Monday, March 31, 2008

Profiling for Terrorists=Safety for All!

There are a few of you who literally know what I look like. For the rest of you let me draw you a picture:

5'4"(and that's a stretch), 50 yrs.old, over weight (seriously, just look at the icon, it's pretty accurate), short gray hair, glasses, very stiff legs and neck on the day in question, which means I was slow and walking rather "broken".

As that may be I am still the epitome of the American Enemy, a terrorist.

Yup. According to the folks at The River in Rancho Mirage, I am terrorist material!

I was taking the photographs you see in this post between 8:30a.m. and 10:00a.m. last Friday when I was approached by a Security Guard. Now to his credit, he seemed really embarrassed to "do his job", however do his job he did. Seems that "someone" had reported me. I was "suspicious". This is pretty much how the conversation went down:

Guard: Hello

S'mee: Hey! Pretty day!

G: What are you taking a photo of?

S: (as I am aiming at the roof of the Cheesecake Factory) The scroll work on the facade.

G: The what?

S: The scroll work. See? It's really cool and I bet no one ever pays attention to it. It's going to look great in a tight shot.

G: yeah? hmm.

S: Yeah! I got up early this morning so I could shoot the desert flowers in macro...

G: Really? I'm just learning to do that! Were you up at dawn?

S: Not that early, but early enough to get good light. Now it's too bright and those bougainvillea blooms are giving me trouble; too bright, too much contrast between the white and magenta.

G: So do you work for (a local newspaper)?

S: Oh heck no! hehe, my husband is in a hotel basement for a conference and this is how I keep myself occupied! I just go all over taking whatever sights I can. I like macro shots of architecture and ...

G: Shrubbery. Right. Yeah, you see, that's why I'm here.

S: huh?

G: Yeah, I've been trailing you for about 40 minutes. All I have seen you do is bend over and take pictures of the ground or stick your head in a bush. 'Figured all you were taking pictures of were close ups on flowers and bushes.

S: hehe, yup, I'm weird that way.

G: Well, I hate to say this but I need to escort you to your car. You need to leave.

S: What!?!

G: Yeah, someone called in a report a while back; said they saw you taking "suspicious" photos. Thought maybe we should check it out. That "someone" talked to a store owner who talked with another and then more and more shop owners called in and well, we have rules and policies about this sort of thing.

S: You mean against taking pictures of flowers? I didn't take any photos of people or store designs. You want to check out my film?

G: No, like I said, I've been watching you for 40 minutes and all I have seen is you taking shots of bushes. Well until the rooftop. They think you could be taking photos to use in a (rolling eyes) "plan".

S: Sooo, I'm taking terrorist photos? hehe. Let me explain something. First off, If I were to take off running, you could catch me in three steps. Second, there ain't a fat girl alive who would blow up the Cheesecake Factory! And third, if I were a terrorist and I did somehow manage to blow up this place, what would I accomplish? Blowing up, what, like, 250 old people? I'd be laughed out of terrorist school!

G: hehe, I see your point, but you still need to leave.

So leave I did. Let this be a lesson to you folks. If you are ever in Rancho Mirage, home to the likes of the Betty Ford Center, 12 golf courses, a casino, and the 67% elderly population who boast that Sony Bono was once their Representative...remember that they are also very diligent about civic security! The bushes have eyes! They have a "no tolerance" enforcement for their "suspicious" photographers. Terrorists beware! These folks are on high alert and will take down -or at least escort politely out- anyone profiled as "dangerous!"

I don't know about you, but after seeing these "plan" photos, I'll be sleepin' with one eye open! (shudder!)
(shhhh! That bud right there---> it's a microphone!)

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

You and me "we're queens of the world!" The husband says he wouldn't have left. What a bunch of ninnys we've become.

chronicler said...

Oh and man on man. I would never ever go back there again. I cannot believe they would call security to remove you. Sounds like the Palm Springs beautiful people thought they had some foreigner in house and needed to remove you.

S'mee said...

