Tuesday, May 23, 2006


With the increasing temperatures and hours of daily sunshine has come one of many pests of summer: the squeegee people. Forgive me for sounding cold and callous, but I take issue with these intruders into my personal space and realm. Sure, maximum visibility from the driver's seat is great to have, as is an entrepreneurial spirit, but not at the expense of my freedom to choose to have a clean or a dirty windshield.

Being a dweller of the downtown region, I have begun noticing an increasing number of squeegee
people pouncing on vehicles unlucky enough to hit a red traffic light. These space invaders whip out their tools at breakneck speed and begin soaping down your windows before you even have the chance to reach over and lock your car doors. Then, after a series of soaping and squeeging (English is a dynamic, living language and I can make up new verbs if I want!) and the arrival of a green light, these people stick out their hands in expectation of a payout for their "service." If you generously fork over some change, they wave at you and let you go. Sometimes, they even smile at you. However, if you decide not to pay because you feel that it is an unsolicited violation of your space and your vehicle (or you happen not to have any cash smaller than a $20 bill), then you have to hope to God that the squeegee person doesn't a) whip out a gun and fire at you point blank, b) hit your hood with the hard end of their squeegee and dent your car, c) stand in front of your vehicle in protest of your stinginess, or d) make a big scene and cuss at you while you try to drive away as fast as you can.

Don't get me wrong; I admire people who do something rather than sit around and beg for money. People who busk or sell inner-city newspapers are actively and respectfully offering services and goods in exchange for some cash. The difference, though, is that these folks respect my space and don't impose themselves on me; they offer me the choice to buy their publication / listen to their music or simply walk away. They don't hand me the paper and then expect my money. The choice is mine. The squeegee people, however, eliminate my freedom to choose altogether by imposing their "service" on me and my car whether I want it or not. Then they are shocked or appalled when I exercise my right to not pay for this unwanted action.

Bottom line: Expect that I won't be paying for a squeegee at any point this summer or next, and heaven help that squeegee person who dares to work my windshield! Grrr!