A picture tells a thousand words; this one tells about 7 on it's own. So it has a little sticky label sitting underneath it which reads:
As Robyn mentions in her Secret Passage, scavengers roam the streets on foot and in vans, combing through the stuff on the curb finding treasures in other people's trash. You'd worry if you were new to the City around this time of year thinking they didn't show you anything like these rubbish-lined streets in the travel brochures - but fear not intrepid tourist, it only lasts a few weeks and soon our roadsides will be back to their normal newly mowed best.
So I'm driving. Fast actually, getting Simon to work not because he was late so much as I was hungry. Flying up Gossemer Drive in pre-school-bell traffic I saw this man sitting in that chair next to that desk on the side of the road. Definately organic. Definitely not allowed by the rules of the council. I thought that might be a great photo - but as the distance and my regret grew, I realised I may have missed a great photo opportunity.
Dropping Simon off at work, I decided to chance my luck and hurtle back from whence we came and hope beyond hope that the gentleman was still there - though the hope was slim as it had already been 10 minutes and surely, by the time I got back there - another 10-15 mintues - whatever or whomever he was waiting for had happened or arrived.
Talk about it never rains but it pours, while I was hugging the curves on the Mt Wellington motorway, I looked to see a particularly blonde woman driving a spiffy silver Mercedes convertible in my rear mirror and decided I wanted THAT photograph also. I mean, how stereotypical can you get? and how great would those too photos go together? Flashy platium blonde in silver sports car/barefoot bald man in a broken picnic chair. Awesome. Still moving at speed cos lights never go red when you need them to and up with the cameraphone and snap in the rear mirror. The Merc was too far away and the pxt too small; I needed her closer.
Turning right onto the Pakuranga Highway (I swear to God, all that watching Formula One has *really* paid off) she was right behind me and we both had to slow to take the bend I snapped again. This time she was closer and this time the pxt was good (PXT IN THE HOLE)
I was so excited. Could my luck hold and the gentleman still be sitting in that chair on the side of the road? I hoped beyond hope. Weaving in and out of the three lanes to crest the hill and the sweeping left turn into Gossemer Drive once again and my heart *exploded* because there he was, still sat in the chair.
It was now well after 3pm and the bumper to bumper SUVs heading in the opposite direction their insides full of uniformed offspring and trophy mothers I pulled up onto the grass verge opposite my subject. Leaping (not often, but sometimes) from my car, little blue camera in hand I called to my subject across the traffic.
"Oh MY God.. you're still HERE. I HAVE to take your photograph!"
He put his head back and laughed. One, big, gaffaw.
"What do I get out of it?" he yelled back.
"Same as me!" I called, laughing, activating my camera "NOTHING!"
He laughed again.
I crossed to the centreline, I needed to get lower. I needed to get closer. On his side of the white line, with the stream of traffic I crouched down and took aim. I had one shot. I had to time it between cars and snap. As all of you with point'n'shoot digital cameras know, the response time between pressing the button and capturing the image is slow and I never really know what-the-hell I've got til I'm back looking at it on the computer screen. My LCD display is impossible to read in the bright sunshine of the day. I hoped he hadn't laughed, or waved, or giving the finger or anything. I just wanted him to stay looking the way he looked when I'd pulled up. Relaxed and comfortable as if he was sitting in his own living room.
I thanked him and dived back into my car and pulled out into the traffic towards home.
I was so happy. I pulled into my garage and picked up my phone to inspect the PXT to realise I'd not saved it properly and it was no more. I hoped my picture of the organic man was okay. I came inside and the above picture is the result. I drove past again a little later and the man, the chair and the desk had gone. I wish I'd asked him his name, but I'm very glad he let me take his photo.