Monthly Archive for August, 2007

Page 2 of 2

rawhide

Cowboy

ever think much about rawhide??  me neither….at least not until i shared a taxi with a Norwegian rawhide entrepreneur…

this was after our plane,  half full of Mormon missionaries  from salt lake city,  was diverted to dallas  after  first being diverted to tulsa because of severe storms…. and this was soon to be  my second night, out of four traveling days, slumbering at an airport hotel…

now i have a rule….normally, i am a reasonably friendly man and enjoy meeting strangers….except for when i fly….i usually try to avoid conversations with anyone on the plane…most particularly,  i do not want the person in the next seat to find out i am a photographer, or worse, on assignment for  National Geographic…i am sure my colleagues would agree…

once you have been on an 8 hour flight with the person next to you, finding out you are an NG photog, and  either telling you about all of their photographic experiences or, worse, quizzing you for 6 hours about what it must be like to be a National Geographic photographer, you will never commit "guess who i am" again….

so, i avoid this at all costs by either sticking to my reading or sleeping….

but, a shared taxi is another story…..you have to talk…you even want to talk…about the bad luck of the layover….and "ever been to dallas before?" stuff….

still, i try to steer the conversation away from me ….so, this hapless passenger, with whom i share the taxi , is from oslo…smiling eyes norwegian….got his MBA from a university in norway…. he told me that because was Jewish,  he wanted to  move to Israel or  the  United  States ….now i am just telling you what he told me…

anyway, he lands a job as the CFO of a rawhide distribution firm in new york and has spent the last 22 years moving rawhide….he did not care about rawhide…a CFO is a CFO he said….whatever the company…he told me business was tough…..his best years were before the fall of communism he schooled me….he told me that all of the communist countries bought american rawhide….so the fall of the berlin wall brought hard times for the american rawhide business…

now he tells me , his main business is exporting to  mexico…i was surprised at this,  thinking surely mexicans had their own rawhide…he then informed  me that americans eat more beef than anyone…..rawhide is an obvious  by – product….so, mcdonalds  affects the  rawhide business…and mexicans use rawhide for everything and they do not have enough of their own….

worse still, he said , was that slaughter houses had realized they could do their own rawhide distribution…."selling all the parts" he said…they no longer needed my norwegian  rawhide buyer and middleman  distributor….so, times were tough he said….his shoes seemed to be of finest leather…

he  seemed a happy man..for sure, a nice guy…someone you could like…i  do not remember his name….norwegian names are always hard for me to remember…he  spoke of  his  family….most important  thing  in his life….his wife is Danish….they met in business school…she runs something,but i do not remember what…..he has his two children in private schools….he did not tell me where he lived in new york, but i suspect it is across the bridge from me…

ok,15 minute taxi ride over…hotel looks lousy….lobby full of blank faced stranded passengers…my short time companion and i did not exchange cards…….i did not take his picture…he has no clue what i do….perfect….we will never meet again….but, importantly for me, he was the very first rawhide salesman i ever met…..i doubt i will meet another….


Bull