Lemme’ touch your stuff, k?

I was out and about this evening getting some cat food from my favorite local pet store The Natural Pet, when I found out the management had changed hands! Rats, I said as we walked into the wine shop next door. My wife was deciding on which wine from Orvieto she wanted when a gentlemen came through the door. He seemed like your average middle aged New York City man. He saw my Leica hanging around my neck and this is how he interacted with me.I had my hands full with pet care items when he decided it would be perfectly appropriate to just reach out and grope the lizard skin covering I have on my admittedly shiny camera. Now mind you, he hadn’t yet spoken to me. As he started to touch the covering he asked if it was snake. I said no, it was lizard. “Does it help you shoot better? Is that some kind of special edition? I bet you paid a lot more for it. You did, didn’t you, you paid a lot more for it.” I asked him if he has Leicas too, and he snarkily, half under his breath said “yeah”.

Now is it me? Or is this inappropriate behavior towards a stranger? He seemed like he knew something about cameras, and I clearly had a bright and shiny one, but why did he feel it was ok to grope at something hanging around my neck? Was this guy being a typical snooty asshole? Or did it have something to do with me being young? I brushed it off as a New York moment, but it got me thinking. Does the older generation (I’m not even in my thirties) feel like mine just likes to hold shiny things and not know how to use them? Is there something about an older generation of New Yorkers that is brash and rude that I am just blind to?

I’d love to know what others experiences are with similar situations.

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