My terrifying police encounter

Maria Cass

I was crouched down along a fence, trying to find the perfect angle for a picture of Chiang Mai Thai when I heard a gruff voice yelling in my direction: “Miss, stop right there.” I turned to see a dark blue blob on the other side of the parking lot. As it came closer the blob turned into a security guard who was running towards me (by his pace I guessed he spent more time at nearby Famous Dave’s BBQ than he did chasing down people breaking the law.)

I stood up, and waited as the guard puffed toward me. “You cannot take pictures on private property,” he said, trying to maintain his dignity while his hard breathing made it obvious he was not used to strenuous exercise. I told the security guard that I had earlier asked the manager’s permission to take pictures, but he didn’t believe me.

I had been on assignment for the Knight Errant taking pictures for my restaurant review in issue 2 and I had stopped by on my way home from school. What I thought would be a quick and easy assignment turned into a half an hour ordeal.

The manager had acted as the artistic director, guiding me around the dining area as if my review was the deciding factor in whether or not the restaurant was successful. She gave me instructions as to what amount of lighting best complemented the green walls as well as from which angle the giant Buddha statue looked the best (honestly, its a giant bronze statue––they don’t have good sides.) I got the grand tour, and learned the background of every silk tapestry in the restaurant. I started to wonder if I had made it clear that I was writing a review on the food and not the manager’s extensive knowledge of Asian Culture.

I tried to avoid photographing oblivious diners shoveling Pad Thai into their mouths. I had thought that with a camera around they would have at least wound fewer noodles around their forks, but then again, this is America: we can chew how we like, open-mouthed or mouth closed (the second seems to not be a popular option.)

Because I didn’t feel like relating my experiences to the security guard (I’m sure he didn’t care anyways) I dismally followed him into the restaurant, trying hard not to glance over my shoulder at my friend who was undoubtedly sitting in the car laughing. The people who had been so oblivious to my presence before now paused their feeding fests to glare up at me in disapproval. Now it was I who was trying to desperately maintain my dignity.