It’s Good Friday and as I lazily stumble around doing my things, nearly falling down the stairs, I grab a hold of the folded treadmill and manage to drag myself back up to grab my jacket.
Lucky has been a whiner today and Robby and Smiley join in a cacaphonic Village orchestra. I think Robby was a vocalist in his last incarnation, a story all on its own to share some day.
The weather the past two days have been nippy so preventively I pull up my warm socks with my runners, clip the leashes on Lucky and Robby and step out only to be smacked by a fabulously aromatic scent encompassing this beautiful village. Someone is cooking on a wood burning stove. My lungs fill with the aroma and I am wide awake.
As I turn onto the road I see an unexpected sight slowly growing in front of my eyes: a huge boat on a trailer backing up. I stop in my tracks and secure Lucky and Robby. Staring up at this boat on the trailer, it inches to a halt and starts moving forward. I hear the loud diesel engine of my neighbor’s old GMC 2500 rattling the air. I realized he was taking a turn and going somewhere with one of his boats. I can barely see his big red truck on the other side of this huge boat. His diesel engine is louder than a coal fired factory.
I think out loud: Kijiji Man. That’s how we refer to him at our dinner table at home.
With the advent of direct, online sales engines, especially the free ones like Craigslist, Kijiji and an increasing number of other social network market places gave our Kijiji villager an economic boost that grew his trades exponentially. He has been a topic of discussion over several months around the dinner table. The dialogues have been positive and constructive ones analyzing how this gentleman makes his living.
Before I share with you how we came up with the name Kijiji Man, I have to share with you his diversified portfolio. On top of his list are old cars, especially big cars and SUV’s with diesel engines. At any given time, there are a minimum of five unlisted cars on his grounds, waiting in the wings to be fixed and made roadworthy. All the cars I have seen have been successful models of yesteryears. Next come the boats. The largest I have seen were the forty foot cruisers. I see a couple brought in at the start of each summer and then sold after completing a whole slew of repairs and cleanups. I have seen dirt bikes, modified classic cars and the list of trades go on. I have seen air stream vanity vans and trailers. Trailers full of steel and metal. Scrap trade can be very profitable if you know what you are doing.
Some time ago, an evening around 6 PM, I saw a big name courier truck stop in my driveway. My initial reaction was that these guys are damn good. They are working late into the evening, assuring everything gets delivered. Then there’s a knock on the door and I step out to see the delivery guy hand me a huge envelope from USPTO: United States Patent and Trademark office. What is this? I am not in the process of any communication with USPTO. The guys hands me an envelope and I look at it more closely. Right away I tell the delivery guys, “Buddy, next door.”
The delivery guy reacts, “So, you are not the Kijijiman?”
“Well, I am new on this route and the regular guy told me to ask about a dirt bike.”
“Then definitely it’s next door that you want.” I smiled.
As I slowly closed the door my smile broke into a silly grin. Kijijiman, hmmmmm.
The delivery guy quickly thanked me leaving his truck and hopping across.
Little did I realize that long forgotten USPTO delivery would unravel the suspense today about Kijijiman. 40 minutes later, I am almost done with Smiley and on the way back contented by identifying the house with the wood burning aroma. It whetted my appetite. I was also feeling tingly by how observant I was becoming of my surroundings. I walked briskly with that awareness.
As I approached home I noted the Red GMC 2500 was back and Kijijiman was standing there with all the doors and backlift of the truck open. He had two boxes in his hand. He walks up to me slowly to show me the contents: Motorcycle helmets.
“Ya, a buddy of mine gave it to me to sell.”
“That brand is about ninety bucks I’d say. I have the same one. What size is it?”
“What do you wear?”
He is staring inside at this helmet. “Oh, this is no good. This is XL. Let me look at this one.” He then walked to his truck and picked up another box. He smiles, “This one is medium.”
I look at it. “Great style. I always wanted one like this.”
“Take it. How much you will give me.”
“I don’t know.”
“Give me fifty.”
“I don’t know. I have a young man going through university.”
“How about thirty?”
“Okay, done.” And I bought a helmet from him. “You have a new Lincoln town car.”
“Got it on Ebay from the States. This one is from New Jersey.”
“Where did you get your S300 Benz?”
“Florida. And that one also on Ebay. You got to look at the ratings of the seller. It will tell you.”
“Isn’t it a shot in the dark?”
“Nah, its easy and cheap. Especially boats. They are giving them away. Americans are struggling with their economy.”
“Were you not in China for a few months?”
“Ya, I had gone there to manufacture my mattress.”
“You have a special mattress?”
“Ya, its absolutely unique and I have been trying to market it all over the world. It will displace all traditional mattresses. Mine, you can convert it into a water bed, regular mattress, half and half. I may have my first big order soon.”
“Oh ya. Big vendors are scared to have a mattress like this.”
“Who owns the patent?”
“I do. Its in my name.”
“You own patents.”
“Yes, a few of them. I like to keep busy. You know how it is. And you know metal prices are skyrocketing. You can make a fortune.”
It’s the second time in two days that I feel like the deflated economy of Europe in need of a bail out. Some have a life of boats and champagne. I am the dog walker, thirty dollars poorer with a helmet. I had better put it on before someone whacks me and tells the Kashman to go make some money. I wave at Kijijiman and suddenly cannot smell a thing. Life’s aroma fades for a second. Ha!