Unlike other higher-ups in the food chain, New Yorkers are resistant to the live-and-let-sponge attitudes that prevail on the Zambezi, in the Hollywood Hills and on the way to the Forum. One reason may be that they doubt they will remain top dogs for long: hippopotami have wallowed around for millennia, and thanks to video, even B-actors glimmer on beyond the grave; but the fortunes of this city have the life- span of a souffle. That souffle, at the moment, is up and full of steam, which begs the question of when it will fall, and makes people uninterested in sharing. Unused to having anything that could be construed as an enviable quality-of-life, now that they do have it, New Yorkers are not complacent; they hoard it jealously. That may be why they do not feel like treating the gypsies, and it also may be why, when the other entrepreneurial scene-sharers arrived - the squeegee-men - so many New Yorkers in the black saw red.
To a foreigner, a squeegee-man is an irritation; a fellow who impolitely leaps on to one's car at a traffic light, and with a rag, a squeegee, and a pail of soapy, dirty water, mucks up one's windscreen and asks for money. But to New Yorkers, a squeegee-man is also a competitor, and not only that, a reminder of who they might end up being if they and too many others unload their capital on too many squeegee-men. Mayor Giuliani does not like squeegee-men any more than the next guy, especially since vowing to squelch the squeegees (who'd hung on after the last well-heeled era, the Gordon Gekko Eighties) had helped him win his first election. And so when a scattering of squeegees spritzed the city during a recent spate of unseasonably mild weather, and the front page of a local paper screamed "Squeegee Pests Return to the Streets!" the mayor promptly called a squeegee- zero-tolerance press conference. He urged New Yorkers to phone a quality- of-life emergency line if they spotted one plying his sudsy trade - 888- 677-LIFE. Anyway, between the gypsies and the squeegees, the mood in town during what should be a happy time has been roughly on par with the mood at a Missouri picnic where a mad dog has just been spotted loping past the barbecue pit. Which doesn't leave people much appetite for souffle.Reuse content