Signs of Things to Come
On our walk to work this morning, I spotted a car with its back hatch open. It belonged to a guy who was putting up “No Parking” signs for the upcoming street sweeping this week and next.
The car drove slowly down the street, stopped, and a guy jumped out. He grabbed a sign, attached it to a nearby tree, and the got back in the car again. He proceeded down the street for a quarter block, and the whole sequence repeated itself.
I found myself watching this happen a few times, as we slowly caught up to him. Right at the intersection, when I thought he might turn down a main road… he stopped again, giving me the opportunity to walk up and ask for a photo.
Right when I was introducing myself, several things happened. As he was walking back towards the car, his hoodie got caught on a nearby tree. At the same time, his phone started ringing. And then there was me, trying to talk to the poor guy.
I introduced myself and asked if he would mind if I took a picture of the back of his car. I’ve seen these signs for years now, having lived in Chicago for so long. But I’d never seen the actual process happening.
I had so many questions – What did he need to keep track of? Was it only one set of signs, or did he have multiple days in his car? How long does it take him to finish one sign, one block, one street, one neighborhood?
Alas, he seemed in a bit of a hurry (and also put someone on hold, on the phone). So I opted not to pepper him with all my questions. Instead, I asked if I could take his photo as well – and he obliged.
He seemed really amused at my request, and was laughing the whole time. I really do have an interest in other people’s jobs, particularly when they are markedly different than my own. If I see someone in the act of doing their job, I almost always have a list of questions that pop into my head.
Charles, who seemed incredibly tickled at my curiosity. I’m glad that my oddball request made him smile, as my interaction with him definitely gave me a smile the rest of my walk to the train.