How to [Not] Make Friends – San Franciscan Style

I recently started taking an Introduction to Digital Photography class at the San Francisco Art Institute.  The course is part of their continuing education program and attracts a mixture of individuals with varying degrees of experience in photography.  My purpose of taking the class was two-folds:

  1. Learn how to use the manual settings on my camera
  2. Go beyond the walls of my office and make some new (and hopefully local) friends

But of course things don’t always come that easy.

On my first day of class, I sat next to this man probably in his mid-30s.  As part of our ice-breaker activity, we had to interview the person next to us and then present them to our class.  The man next to me was my partner and I believe his name was… hmmm let’s call him Cliff.

I found out a few things from our interview.  Cliff is not an amateur photographer.  He is taking the course to learn how to use photoshop and print his own photos.  He has a scary, intense looking DSLR.  Wanting to steer our conversation away from the obvious topic of photography and our class, I asked him

So… what do you do?

I’m a deportation officer.

I’m sorry… a what?

A deportation officer.

Sirens!  Red flags!  Defense wall shoots up immediately.

Oh wow!  Your job must be insane eh?

Frak.  Did I just say eh?  Your Canadian is showing.  WTF is wrong with you?  Why are you panicking?  You have a visa, he can’t deport you.

Hahaha.  Ya, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen on the job.  People hiding in closets, lying, running the minute they see us.

Note to Future Me:  Don’t hide in a closet three years from now when your visa expires and Cliff comes to hunt you down.  

It was Cliff’s turn to interview me.

So where are you from?  What do you do?

I just moved here from Toronto but like I’m legit.  I have a visa and everything.  I guess you would be a good person to be friends with.  You can help me cheat the system if I ever lose my visa.  Hahaha.

My brain is sending strong signals to tell my mouth to zip it.  I babble on desperately for another minute.  Cliff looks at me strangely.

Um… yea… hope you’re enjoying San Francisco so far.

We’ve had four classes and Cliff hasn’t spoken to me since the first night.  I think I came on a wee bit too strong.

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  1. Loool!! Wow, your inner dialogue is hilarious. That’s pretty much what I would be thinking, eh.

    Panic! Panic! I get like that when I see a police cruiser. Heaven forbid their lights go on … I automatically assume that they are after me and start pulling over. Then when they pass me to catch the actual criminal, I’m all confused like “But I thought you were arresting me. I WAS going 2km over the speed limit.” Lol.

    Great job with this. It was entertaining.


    • Hahaha. Police officers + paranoid people (ie. you&me) create the most entertaining thought process.

  2. I was wondering why we always scare/terrified with a police man or officer from immigration. They seemed to be too intimidating, may be? it’s a matter of image they have. It’s absolutely true that we are sometime being paranoid 🙂

    • Ohhh it’s the nature of living aboard! But it keeps things exciting 🙂

      thanks for stopping by!

  3. ROFL! That is so funny! “Your Canadian is showing.” And he definitely didn’t miss your “eh.” I’ve been married to a Canadian for almost 10 years, and I’ve lived in Canada for about four, and no “eh.’ escapes me. At home or at work. I’d have been freaking out too.

    Now that you mention it…I think I better go check and make sure my visa is ok…

    • Ahhh… you have one of those coveted spousal visas I can only hope to get someday. Have you caught on to the “eh” fever yet?

        • Leigh Anne
        • February 24th, 2012

        I would also like a coveted spousal visa! Please start screening potential suitors for me!

      • No “eh” fever here. I tease my wife relentlessly about it, and have to stop myself short of teasing all of my co-workers every time I hear it. Which is A LOT.

        I do spell like a Canadian, though.

  4. Ha. Fantastic post. I like how you said, “I have a visa and everything.”

    • It was one of those awkward, why are you saying this to people, foot in mouth situations.

  5. Leigh Anne :

    I would also like a coveted spousal visa! Please start screening potential suitors for me!

    I will definitely work on this for you! Be warned that when I go to pick up guys for you that I might slip out and say “I have a friend who’s fetish are Americans or men with visas”

  6. That’s awesome, love that story. I won’t tell Cliff… Or will I!?

    • Do it! He still won’t make eye contact with me at school. I need to start a campaign to win him over!

  7. So, other than that how was the class?

    • Wonderful so far. I’m now working on finding a muse as cute as Kongo to photograph.

  1. February 23rd, 2012

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