UNDISCLOSED #8 – 31st August 2008

It is 11am.

I am armed.

In my bag is a wad of envelopes.

Each envelope is addressed to a need.

Inside each envelope is a suggestion or word of advice or a tried and true method passed on from my grandmothers grandmother and the grandmother before that, or disclosed to me by a wise old woman in a Turkish bathhouse in Budapest.

I survey my options and decide to sit just outside the train station. There are no buskers here yet and no one asking for money. They must be having a sleepy Sunday in. I seize my place while the opportunity allows. There are plenty of people around and they are all going about brunch or lunch or shopping. I sit on the milkcrate, left over from last nights performance no doubt.

Then I lay out my merchandise.

Not that I am really asking for money, I just want to see how the transactions will be negotiated.

The various envelopes read ‘Need More Money?’,  ‘Want to be more Sexy?, ‘Looking for love?’, ‘Need a good recipe?’,  ‘Don’t know how to remove that stain?’, ‘Wish you could erase last night?’,  ‘Need new pants?’, ‘Lost your mobile?’, ‘Want a second life?’,  ‘Need a pet?’, ‘Don’t know how to clean the toilet?’,  ‘Looking for your Mum?’,  ‘Want a new job?’, ‘Wish you could go to Finland?’, Not sure what your next move should be?’, ‘Wish you were good at sex?’, ‘Lost your shoe?’, ‘Not sure which coat to wear?’,  ‘Don’t know how to swim?’,  ‘Want to give up eating chocolate and drinking coffee?’. And there are more.

 

The first few people to walk past just give me a brief glance, not sure what to make of what I am doing. I can see that they are thinking something like, She doesn’t look like a beggar but where is her instrument?

 

Oh, that is an enevelope too – ‘Need a new instrument?’

Then a small girl with her mum passes, she is about 9 years old and is attracted by my bright clothes and the coloured envelopes. She looks up at her Mum for a second as if gauging whether she can stop. The mother gives me a quick once over, I smile and she relaxes a little but encourages her daughter along.

 

Next a group of four friends pass in their mid twenties. They are happy and jovial. One asks “What’s all this then? What you doing?

 

I reply that I am giving away answers , is there anything that he feels rings a bell for him and point at the various envelopes.

He laughs and jokes with his friends as the ‘Erasing last night’ one catches his eye. I offer it to him. “Go on take it, it’s yours”

He is not sure but opts to take it from me with a brave laugh, meanwhile one of the other girls is studying the envelopes a bit more seriously. She says ‘What, are you just giving these away, can I just take it?”

I nod, still hesitant she says “Really?”

“Yes, go on”

She picks up ‘Not sure what your next move should be?’

Meanwhile the guy has ripped open his envelope and is chuckling away

“Get this it just says ‘It’s Erased!’, Ha Ha the jokes on us. Good one. Come on guys, have a good day!”

They all follow him up the street, bemused but a bit unsure what has just happened, the girl is still clutching her envelope, she hasn’t opened it, I see her slip it in her bag.

Not long after this, a man in his late 30’s stops and smiles, he surveys the envelopes and then asks me how I am?

 

I say fine, he asks me if I am like a tarot reader or fortune teller or something.

I say of sorts, I have advice and he can either take it or leave it.

He asks if I do this sort of thing often and where else do I do it?

I say whenever the urge takes me and that could be anywhere.

He really wants to chat to me, I can see. He is doing nothing particularly and has found me doing what he perceives as nothing in particular so thinks it is a good opportunity for a chat.

That’s ok. It is interesting to observe him, I see that he actually has no interest what so ever in the envelopes or picking one up, he just sees it as something that is drawing attention and he wants to be a part of that. He encourages people to look and jokes with them to pick up an envelope. “Come on” he says to one girl “Don’t you want to know how to remove that stain?”

She looks at him slightly horrified, she looks at me and I can see she is trying to work out whether he is part of this.

Another guy walks past and he almost bullies him into picking up an envelope

“Come on, bet you need a new recipe to impress your girlfriend” he says. The guy is not sure what is going on but goes along with it and accepts the offer.

This goes on for a while and he actually moves about eight envelopes for me. It is almost like watching a spruiker at work. He is loving it. Loving the hype and the opportunity it is giving him to interact with passers by. Then I think ,wow, it is almost like being upstaged in a way.

After about half an hour, he turns to me and says “well that was fun, nice meeting you and yeh well I got to get moving now, Yeh ummm have a great day mate, good luck, do you need anything? A bottle of water or something? Ok, well, see you around. Cheers!” and off he goes, never having picked up one envelope for himself.

I take a big breath and have a bit of a chuckle.

A lady in her 40s passes and stops, she smiles and then looks at each envelope.

She asks if she can buy one and how much?

I say there is no price. She looks at me a bit unsure.

I smile.

She looks at the envelopes again as if trying to make a decision.

“Could I take these three, is that ok?

I could pay you, I know that is a lot.”

I say to her she can do whatever she feels is right.

She is still struggling with it, I can see that part of her feels she should pay me something especially because she wants more, but a part of her just wants to take the free ride, because she just doesn’t know whether it will be worth anything.

Eventually she stoops down and picks up two – ‘Need new pants?’ and ‘Don’t know how to swim?’

She gets up and leaves me $2 thanking me and wishing me a lovely day.

She holds her precious cargo with both hands and rushes off.

I have been here for about an hour and half now and have 7 envelopes left.

I am contemplating leaving when a man that came past at least 40 mins ago stops, he says “you know that envelope I picked up, well your amazing, I feel so much better now, thankyou so much. I bought some cake, its chocolate, do you like chocolate?”

I say “yes”, he says “please have it and thankyou once again.” I thank him for his generosity and he brushes it off saying “no, no, thankyou this is a good thing you are doing here.” Then with another goodbye he leaves.

I am so touched, I rack my brains to think which envelope he took but can’t work it out. It was round the time that my spruiker was working the crowd and I lost track, a little, of which envelopes went where.

I try and guess but decide that it is better left a mystery.

It is 1.05pm

I have three envelopes left and decide that it is time to leave.

I get up and place the envelopes on the milkcrate.

I walk down the street.

 

~ by jvulcan on February 15, 2009.

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