Now I am waiting to be "reported" because my blog has the word "terrorist" on it a couple of times!
Seriously. ugh.

S'mee said...

"FAT ALERT! POOR ALERT! Security get over there and get that non resident out of here!"

Susan M said...

Those are fantastic shots!

I've heard about photographers being hassled in retail/business areas and parks but have never had it happen to me. But then I'm not often taking pictures anywhere like that, I guess.

The Pea said...

OH my heck I am laughing so hard I can barely type!!!! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall to see that conversation. I seriously feel sorry for that poor probably humiliated "probably didn't know he was working for Homeland security" guy! Still you got some great shots.

Frizzy said...

Apparently tall skinny girls with tow year olds in tow are terrist material too. . .It's never fun to be asked to leave when you're getting amazing shots.

What kind of camera are you using? And are you shooting in full automatic or manual? I would love to know.

S'mee said...

Susan, you make me blush! Thank you, wow. Coming from you that means a lot! And yeah, I take a zillion photos- museums, parks, retail stores, malls, you name it...this was a first. was kind of hilarious even while it was happening. I think his superiors must have been "watching" the whole show as well. Kind of creepy now that I think of it! eeek! Thanks for the compliments.

Frizzy! Welcome! Thanks for commenting! Yeah those tiny tots can be pretty scary! yikes this world!

My camera is (I had to run and get it to know, hehe) a "Kodak Easy Share P850". I am assuming it is automatic, because if it is otherwise I haven't learned about it thus far! I am a point and click type-o-gal!

I try to beat the odds by taking literally hundreds of shots to get the ones I really like. I am also quite (what is it when you can't see far away?) and so when I see the digital shot on the camera frame I cross my fingers that it will be that clear and in focus when it downloads. It really bums me out when I think I got something up close only to have it blur later. ugh.

I have had incredible luck. I have photos of LDS Temples up in my house that are (if I can say) fabulous...taken with a no-name throw away I bought at 7-11!

Red said...

omgosh...that stinks! People are so, so SO.... DUMB these days. This just gets me because of the really people which are dangerous(gang-bangers and such) are out and about at our local mall doing drugs/stealing/ who knows what else. But a middle aged lady who's not hurting anyone taking pictures is asked to LEAVE. I'm tempted to go and find that guard and give him a piece of my mind!

S'mee said...

Hey Red! That's the world!

the middle hip sister said...

Silly old people...I bet they loved every minute of the drama they were creating, getting all worked up...I bet they didn't even have to do thier "Seniorsise" for the day...with the blood pressure skyrocketing and all...Your adventures are always so dang funny and intertaining!!! LOVE the photography! Why are we(3) all not famous? HA! no but really...

S'mee said...

Middle! I am SO happy you are commenting! eeee! Thanks! I am not sure about the fame, but I have fun. I was telling the eldest hip sis that Thor and I love the *look* of Rancho Mirage/Palm Springs area BUT... oh my heck, the general feel of the people can get to you. Another post altogether! Any who thanks, comment more! I live for comments!

melissa c said...

OK I just have to say I had tears streaming down my face while I read this!!! It was classic and the picture you painted was perfect!

You have such a good attitude to be able to laugh at this !! MOst people would be irate and complaining!


S'mee said...

Thanks Mel! hehe, I don't think it's me being funny so much as the whole scenario being completely ridiculous!

Yolanda said...


Here's a title for your photography book..."Behind the Lens of a Terrorist..."

(Still laughing!!)

Yolanda said...

LOVE the new font on top...

S'mee said...

Thanks Yo, The font is from my FABULOUS Sister Chronicler!!! She is doing this for FREE! I am just waiting for a little icon to put one my sidebar so that everyone can take advantage of her talents!

Jamie J said...

I can NOT believe they asked you to leave! That's just crazy. You took beautiful pictures though!

S'mee said...

Thanks Jamie. Hope your weekend away was fun too!

Lisa M. said...


All I can say is good grief.

Terrorist, ya that is you!

Good heavens.

The photo's though, are lovely!

S'mee said...

hehe thanks Lisa!