Fat dirty angel…

This morning, Sunday morning in LA, I stopped into a Starbucks for a morning coffee before embarking on a 50ml drive up the coast.

As I was leaving the store, heading back to my car, I passed a man sitting in a parked car. His window was rolled down and as I walked past, he looked up at me and said:

Drive carefully today. 

His words were a shock. As I walked back to my car, I wondered:

Why did he say this to me?
How did he know I had a long and tricky drive ahead of me?
Why did he talk to me at all?
If he’d wanted to say something to me, why didn’t he just say: Good morning… ?

It was baffling.

I got to my car and told Jennifer, then grabbed my camera and went back to his car.

The man was fat – sorry, don’t mean to be mean, but he was fat. And he was unshaven. His car was old and cheap and dirty. The man looked up at me as I came back with my camera.

The conversation went something like this –

Me: Sir, would you mind if I took your photo?
Him: Why?
Me: I think you could be an angel.
Him: I AM an angel.
Me: You are?
Him: But you can’t take my photo.
Me: Can I ask why not?
Him: They’ll kidnap me.
Me: Who?
Him: I have a very famous daughter. She’s a singer. She’s very rich.
Me: Would I know her?
Him: They’ve already tried once before.
Me: Tried what?
Him: To kidnap me. They’ll want her to pay. They’ve already tried once.
Me: What happened?
Him: One of them ran at me. From across the street. But he was hit by a car.
Me: Was he killed?
Him: I don’t want you to sell the photo.
Me: I won’t sell it. I just want to put it up on my blog.
Him: You could sell it for a lot of money. My daughter’s a singer. She’s very rich.
Me: Yes, so you said.
(then, preparing to take the photo)
Me: Why did you tell me to drive carefully today?
Him: What did I say?
Me: You told me to drive carefully today.
Him: Did I? When?
Me: Just before. As I was walking past. (then) How did you know I’m about to start a long drive?
Him: You gotta drive carefully. You have to keep your doors locked. And the windows up.
Me: Why?
Him: Otherwise they’ll try to kidnap you.
Me: I see. (then) And why did you say you were an angel?
Him: Did I? When?
(taking photo)
Me: Just before.
Him: (playing with his cell phone) You should google my daughter. She’s famous. She’s a singer. She’s very rich.
(looking up at me)
Him: You’re not going to sell that photo are you?

As I drove away, I recounted the conversation with Jennifer. We agreed that I should drive carefully.

Just in case…

fat angel

7 thoughts on “Fat dirty angel…

  1. Hi Bill –
    I think he could have been an angel – the conversation certainly developed in a strange way but, yes, I do think he could have been an angel. As a result of his warning to drive carefully, you would have been extra, extra careful on the trip north.
    Safe and happy travels to you and Jen –
    Jenny x x


    • HI Jenny – according to the people I’ve been talking to – scholars, theologians etc – they say that signs present themselves to you in various ways. Am I superstitious? I don’t know. But after he said that I drove carefully all day!! We leave LA tomorrow, back in Sydney on Thursday. Dreadful about the siege. We don’t expect that in Sydney, but then again, why should we be immune to this kind of thing? It’s global. Such a shame that lives were lost… Bill


      • Hi Bill –
        Good to hear that “carefully” was the rule of the day.
        The siege was unbelievably awful – so hard to imagine it happening here. News is coming out now of the bravery of the Lindt Cafe Manager and the barrister who were killed. It will take a very long time for the shock waves to subside from this tragic event.


  2. Hi Bill, I’ve been enjoying your blog posts since before I did the Camino Frances in 2013. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. Question: I am about to buy a new camera, but I can’t wait for your forthcoming book to advise me! I’m considering the Sony RX100 M3. Any recommendations on a lightweight, excellent quality DSLR would be very much appreciated!!! Thank you!


    • Hi Angela, welcome! And thanks for the question, which is right in my ballpark!

      I can thoroughly recommend the Sont RX100 MkIII. It’s small, very compact, yet has very fine image quality for a small sensor camera. The lens covers from 24-70mm. It’s not a cheap camera though, and it’s not weather-sealed.

      If you’re prepared to spend a bit more, then I’d recommend the Fujifilm XT1, with either the standard kit zoom (18-55mm = 27-88mm) or the larger 18-135mm (= 27-203mm). It’s bigger and heavier though, but it’s fully weather sealed with the larger zoom lens.

      More expensive still, and my current favourite camera, is the Sony a7s with the Zeiss 24-70mm. Why do I like it? It’s a full frame sensor, fabulous Image Quality, but most importantly it has low light sensitivity to 55,600 ISO, which means you can shoot in the dark. Also, another feature is that it has a slent shooting mode, which means you can shoot in churches without making any noise.

      If I were looking though at taking a small robust compact camera that’s lightweight and discreet, then you can’t go past the Sony RX100 MkIII.

      Hope that helps!

      (Just email me on billpgsblog@gmail.com if you have any more questions)



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