Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Squeegee Men and Morlocks

In H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine," the human race evolves into two species: the docile Eloi, who live above ground in splendor, and the Morlocks, underworld creatures who provide food and clothing for the Eloi — while antagonizing them and occasionally eating them for dinner.

I was reminded of this tonight when we took the car out to get gas. As we pulled into the Shell station at 8th and Harrison, we were immediately confronted by a homeless squeegee guy. He was swearing at the top of his lungs and appeared to be totally insane. He was also very intent on cleaning our windshield.

As I went to pump the gas, Kelly got out and told him that we weren't interested in a squeegeeing. He insisted. She told him we wouldn't be giving him any money. But he wouldn't be deterred; our efforts to stop him just made him angrier.

So Kelly got back into the car and the guy started violently cleaning our windshield, using a squeegee and copious amounts of his own saliva. It went a little like this:

"F*CK YOU, F*CKIN' BITCH!"
[spit, squeegee, squeegee]
"F*CKIN' ASSHOLE!"
[spit, squeegee, squeegee]
"F*CKIN' SH*T!"

Occasionally he would lurch at Kelly, staring at her through the glass in a terrifying manner. I was trying to pump the gas, but I kept yelling at him to get away from the car, indicating that his behavior was "not cool." It was no use.

Finally I had to go inside and talk to the attendant, who said he would call the police.

As I came back out, the homeless guy walked away. I think it was because he was done with the windshield and not because I informed the authorities, but he did give me a parting "F*CK YOU!" as he shuffled off.

When I got back into the car and pulled away, I looked at the windshield. Crystal clear.

"Wow," I said. "For a guy I just called the cops on, he did a really good job."