Sunday, July 12, 2009

The great globe-guy - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

(Spring 2008)
The great globe-guy: that's who he is! I had been sniffing him for a while: his pungent stink wrestling with the spices in the bustling bazaar of the KL streets.

He's a walking knife that parts the crowd like a mountain rock splits the course of a stream. The globe is a shield that surrounds his body and it's perceived with the nose, not with the eyes.

He draws near your table with the face of a madman who pretends he's an idiot to go unnoticed, then he stretches his arm but hesitates, as if he was about to touch an alien. When you look up from the book that you were reading, you realize that you've been holding your breath for a while, then you ignore this guy as you've ignored the rest.

While you're searching for the paragraph you keep glancing at the beggar who drags his feet along the sidewalk. You wonder if that mad or idiotic expression is stuck to his face in a permanent way, or if he can shed it whenever he wants, as slowly as he takes back his begging hand. You're watching the scene as if you were hypnotized while your finger points at random on the page: with a rusty-robot movement he twists his neck, then kneels like an old man and picks up something.

You fend off the whiff puffing up your cheeks and wonder what he can possibly be holding in his hand. You look at him while he's staring at the object: if you didn't know that the hallucinated look is the natural expression that thrives on his face, you would think that he'd be studying some monster's claw. He lowers his hand and gives you an amazed look, but you already know that he can't even see you.

Then he starts to walk, with his typical calm, he finds a bin and throws the trash away. You jump on the chair and your body gets tensed, you search your pockets and you give him a tip.

The globe-guy stinks and doesn't take showers, but the cleanliness of his town matters a lot to him.

Photo Kuala Lumpur, by Fabio Pulito

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