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Banjo Land
An Amateur Photographer Enjoying Multiculturalism Just North of the Wall that Will Not Rise
© 2019 James LaFond
I was outside of Phoenix on my bike and I like to take photographs of interesting things. There is this house with all of this shit on the roof—junk, the kind of stuff people would have in their basement, a baby carriage, just all kinds of stuff. It was really incredible—never saw anything like it in my life.
So I snap a picture and I immediately get this bad feeling and start heading out. In no time at all these two guys—Hispanic guys—are running after me wanting to know what I’m doing, threatening me. I turn, off my bike and these guys want to know what I’m doing and I said, “Look, I took a picture of your roof, you’ve got all kinds of shit on your roof.”
Then the one guy demands my phone and I tell him, “I’m not handing over my phone” and he says he’s going to stab me in the throat. That is a very specific threat so I picked up my bike and threw it at them and got my hand on the kukri [the author thinks this was a kukri designed-folder, not a large cleaving blade] and advanced on this guy. Now they are both hesitant and moving back and the guy that threatened me wanted to know if I was trying to call the cops and send him to prison and I told him, “That is not where I am going to send you.”
Now the other guy is like, “Come on man, let’s go.”
Then the guy that threatened me says he’s going to call the cops on me. So I told him to tell the cops that I’m riding my bike [direction] on [street]. And went on my way.
This was such a strange encounter. I know from living and working and travelling in that area that there are real dangers associated with illegals coming over the border but have no idea what this was about and whether they were illegals or not. Their English was perfectly adequate to express their bullshit.
That’s what I call Banjo Land.
I expressed to Banjo that, having known a Baltimorean who grew marijuana in his basement and told me about the insulating measures he went to to keep DEA satellites or drones from detecting his heat lamps, that perhaps the nonsensical junk heaped on the roof might have been a crude attempt at insulation.
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Mike_C     Jan 16, 2019

Speaking of strange encounters:

I was on an early morning run on neighborhood streets near Embassy Row in Washington DC. A man was washing a huge black Mercedes on the semi-circular driveway of a large, stately house which was quite striking. Standing on the sidewalk, I asked the man, "Do you mind if I take a photo?", holding up my phone. The man replied, "No," so I took a photo. Whereupon the car washer became highly agitated and started screaming "No no no!" At this point a very dark African man in black formal evening wear (even carrying a top hat) opened the front door and boomed at me in stentorian African tones, "You may not photograph this house! It is forbidden!"

"I'm not allowed to take a photograph from the public right of way? Especially when your man here said he didn't mind?"

"No! You are NOT allowed. Delete your photograph or I shall call the police!"

"Call whoever you want. I have done nothing illegal. And welcome to America, friend."

At the last sentence the man's face went from angry to a mask of fury. He shouted "WHAT did you say?" and came fully out onto the porch looking like he was going to come after me. Not ashamed to say that I decided to continue my run at that point. Heh. I had a pretty good idea of who would end up in jail if I was assaulted by some African diplomatic-type person. Turned out the house was the residence of the ambassador of Ghana.
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