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Eezee Squeegee

August 13, 2009

I now know the recession is in full swing because I saw a Squeegee man on the Whitechapel Road the other week. It looks like that scourge of the London road is back with their manky rags and dirty buckets, ready and waiting to clean your car window, whether you want it or not. I observed when they were around the first time around a few years ago that they were particularly persistent when the driver was a woman. Catching sight of this man on the road reminded me of my experience with a Squeegee man a few years ago.

One warm and balmy evening, a friend was driving me home. As we hit the lights at the Euston Road, Squeegee man advanced towards us. My friend politely refused his offer to wash the car. With the knowledge that the driver was a woman, he ignored her and proceeded to put the dirty rag on the window. My friend must’ve seen the look of thunder on my face as this scenario unfolded because she wound down the electric window on my side enabling me to lean out of the car so I could tell him this: “My friend asked you. Now I’m telling you. Stop it. Now”. He gave me the skunk eye and I found myself wondering if now was the point where I’d get the dirty contents of the bucket thrown into my face. In spite of the filthy look, he stopped what he was doing and moved on to bother someone else but missed the opportunity as the lights changed and the traffic moved once again.

In these days where speaking out could get you glassed, stabbed or shot, according to the screaming tabloid headlines, it may not be a smart thing to do. But I hope that I, among others, will continue in this vein. It’s in our communal interest to do this. Hopefully, the worse you’ll ever get is a bucket of dirty water in your face.

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