Thursday, October 22, 2009

Absent


The car guard usually sits on this upturned milk crate. But today he was absent.

UPDATE: From the comments it seems that the ubiquitous car guard is a curiously South African phenomenon. Here is a short explanation. Some car guards are appointed by local businesses to look after cars in streets and parking lots. (We do have a lot of crime, including the more petty kind such as car break-ins and car thefts.) Other car guards (probably most) are self-appointed. Yes, it may be a glorified form of begging, and I am not sure what a car guard will actually do if someone breaks into my car (in most cases, nothing, I suspect, and I do not blame them - why become involved and possibly risk your life for a few measly rand that you may or may not get from the car owner?), but I guess they can act as a deterrent. A little bit like locking your front door when you go out - it makes you feel safer, and prevents a chancer from just walking in and helping himself, but it is of course useless if someone really wants to break into your house. This is my take on it - the car guard feels that he has a job and I feel that I am helping to support someone. It annoys me very much when locals say that car guards should get "proper" jobs - there are very few of those around here. Proper jobs, I mean.

6 comments:

frayedattheedge said...

I think that's called negative space!!

Alexandra Hedberg said...

just wanted to tell you that I'm a little delayed in posting my package too you...Too much to do this week

But soon soon!

Leenie said...

Guard to what? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? So many unanswered questions. (Does she live in a prison or assylum? Is she going to escape? Will all that tunneling be for nothing?)

In an abstract way the photo is a beauty.

Lady P said...

yes - i also would like to know why the guard has to be there for the cars - are they likely to get hurt if left on their own?

Sarah said...

Fascinating!

Lady P said...

good to hear the story behind the empty guard post - it is always so interesting, the things that one can take for granted, not realizing that in another land, it will all seem so mysteriously different and rather exotic