Thursday, August 7, 2008

Portrait #43: Images

I have several very brief little images running through my mind, so instead of portraiting one person, here are a few photo snapshots...

- A green baby shoe resting on the wheelwell of a minibus (service). It was bright and clean and looked brand-new, and was resting gently on the side of the wheelwell as if it were stuck there with glue. Who did that shoe belong to? How harried was the mother, or were the parents, when they got on and off that service? When did they notice the shoe was gone and where are they now? Did the baby girl notice that her own shoe was missing... is she crying right now because she lost her favourite new green shoe and her mummy won't let her go out wearing only one green shoe?

- The doorman at the UN office I've visited every day this week. Though there is a metal detector in place, he hasn't been checking bags lately, and someone else is responsible for checking ID cards, so his job is simply to open the door to let people into the facility. He has come to recognise me and shoots a huge grin my way whenever I arrive and whenever I leave. He shook my hands a few times. He does little but smile and shake my hand, never really chats beyond the expected "Good morning" or "Welcome". He must love his job because he pops that door open with such zest. Or maybe he just loves seeing lots of foreigners come and go.

- The man who is fixing my purse zipper right now. He has a tailor shop barely large enough to hold him, his sewing machine and his pile of mending. He promised to have the job done by last night but when I went to pick it up because he was stressed out by the fact he hadn't been able to find a perfectly matching zipper. He said he'd looked all over town for the right colour, and I found myself believing him. The zipper he found was of a similar colour, but he wasn't going to start the repair until I agreed, and then it would take an extra day. I can just see him standing there in his little room, around mid-day yesterday, holding his wrong-colour zipper in one hand and my bag in the other hand... trying to decide whether to start with the wrong zipper or not and deciding he'd best check with the customer first.

- The woman who came in to change the sheets in my room the other day. I told her not to bother because my sheets were still clean, but that proposition frightened her. "But today's the day to change the sheets!" she protested. I insisted that I have been staying here for two months and it's unnecessary to change my sheets every two nights, especially as I don't always even sleep on them. She very hesitatingly agreed to not change the sheets, and proceeded to remove, remake and straighten the existing sheets, giving the me impression that she didn't want there to be any pretence for anyone to accuse her of not doing her job.

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