I needed to fetch my little black dress from the Dry Cleaners today. In most countries, one drives, parks, runs in, picks up the clothes, and runs out again. Here – not so much.
Happy Harrys is just a few short blocks from my house. I jumped into my car. Roared off. Stopped at the robot. Eight men appeared at the window. I bought a homeless magazine, a mop and feather duster that I didn’t need, a cell phone charger, and had my windscreen washed.
I continued. Pulled off to the side, jumped out of the car, wiped the soap suds off the window, jumped back in, bought another homeless magazine and headed off again.
Four parking attendants showed me where to park. I locked the car, bought dishcloths from the Zimbabwean, had my usual chat with the Congolese drummer, and went to pick up my dress.
It wasn’t ready.
“Come back in an hour” the assistant said cheerfully.
I paid the haggling car guards, drove off, and stopped at the robot. The eight men appeared again. I bought another homeless magazine. Paid the guy not to wash my window, and gave him a coke and a half finished Danish from my back seat. He thanked me, and gave me his homeless magazine. It struck me I had so many homeless magazines, I was now fully qualified to be homeless too.
Before I could leave, two more men appeared, selling newly released DVD’s. Feeling only a tinge of guilt, I bought one. ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ The new one, the one they haven’t even started shooting yet.
I’m going to stay home tonight. Watch the movie. I should be going out. But I need to wear a black dress. And I just don’t have the energy to go pick it up again.
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