There I was again in the same old place, passing by, and of course, stopping …
Normally I would park by the harbour, next to Kalkies, but the boom was down.
The other parking area is higher, bare sand and rock, and less convenient, but it would do.
Laid out as if they were real and nesting on the sand were all these miniature birds, mostly iron, some of wood.
The enterprise of people is always fascinating, a reflection of who they are or who they are striving to be.
So we stop and take images, with the intent of adding to the web site, and at the same time give the vendor some exposure: one never knows who might read it and pass by in this world of ‘six degrees of freedom’.
A couple of years ago there was this painter on the wave barrier. A cheerful guy, from up north of South Africa.
He was painting on wood and I asked him if he would consider painting on canvas?
Of course he would, he said, and I explained that we had this product, the Hot Box, that we use for upliftment among impoverished households, to save energy costs in cooking.
He could not have been more enthusiastic even if we were not buying, and promptly gave me his name and number.
Unfortunately I lost it a few days later and got distracted by other things, and so the opportunity to have him paint ethnic images on the denim of the Hot Box for the tourist trade was lost. The loss was ours … how easy it could have been to create extra income for him!
After we finished taking shots of the birds on the ground, we asked the Birdman if he would pose for us.
Why, he asked?
We would like to put this up on our website, and by the way what is your name so that we can say something about you.
Before we do that, he said, let’s do business and buy some of my birds.
He could not have been less enthusiastic because we were not buying, and offered neither his name nor his number.
Like the wood painter, he too was from another country up north of South Africa.
So we smiled, I patted him on his back, and told him he was a good businessman driving a hard bargain before we walked away.
We did not need birds as souvenirs and if we had to buy all that is at traffic lights and parking bays to help out, we too would be selling birds in a sandy parking lot one day.
There is this street urchin who I used to give money to regularly at a traffic light, even though it was put to me that I might not really be helping him.
He is now no longer a street urchin who evokes sympathy, but a grown up lost soul, still at the same traffic light.
I feel guilty about that …
What I also feel guilty about is that I got distracted and lost the connection to the wood painter.
So here is the thing: if you are a tourist one day in Kalk Bay and see vendors selling birds in the sand, do consider buying one as a souvenir.
It may not be the Birdman that you will buy from, but like him, those selling will be as needy as he was, or is.
Perhaps, if he had given a name you could ask for him, if somehow miraculously you would remember a detail like that!? I probably would not but others will …
Yet another thing I feel guilty about is my white lie: that he was a ‘good’ businessman.
The world is full of successful and failed businesspersons.
The problem is knowing which are the good ones … ?
toy birds in the sand
some fly regardless
Copyright © 2015 G. Rigotti