39.  Ts - Magic or madness


Please allow me to skip to the present and report about the walk I just did with my little Fox Terrier, Becky on Wednesday 8.9.04. If you regard what I write as madness, you will still have fun reading it. If you can see some sense in it, that perhaps I discovered a way of communication with people, who agree with my writing, then you will be entertained and maybe astounded by the pure magic.


The whole chapter is mainly about the pieces I have collected for the proposed, future ‘Show-and-Tell-Museum’. A tourist attraction of this kind certainly would be the only one of its type in the world. All exhibits would be of bits and pieces, picked up off the street, while taking the dog for a walk or investigating car crashes. Entry would only be open to those with a certified mental illness, because normal people may not appreciate it.   


As I prepared myself and the dog for the walk, I thought: “Where will I go today?”  I like variety and had a number of directions to choose from. I ran up our street just a short distance to get away from a lady walking her two dogs. She smiled as I gave her a little wave. Only a minute into our walk, along Nelson Road, I saw a small, square piece of plastic tape, the type that is used for strapping.  It was shaped into a small square about 10 cm on each side.


I recognized it. Two days earlier I had seen one identical in Yulinda Tce, a short distance in the other direction. Becky had pulled back to sniff something, which forced me to pause when I saw it. The square piece of stiff tape in Yulinda Tce had been placed so that one corner pointed to a piece of chewing gum, almost like an arrow. I took the gum as ‘gun’, using the next letter in the alphabet. Was somebody concerned about my safety?


Today’s walk continued crossing busy McIntyre Road. We just caught a lull in the traffic and ran across. On the far side a piece of cardboard lay in the grass beside the road. As often happens, I first walked by, before a tug in the brain said, hello? No harm in looking at it. I spotted numbers 55 x 600 mm as well as 07/No.9 written in large black handwriting. I picked it up.


A closer look gave the product’s or Company’s name – outokumpu Rolled Products, Made in Finland. In capital letters was written a name ‘HEATHS COPPER’. The piece of square cardboard was about the size of a tennis racket. I saw one more code on the item – the recycle emblem shows 05 PP and the actual product that had been packed inside at one time – Copper Strip CU-DHP.


I continued along Cornwall Av towards the corner, where I had previously had fun picking up an empty packet of ‘Funghi Tortinelli’ (Chapter 31). As we walked up Wynn Vale Drive a car rego read … 098. It registered that the day’s date was Sept. 8th. On the said corner, outside No. 5 I saw a Mazda Ute, Model BRAVO, with the letters DF underneath. Later I phoned a Mazda dealership. DF stands for Dual-Fuel, how disappointing!


I turned into Rosewall Av (nice name) and noticed someone had dumped old carpet on the grassed area opposite some houses. It looked so unsightly, I made a point to later phone the Salisbury Council to report it.


As I returned towards home I picked up two more items. A white sheet of paper, which was folded and showed in big letters the word ‘TIME SHEET’. I think I picked it up more out of curiosity, like everything else. The timesheet was in triplicate, blank but had the company’s name and logo on it. I liked the name, which re-shaped into ‘victory for a n’. I knew I would be contacting them later.  Their logo consisted of 3 balls inside a triangle. Their motto read– Looking out for people – looking out for jobs.


This really made me laugh. Firstly, because I am a people person and, secondly by picking up rubbish I got myself a job – not just collecting bits of debris, but deciphering it, writing about it in my diary, phoning the companies, where appropriate, or taking the Mickey out of them in a crazy letter or fun email. Isobel reminded me regularly that this kind of activity did not pay the bills. I ought to get a real job. What was my real job?

What on earth was I here for? 


My dog Becky always seemed to wait to do her ‘business’ until out for a walk. I always collected the product in a plastic bag and carried it home to dump into the garbage bin. As you can see I had my hands full during and after my walks with the dog.


Soon after arriving home I looked up in the phone book the company, whose timesheet I had picked up. Their number ended in 3533. If I wanted to totally go off the planet (nice word that), I could play with the name of the suburb, Dulwich, but I’d rather move on to browse with you through my dairy for previous roadside pick-ups, not yet reported.  


One day during a walk with Becky, again on Wynn Vale Drive I saw something white lying on the ground. On closer examination it was a white shirt. A logo was embroidered on the front – KINGS. It didn’t take a lot of detective work to figure out that it must belong to a student from King’s Baptist Christian School, less than a kilometre up the road. It had no name on it. So I took it home, washed and ironed it and dropped it into the school’s administration a few days later. I had not ironed a shirt in years. 


