By Bill Fulton
I am The Sign Guy. That's what most people call me. It has to do with my part-time job. I put out open house signs for various real estate development companies on the weekends. My route is roughly the northwest section of the city. Every Friday night I load up the 2004 Ford Taurus with signs and make my way through the streets of Roxborough, Manayunk,
The pay is, at first glance, modest. I get two dollars for each sign I place during the weekend. It may not sound like a lot but when you are putting out 60 signs on a Friday night; it does add up.The part I like best about this side job is that I get to cruise around the city and watch how people spend their Friday nights. This may sound a voyeuristic or just flat out creepy. But I believe it falls right in line with my writer's personality. We observe people and we think of stories...that's what we writers are wired to do.
To me, the most fascinating thing is to see how each neighborhood I travel through has a distinct character. Take Roxborough for example. Driving down
By contrast, head down
Once you navigate the traffic and undergrads from
Almost every other weekend, someone from the unofficial, yet hyper-vigilant community watch committee will take time away from watching the PBS pledge drive and threaten to tear a sign down and toss it in the trash as soon as I depart. "That's fine pal," I counter. "I get paid either way. Just remember to recycle."
I find it amusing that this patch of William Penn's "Green Country Towne" considers itself far removed from the clutter of the city. I chuckle because just three blocks away is gritty
I don't spend a lot of time when I go through
My weekly route eventually ends up full circle back in Manayunk. This is where I place the last few signs along
There is the drama of the girlfriend and boyfriend shouting match as they try to flag down a cab. "I hate you!! You ruin every weekend," drunken girl screams.
"Shut up Bitch and get in the cab," the drunker boy slurs back at her.
Or my personal favorite: "Hey, there's crazy sign guy again," a crew of revelers begins to heckle. "He's here every weekend. Get a life loser!!"
By this point I have been schlepping my signs through the city for over two hours. Needless to say, I'm not going to suffer fools gladly.
"Hey, Junior," I respond "Which one of us just made $120 tonight and which one of us dropped $120 on Jaegerbombs in that bar over there?"
Befuddled by the question, my hecklers have no response.
The Sign Guy wins again.