Saturday, September 23, 2006

Parking Problems

I don't know what to call them really, car keepers is the closest word, basically cause I saw someone with a badge spelt 'CAR KEEBR' down by the pyramids.. In Arabic it's sayes, which then went on to become just menaady, it’s very interesting how they’ve evolved actually.

You see I have a real problem with those car keepers, I really do. My problem is that basically they demand money for nothing. Even when I was a student in college with little money to spare they would provoke car drivers in the most absurd manner. Back then they made more money than I do, and even now, I stop to wonder if they still do. It's not that I don't pay them for a service I need, I do.. but I only pay when the car is filthy or I want them to keep an eye out or for just any service that I actually require and that they actually do.

In the old days they used to wipe your car window even if it was clean, and they would offer the service in a very enthusiastic manner.. as time went by, the cloth got dirtier and dirtier, and they got more complacent. They dirtied your car and expected to get paid for it. The real problem is that if you don't pay they give you a condescending look, like it’s their absolute right to take money that belongs to you. Some of them would throw money in your face if they didn't like what you gave them.. they're elite I tell ya.. It has become their implicit right to take money off you for something you don't want and don't need and which they don't offer.

On one occasion a complete stranger demanded that he take my car keys just because he claimed he was a sayes. That’s a lot of power for someone off the street really. On another occasion one of those sayes people got very angry cause I pulled the handbrakes while I was parked correctly!!! I mean he got really upset, like the street was his.

You see, it turns out that streets are rented for a price, they give some street bully money and that street becomes theirs. No wonder they’re so demanding, someone sold them thin air and for that they need to extract your money. It’s vicious I tell ya.

They got lazier and lazier and more demanding than ever lately, and that's when they changed names from sayes, to menaady. It's cause they don't even bother with that filthy cloth anymore, the elite sayes now only calls out to help you in and out of a parking space which you would have already found on your own. You see this would all make sense if I didn't have a license, but if he's there to tell me how to drive (with bad instructions if I might add) then why do I even carry the license?

Okay so it's not so bad, they sometimes do help.. but then again so do I.. when I see someone trying to park in a tight spot, I give them instructions.. sometimes I would park their car for them, but do I ask for anything? No!! Do I give them a condescending look if they don’t give me money? No!! I just offer my friendly human services expecting no reward except perhaps a thank you!
Eureka!! that's it.. I found out that I needn't pay them money for their kind words. It's fair that I repay them this kindness with kindness of my own. These days I'm at peace with Car Keepers, for their vocal services I reward them with vocal gratitude. I really smile at them genuinely and thank them for getting out of their way to give me instructions, after all, if they were driving, I would have done the same.

So the last time I was with R he saw me smiling to the menaady and after we had gone off he asked me, did you give him something? He wasn't even there when we parked. I told him no, I didn't give him anything. Knowing my history and my attitude towards car keepers, he said, okay, cause for a moment there I was surprised and thought you'd changed your attitude towards them, I know how you feel about them. So I told him that I'm no longer angry at them, I'm thankful for their selfless services and that’s why I smile at them.. all I did was adjust my attitude a bit but the results are still the same.


Veeeva said...

that's one of the reasons why taking a cab is better than a car.

N said...

that's one more reason i don't want to go back home :)

Wael Eskandar said...

still breathing: Taking a cab requires another blog entry.. including drivers who charge you extra if you compliment them by laughing at their silly jokes.

n: do you drive? The perks of driving are that you're in a continuous car game.. you can't find that elsewhere.. but that requires yet another blog entry for the absurdities .. don't you think ? :)

Anonymous said...

finally found someone who insists on not paying for getting no service.. well then, i only pay when they move cars forward or backward to make a space for me to park.. other than that.. batshetem i guess :)

N said...

I am quite the driver Will, and here i have gotten used to fueling my own car and pumping air into my own tires, so when someone walks up to me in Cairo demanding money for standing in the vicinity of my car and shouting instructions at me that i didn't need and didn't use, i am quite irritated, and we have established that that is not good :)

Wael Eskandar said...

insomniac : the sheteema is for a worthy cause.. carry on :)

N : I would rather do everything for myself too, people here are so pampered.

FreudianSlip said...

When it's -45 outside and i'm forced to step out for 10 mins to pump gas, i long for the pampering:D It's a bit much in Egypt though..i agree.

I've never driven in Egypt and can't say i'm looking forward to the ongoing games and weird rules (or lack thereof)..SCARED and i don't even scare easily!

N said...

Freudian: you SHOULD be scared! i drove for 6 years there before i left, and whenever i go back my first ride behine the wheel is always a bit like "how the hell did i ever do this"
the scarier thing is: you get used to it in a day :D

Will: the pampering is ridiculous, in so many aspects, borderline revolting.

Wael Eskandar said...

Freudian: when it's -45 outside.. I think the presence of people around is enough of a service to be pay for :)