One day I was driving past road works with a learner on Montague Road, Ingle Farm. For a moment something deep within my spirit registered; but because I was with a client, I had to ignore it for the moment and continue in my real job. On Mon 7/6/04, a few weeks later, I happened to be at the bank in the nearby Ingle Farm Shopping Centre, when I felt urged to go and have a closer look at the location.


The actual road works had been on the nature strip between Montague Road and another, which I deciphered as P OK. A nearby road easily transformed into 'Re:WhyLA'. Golding Oval, which runs along Redhill Road (a name I had stumbled across in Los Angeles over a year earlier), were too much of a co-incidence to just brush off. 


(I know I am talking in riddles, but hope to avoid some hateful element targeting particular locations, if I disclosed all details). 


(I have a gnawing suspicion about a 20-Million-Dollars blaze on 22/08/04 in the Adelaide suburb of Mitcham).


I parked in the short street, near where the road works had taken place. The street is blocked off on a bend, forming a J. Firstly I noticed a few LEGO pieces, red, yellow, blue and white lying on the road, ideal museum material. I walked over to the sand, where the diggings had obviously taken place. I saw a carton on top of the sand, Classic Chocolate Milk. I was totally convinced I had come to the right place. I took a photo and picked up the carton. Before I drove away I left a business card in the house nearby.  


Only a few days ago (early in September 04) a student and I revisited the street. I made her do a 3point-turn. At the spot where the Lego pieces had been I noticed a very small, red traffic cone (c one?). I hesitated to pick it up with a client in the car. (I do get embarrassed, like everyone else). But after driving away I felt uneasy. And the client needed more practice in three-point turns, so I directed her straight around the block back to the street. She did her job and I did mine – collecting exhibits for the museum.


My real job, which earned money, went well together with my fun-job, earning laughter, scorn and embarrassment. I didn’t leave another business card. Instead I noticed that there was no No. 7 in that street. House No. 5 joined No. 9; nothing but a fence in between.  



Another pick-up episode really stands out. I walked around the small lake at Gulfview Heights with Becky one morning. It had rained overnight and there was not a drop of wind. Otherwise the tiny scrap of paper, less than matchbox size, would have blown away. The letters ‘SAVE’ and ‘usk’ initially caught my eye. It was part of a red and blue wrapper for ‘Lifesavers’; the ring-shaped confectionary was ‘Musk’ flavoured.  For a fleeting moment I considered the message to read: Save us! This would tie in with my driving school’s motto – Your safety is driving us. 


What was extra-extra ordinary about this piece of paper was the connection to the weekly SBS TV program Inspector Rex. That very same evening, June 10th 04, I happened to watch the program and noticed the word ‘musk’. The murder weapon was a gas, Senfgas, which was translated in the subtitles as “musk’.


On July 3rd 04 my diary records another encounter with Musk Lifesavers. I was visiting the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The reason was rather bizarre. I had heard and read in the newspaper that an escaped mental patient had bashed a female prison employee in broad daylight and left her naked body lying outside the prison wall. Now, two days later, she was still in the intensive care unit, the ICU; that’s why I saw her. She was supposedly critical, but stable.


Before I took the lift to enquire about Mrs. Williams, (her story would fill a whole chapter on it’s own) I went to the toilet on the ground floor. Right inside the first door of the men’s, I saw and picked up an identical blue and red wrapper with white writing  ‘LIFESAV Mus’. My entry on 3/7 (both wrappers are pasted in my diary) actually plays with the name musk. Take away the m & k and all that’s left is ‘us’.


Considering I had not bought or consumed a Lifesaver in years, to pick up 2 wrappers of the same product, even the exact same flavour, twice within a month is hard to explain. Mrs. Williams, of course, was not seeing visitors. I never really expected her to. The story had me thinking that I wondered, if someone by that name was really there at the hospital. I gave the nurse a goodwill message to pass on to Mrs. Williams and left.


What was it that made me question events, even when they were printed in black and white, or announced on Radio and TV? 


Not long after migrating from Germany I joked about Albert Einstein - Had he migrated to Australia instead of the US, he may have built a successful business in repairing washing machines. Should I have started earlier a business in garbage collection services? I could have started the Australian Franchise for Septoe, sorry Steptoe and Son. How about a new business venture called ‘Einstein Thinking Cansulkant’, sorry Consultant?


Just look at the name Einstein. Let me ts (tease) you with it. ‘Ein’ in German means one. So Albert’s name is really nothing but ‘one ts one’. Unless you prefer the English version: ‘Stein’ means stone – makes little difference, ‘one ts one’ again.


The timesheet I had found on the footpath referred to above was that of an Employment Agency.


I shall phone them and ask, what kind of job I could apply for with these skills? Are they looking out for people, who know their ts and love to ts?


Chapter 40