Saturday, November 11, 2006

A new old'un ... 'the hitchhiker'

My favourite old'un, the 'Wheelbarrow Woman', has dropped off the face of the planet, perhaps permanently. However, she has been partly replaced in my thoughts by her body double. The doppleganger has almost the same physique as the 'Wheelbarrow Woman' (bent double like rice stalks in a typhoon), and the same gait. Alas, she has no wheelbarrow in which to sit and rest on her painfully slow journey to her sewing class. I pass her on the precarious riverbank road of a morning, and she's normally totally knackered. As you approach her from behind, she looks like a headless ghoul shuffling through the early morning fog that hangs low and heavy over these parts. What is even more startling is when this ghostly apparition turns, steps into the path of your car and waves a withered hand for you to stop. She then opens your passenger door, scrambles up into the front seat (no mean feat for a person shy of a hundred years by only about a dozen), and points where she wants you to take her. Wheezing heavily she thanks you unceasingly for stopping (even though you have absolutely no choice in the matter), and does her best not to bash her head on the dashboard.