As a regular in Raymore Park, people watching is part of the daily experience. Patterns of behaviour are often identifiable and the brain automatically assigns a category to people – for example dog walker, jogger, person in transit etc. This morning, I encountered a young woman walking in a way that defied easy categorization. She was coming from Scarlettwood Court and instead of joining the path, marched towards the river. I watched as she stepped down to the water’s edge and walked along the bank to the peninsula, her pace making it clear that she was not a sightseer. Once on the far bank, she retrieved a plastic bag from a holdall, quickly dropped the contents into the water and returned. In the meantime I moved closer and stood by her exit from the river. I looked at her questioningly and she retorted, ‘What?’.
‘What did you put in the river?’, I asked. She seemed embarrassed.
‘Why would you put wax in the river, why not throw it in a garbage bin?’
‘It’s private – something I had to do.’
She began to walk off.
‘Why poison the wildlife?’
‘I’m sorry’, she threw the remark over her shoulder and strode off, not looking back.
I walked down to the water and sure enough, the wax was floating exactly where it was dropped thanks to an onshore wind.
Having no shame, I lay on the bank and fished it out of the water – a substantial lump, possibly from a large candle or wax figure – and dumped it in the garbage.
I’ll probably never know the story behind the wax; whether or not it was some kind of occult leftover that had to be sent to the ocean – one can speculate endlessly. I am sure that if karma, voodoo, Air Miles or any kind of points were being awarded today, this young woman scored a big fat zero.