight.
Then, just as we approach an intersection, David turned to me and said he had to go catch the bus.
Much relieved I said, “Ok.”
We shook hands and he went off into the night.