On most visits to the town of Sarlat, some 25 kilometres from our village of Daglan, we get to enjoy the antics of a man who might as well be known as the wacky traffic guy. He’s short, thin, and fast-moving, and often has a cigarette dangling from his lips, but that’s not what makes him interesting.
This guy’s particular pastime is to hover around one of Sarlat’s main intersections, wearing a cap and a bright vest that make him look like some sort of police officer or traffic cop, and waving and pointing at cars, or watching them closely with a pair of binoculars. As far as we can tell, he serves no useful function except to confuse drivers, who often slow down or even stop, expecting to receive some sort of ticket for some sort of infraction they can’t possibly understand. Instead, he just waves them on, and moves on to another part of the intersection.
There he was yesterday, for our visit to Sarlat’s Village de Noël, so I simply had to capture him in action. First, here he is, getting into position near the Christmas Village, right on the main street that leads out of town.
To photograph him, I pulled over to the right, where the municipal bus would normally stop, and took my chances. I started clicking the shutter, and got this photo of him cocking his head and watching the traffic turn in front of him.
Now he seems to have spotted a violation, and is ready to flag down one of the passing vehicles.
Suddenly, he realizes that I’m not only stopped, but am actually photographing him. Quickly, he puts his trusty binoculars up to his eyes and stares right into our car. I’ve been caught in the act!
But was he mad? No, I think he was actually pretty pleased that he was being noticed — because he smiled, doffed his cap, and saluted me. As my wife and I drove away, I gave him a nice sharp salute in return. So the next time you’re in Sarlat, feel free to wave or salute.