A have a confession to make. But please promise not to tell anyone. It is something I experienced in Sydney, and I have to say, I really miss it already over here in New Caledonia.
You all remember Village People, the band, right? I guess everyone can sing or hum along to ‘YMCA’, even if they don’t know the lyrics or don’t catch their deeper meanings. Believe it or not, but their 1977 debut album was the first record that I owned! (yes, that’s right, it was a vinyl LP). I was five at the time and did not fully grasp what was meant by the phrase ‘you can hang out with other boys’. My ignorance didn’t matter then, and neither does it now.
You are wondering where the hell this is going, don’t you? Well, just wait.
I could look at that record sleeve for hours on end, and I really admired all those handsome guys in their costumes (did I ever think they were real?). My favourite personas were the cowboy and the ‘red indian’. And I thought the police motorcycle was really cool. I barely noticed the construction guy on his caterpillar, though.
And now this:
I have to confess that I have a major crush on all those road construction workers and traffic controllers in Sydney. They are SO COOL! And I don’t give a flying flamingo whether they are male or female or diverse or what not. With their hard hats and their reflective vests and those huge safety boots – they are just so much pleasure to look at! (But not too close and obvious, though, because I must say I am also rather intimidated by them.)
And let me make one thing absolutely clear: this is not about me being attracted by uniforms. Firstly, because I’m not, and secondly, because I don’t see their work clothes as uniforms.
See what I mean?!?
There was one particular incident which tells you everything. It was evening and already dark on my first day in Sydney when I walked back from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair (where I took pictures of the Usual Suspects) to my hostel near Central. There were lots of road works going on and traffic had to be controlled. There was this huge road junction that I needed to get across. The traffic lights had been switched off, and there were these four young women, one in each corner of the crossing. I had to wait really long, because cars always go first in Sydney. I was standing behind her. And whenever she made a sign that another line of cars could drive past now, I made the tiniest of movements because I had hoped it would be my turn at last. And she would gnarl, without even looking at me: ‘Not you!’
Wow! Needless to say, I did not dare to ask if I could take a proper picture of her…
This whole thing is something that struck me as odd. In Germany, you hardly ever see women around construction sites or road works. Everything seems to be carried out by men. In Sydney, however, you see both women and men. Maybe the men are doing most of the actual construction work while the women mainly control the traffic, I don’t know.
Whatever the explanation might be, these folks are definitely a sight worth seeing! (And you don’t get them in New Caledonia, sniff…)