Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thing 281 Wash Car Windows at Traffic Lights

I'm not kidding you folks. People are hostile. You should know; you're people. Are you hostile? I spent the guts of an hour or so at the traffic lights at the intersection of Shannon Street with Henry Street in Limerick. Big bucket of soapy water, large sponge, squeegee and a smile. By the way, who knew it was spelled like that: Squeegee? Not me. Had to look it up. Everyday's a school day folks.

So what's important about the above photo? One word: Hot coffee. No wait... two words. Crap. Anyway, I went in to Arabica for a coffee, and to ask The Barista if he'd fill the bucket with some warm water. I explained what I was up to. Several of the customers moved seats to get a better view through the window. They knew what was coming...

One by one, each driver approached would flick his hand at me, and mouth "go away". None of them said it out loud, I guess it's normal not to realise that car windows aren't in fact sound proof, and I'll be able to hear you if you speak normally. Nobody smiled at me and said hello. Everyone attempted to avoid eye contact. One of them (driving a shiny white 2011 BMW if you please) actually mouthed the words "f*** off", rolled down his window and shoed me away like I was a dog that had followed him for too long.

I doubt he reads this blog, but if he does: Hello there douchebag!!

One sweet lady nearly started crying, she avoided eye-contact like everyone else, but she rolled the window down just slightly, and said;"I'm sorry, I've no money. Please don't clean the window, I've no money to give you". I felt really bad for her. "Don't worry", says I, "it's free. No charge. I'm only doing this for fun". Yeah. A pile of fun. Walking around with people telling me to where to get off, and shooing me like a dog.

Mind you, every time the lights turned green again, I'd head back for my bucket and watch the customers in Arabica absolutely creasing themselves laughing. I mean to say they were weak from laughing at me. No surprise really. The Barista was laughing too. And The Frenchman. Which in turn, made me laugh. Even if all the people were horrendously hostile, it's hard to be cranky when you're making a giant tool of yourself and people are smiling encouragingly at you.
So back out I'd go, with a big cheeky grin and a soaking wet sponge and my squeegee and I'd try hard to make as much eye contact as I could. I wasn't collecting any money. As I explained to the confused and highly amused passers-by, I'm not trying to make money out of The Project, I'm not entirely sure what I'm trying to do with it, but make money certainly isn't the name of the game. So I just kept popping from car to car, and watching people get increasingly uncomfortable. The friendliest were cab-drivers, you know, once they'd realised that you weren't trying to get their money, they'd have a great laugh with me.

Told one of them that I'd balance his tyres the next time he drove by. We both chuckled. Having said that, the vast majority of the day was unpleasant. And that brings me back to the first photo...
Wait, that's not the photo... that's a different photo. I'll give you a minute to look back at the first one again. Take your time...

The best thing about that photo is the bottom right corner. The large hot steaming coffee. The Barista who manages Arabica was watching me make a giant tool of myself, and watching me get told to f*** off by complete strangers, so he dandered out with a large hazelnut americano. No charge. Just because I was having a rough time. Top man that fella.

So apparently not everyone in the whole world is completely hostile.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, ya poor thing, next time I pass someone trying to clean my windscreen, I'll think of you and be nice, smile and say thanks, even if they are trying to make money. Good luck with your project, people are hard to please, but just remember, you are trying to please yourself.