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Ecuador News

Behind life’s scenes

I used to own a window manufacturing plant. It was a sizable  operation and when I liquidated my position there, we were shipping to about forty states. The jobs we sold were all large and, most often, competitively bid government contracts. One thing that always weirded me out was salesmen, my employees, who had won my corporation a nice piece of manufacturing work by being the lowest-priced responsive bidder. But, somehow, they were occasionally unsure of what all they had sold. Precious and costly details had escaped their meticulous “t” crossing and “i” dotting.

Well, what’s always screaming in my ear is the details, all the details … every last one of them. Seriously, details stand out to me like so much fluorescent yellow high-liter splashed across the almost extinct printed page. They seem to hang in space, right before my eyes, flashing their red, “Don’t miss me!”, warning lights!

I’m pretty sure that’s part of how I experienced the evolution from corporation owner/operator to artist. I’m able to recall that as a child, I  always excelled at noticing and taking into account the details. Yes, of course, I was every schoolmarms delight! I carried the same focus from my years of education into the workforce where the dividends were strong for companies that didn’t “miss anything” (or tiny fractions, at worst). At some point, I realized my perception of the immediate environment worked in a different way than most folks’. I saw and studied the things most people either cared nothing about or, overlooked in the haste of living.

This is sort of an inconvenient skill-set in that it strongly defies management. If you’re interested in different stuff, you’ll probably find yourself thinking about the who, what, where, when, why and how of your object of focus. It’s hard to divest yourself from these processes of examination if you have a natural quest for details.

Both my mind and my eye seem wired to seek out, recognize, and utilize details. This propensity has served me well both in manufacturing and photography. So, here’s one of those things I wanted to examine, that I had to know more about … Ice Cream Cart Bells.

I doubt they sell individual clappers for bells here in Ecuador but who knows … maybe they do. They do, however, have plenty of hunks of wire and some old nuts and washers laying around in the hiways and byways, all good for the taking, finders keepers and all such as that. There’s likely an old bolt, laying in the gutter, that fell from a dilapidated moto. It’ll be a fine replacement for yours that just gave out after the ten-millionth bell ringing.

The cart of the Pingüino Ice Cream Man is a three-wheeled bicycle with two wheels in front and the single drive wheel in the rear. As he pedals, the knees of his pants continue to remove tarnish from the spun brass bells of his cart while the moving fabric shines the worn metal to a dull sheen. As a background for my indelible little slice of life, the tattered rain-shine umbrella of the vendors cart sports the bright colors of the Ecuadorian flag.

For me, life’s richer for the details it serves up. I enjoy sharing a visual ladle-full with you. These are bits and pieces of scenes that lie along my path. They are elements of the composition of everyday life that I encounter here. I have a niche for those, a special place. I have them stashed there. Forever.