A Walk On The Wild Side: Our Great San Francisco Heist

I consider myself a good, law-abiding person. I have never committed a crime (hell, I won’t even cross the street without a walk sign, even if there are no cars around – a fact that slightly annoys my husband, Roy, sometimes) and always try to do what is right. Sure I am all ‘ power corrupts, take the power back’ and direct, downright mouthy, and a spitfire, but I get fired up about things that I see as right and wrong (equal rights for all versus religious extremists for example). I may be all right, but I am married to a guy who is so ‘good’ it gives me a stomachache. If there are such things as ‘too nice’ or ‘too good’ they would certainly describe Roy. But this is not about how ‘moral’ or upstanding individuals my husband or I am – this is about being a little naughty and kind of loving it.

Have you ever done something technically bad and kind of gotten a rush from it? We’re pretty tame (with the exception of my mouth, but usually only my husband hears the uncensored me) and aren’t thrill seekers whatsoever, but we got our naughty on when we went to California. We had spent our day at Alcatraz and had just made it back to the pier. When we got off the boat we realized people were flocking over pictures waiting to be picked up. We found our pictures, two 5 x 7 prints waiting. Roy picked them up and was about to walk off when I pointed to a sign, I couldn’t quite believe. There were two pictures, but if we wanted to keep one of them it would be $20, $30 if we wanted to keep both.

Roy was sure it must be a mistake, because $20 for a low-quality 5 x 7 picture of ourselves – get serious! He asked someone who was at a stand about fifteen feet to our right, sitting under a picture that said, “Pay for your pictures here.” The man confirmed that it was $20 for the first print, and an additional $10 if we wanted the duplicate.

I looked at the pictures again. They were terrible, and I am not talking about how I hated how I looked in the picture (because this is true of about 99.6% of photos taken of me) but we both were just… well, yeah. See, we almost missed the ferry because a non-planner was planning the morning. That meant arriving about twenty minutes late, after finding a parking spot and then walking for sixteen blocks to the pier. Roy joked, “Oh no, we’re going the wrong way!” after block 14. I gave him an “I’m going to kill you look,” because this was Sunday, and Friday and Saturday were full of wrong ways, wrong buses, and wrong modes of transportation. This is what happens when a non-planner is in charge. The mantra ‘it will just work itself out’ was Roy’s plan for the weekend and it was seriously grating on my sleep deprived nerves. (I had just spent six days at the writing workshop, which was awesome but by day four everyone was saying, “oh, my head is full.” Yep, I could totally relate.) He laughed and said, “Oh you should have seen the look on your face!” He was giddy, I was not amused and we were late. But I just made some comment about how he was lucky he was just joking and it was not funny…

It became less funny three blocks later when he realized, we were in fact going the wrong way! But since we had already walked just over sixteen blocks and we were parked about fourteen blocks away, in the other direction, and we were late – there was no way we were making it on foot. There was a lot running, a little swearing and a lot of ‘Oh my God’ moments until we found a bike taxi to take us the rest of the way. We made it, but barely and in order to get in the line we were forcibly ushered in front of a screen and some guy snapped a picture with a cheap camera. I would have been annoyed, but I was just relieved we made it work. And so that picture of us sweating, flushed and just recently not-so-stressed was not our best (to say the least). Even my ever photogenic husband looked a little undone.

I decided it wasn’t worth it, because it wasn’t, but don’t like feeling swindled and let’s face it, $20 for a small photo of yourself, you didn’t ask for, is just that. I decided to play a joke on my husband, as he had on me and said, “Well, I am just going to rip these up.”

“Why would you rip up our pictures?” Roy asked incredulously.

“Because, we’re not paying for them and I don’t want them to have them. They never asked if they could take my picture. I never signed a release.”

Roy tried to figure out if I was serious or not. We sometimes joke that I am a diva, but it is only funny because it isn’t true and let’s face it, what I said was very diva-ish.

I smiled devilishly and handed Roy the pictures. “Here, you take care of them.”

“I’m not going to rip these up,” Roy said firmly.

“Well either rip them up or keep them, but we’re not paying for them.” And with that I sauntered away. I waited until I was away from the pictures before I stopped and then waited for Roy. I had tried to sound mischievous and light and was sure he knew I was joking, I mean I had never made such demands before or done anything like this myself. I expected Roy to stare at the picture for a second, before putting it back and coming to join me. Three minutes later it was my turn to be confused. Was Roy waiting for me to come back? Did he seriously not know he could just walk away? He wasn’t paying for those damn pictures, was he?

I started to walk back, just enough to get a view of Roy. Roy was glancing around, at first he seemed nervous and then I saw him every-so-smoothly roll the pictures up and put them under his jacket and walk towards me. I was stunned, surprisingly proud and felt the need to laugh hysterically (I curbed that desire though – I might be a first-timer, but I’m not stupid).

“I can’t believe you did that,” I said laughing as Roy appeared next to me.

“Well, I know when I need to do something to-”

“Let’s go,” I said, walking away, casually. We were still far too close for comfort to the photo booth.

I felt an absolute rush even though I hadn’t done anything. When we were a safe distance away, Roy was smiling and I was teasing him. I asked what his mother would think, told him I was proud of him and remarked that I was a corrupting influence. We were both highly amused (as well as surprised he did it) and still are. True, there isn’t going to be a repeat performance (unless someone takes our picture without permission and tries to charge us for it I guess) but it was a highlight for each of us I think (just one we don’t tell anyone else about).

It was fun to walk on the wild side, even if now I am back to waiting for the walk signal at carless intersections. 😉


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