I thought seven grand was a bit steep and the guy accepted six and a half. It was all I could scrape together and he needed the money so we had a deal. It wasn’t an awful lot for my money, just a trolley and some flags and bunting. In the trolley were some brushes and sponges and he found some spare washing stuff in his garage which he brought round the next day. Mostly, I got the pitch. Well, car park, but I think of it as my pitch.
It’s sometimes a bit quiet during the day, especially first thing and in the winter. But if I get just a couple of customers in an hour, that makes it worthwhile. Weekends I can hardly keep up with the demand sometimes. I might even think about taking someone on to help me if it carries on. Just imagine me with staff. And Mrs Johnson always said I’d never amount to anything.
I never thought it before but the bit I love most is the people watching. Regular Desmond Morris I am these days. I see it all and nobody pays any attention to the car wash man. I see something looks like a bit of action, I wheel over my trolley, whistling and looking like I’m searching out customers, and I can get right up alongside without any bother. You know, I’ve only been here an hour or so today and know what I’ve seen?
Well there’s this couple that meet by the recycling bins and make out in the back of his car. They both came today but missed each other. He left before she got here, looking stung with guilt. Maybe his wife caught him out? When the woman got here, she looked gutted but shook it off and went shopping. Some serious relationship that was, eh?
Then there was that couple who were having a major row. He sounded like a right bastard to be honest. Poor woman, she must have had a lot to put up with in her life. He was treating her like some 1950s housewife and giving her a right hard time. But only about ten minutes after they got here he came storming back out without her, got in the car, slammed the door and drove off. Face like thunder, he had. I hope she told him to get lost. Well, I hope she said something more than that, but you know SupaValu is a family supermarket.
And we’ve had a car crash already today. Some idiot in a red car drove in here like his arse was on fire, clipped straight into the back of another car driving out of a space. Probably be knock for knock on the insurance although the bloke was out and blaming the other driver before she knew what was going on, poor dear. And the crowd that gathered round. You should have seen how many people piled into the café to watch from the warm inside.
But he nearly hit someone on the way in, too. Some young girl had to jump out of the way and ended up on the floor. Her other half came running back for her quick though. Come to think of it, he was stomping off ahead, so they must have been having a row too. It all happens here, I can tell you.
I’ve learned a lot about people since I got the pitch, so much that I could start an agony column in the paper. There’s probably almost no problem that hasn’t been played out in this car park at some time. Or that will do before long. So what have I learned?
Being in public doesn’t make any difference if you’re in the mood for a fight. Not everyone realizes what they’ve got until it’s too late. However bad you’re having it, someone is always having it worse. Always. Nobody really enjoys shopping, at least not food shopping. Few people appreciate how great it is to be alive. Reverse parking is hard to master but worth it.
I’m thinking about writing a book, what do you reckon? “What the Car Washer Saw,” or maybe “Scenes From a Car Park.” I’m going to start making notes.