In my old neighborhood, kids teased each other by pointing at your feet and saying, “Your shoe’s untied” or pointing up to the sky and saying “What’s that???” or, more imaginatively, pointing behind you and saying “Look! There goes Mr. Hennigan [our sixth grade teacher] and he’s wearing a dress!” And if you looked where they were pointing (who wouldn’t?) they would chant:
Made you look, you dirty crook
You stole your mother’s pocketbook!
I was a gullible kid, so I heard this a lot, and hated it.
But nowadays I am often wandering around with my camera, taking various random pictures of whatever strikes my fancy — old signs, architectural details, puddles, train tracks, vegetables, whatever. I especially like taking pictures from various angles. I’m not creating great art, I’m mostly just amusing myself. As I am doing this, I often notice that people driving or walking by will look in the direction that my camera’s pointing. It’s just a natural instinct, I think, to look where someone is pointing, where they are using their finger or a camera.
I’m not trying to attract any attention or to trick anyone, but I do like the feeling that for one fleeting moment, I have made someone look in a different direction. Presumably most people just look to make sure they aren’t missing something important, like flames coming out of a high window, or interesting, like an eagle perched on the roof.
But I like to think that maybe some people look at whatever I’m looking at and think, “Wow, I never noticed those beautiful columns” or “That rusty old car really is kind of cool.”