The publicity panel guy…

A Thursday October day in the Hamburg Central Station or as Germans would call it…the Hauptbahnhof…The alarm clock startled me at 9 in the morning, but I couldn’t be bothered to wake up. Of course this lead to a quick five minute packing…Finally the day arrived when I can once again see my lil’ woman…

It is quite chilly, I lost my scarf somewhere and I am slightly irritated by the fact that I still have 50 more minutes till the train arrives…I wanted to buy a Wok, but didn’t feel like Chinese take-away so I ended up with these two German sandwiches in my hand…Ham and cheese, but I can’t really seem to find the ham in it… Or maybe they referred to “Schinken” as a paper thin piece of a former pig’s buttocks. So it seams… There is nothing unusual happening in the Hbf…Trains arrive and depart every couple of minutes or so. People are rushing to catch their ride, some stand civilized in a line, others are more pushy. I took the liberty of taking an empty bench…Next to me a Middle Eastern family is planning to go somewhere. The parents talk to each other and to their small daughter in their own language but she responds in German. Well, I think Angela Merkel’s integration efforts reached fruition in this case….An old couple sits down next to me. Well at least the lady because the old man was unfortunately in a wheelchair…So hhhyeah…nothing extraordinary happening in the Hbf today. Not even people-watching seems that interesting…

While I’m chewing the last morsels of my ‘imaginary ham’ sandwich a worker comes up on the other side of the track… Nothing fancy about him; a young man, around his thirties, with a dirty overall and a baseball cap. Quite a tall chap I might add, and he definitely doesn’t take care of his back. A small hump is already visible on his upper back…He brings a broom, a bucket and a package of folded paper. Nothing interesting is happening yet. Next to him a huge publicity board with a restaurant’s name and offers. “Come to Hansi’s place, you won’t die of food poisoning…Well at least not while you’re in the restaurant” – I think to myself while looking at the ad. He takes a ladder and puts it next to the board. “Interesting” – I say to myself and start looking at the guy with greater attention. The small Middle Eastern girl next to me also stops playing for a second. Maybe she finds it interesting as well…It comes apparent what the guy does for a living. HE changes publicity board advertisements. But how does he do that? I honestly never saw anyone do it before, or maybe I did once but don’t remember it.

The guy starts whistling slowly and climbs up the ladder. He takes the broom, dips it into the bucket of glue and starts smearing it over the restaurant ad. He does the top left side of the panel then goes down the ladder and gets a stack of folded paper…Now I see that it is not paper, but the ad itself. So he goes up the ladder and sticks the folded paper on the top corner. Then he unfolds it downwards. After he made this initial “line” he unfolds it even more, but this time going to the right side…In the meantime the old couple got interested as well. The Middle Eastern parents stopped their chat and turned their attention to the guy. As the hour came closer to the train’s departure, more and more people started filling up the tracks…

The guy goes on with his work, whistling, dipping the broom into the glue, going up the ladder and unfolding the second bundle of paper. The ad becomes more and more visible; a blond and a brunette girl in new winter clothes… Meanwhile more and more people gather and start looking at him. I look around. People of all ages and occupation stopped their train station chit-chat and now are focusing at this one chap with his dirty overall. The broom goes up and down the panel, the glue spreads, the paper sticks, the ad unfolds more and more each time. By this time everyone is just staring at the guy. Kids, grandparents, tired faced businessmen, clerks pushing paper all day, housewives cooking for their children, lawyers filing lawsuits, engineers designing buildings…We all look at this one person. In this moment he has the best job in the world, and he does it like a pro. He’s the centre of our attention and he managed to raise the curiosity of half a train-station, without even trying…The ad unfolds, he takes away the ladder; the broom and bucket go on a small trolley. He never stopped whistling. He rolls away with his trolley, whistling, his dirty overall and baseball hat. All eyes follow him. For a few minutes he was the one pulling us out from our everyday boredom…”H&M, Winter collection, 29,95 €”…

Hamburg Hbf 21.10.2010, Maastricht (next to me woman) 24.10.2010.


2 responses to “The publicity panel guy…

  1. really cool story, Gashi! its been a while u wrote anything similar

  2. ja tudom…hát vissza kell álljak kissé a régi kerékvágásba és elég sok dolog még kell rendeződjön bennem 🙂 amúgy kösz a hozzászólást

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