April 10, 2012

City Scenes

We’re standing by the side of the road, waiting for something. My mom and I observe the wall. “It’s got history,” she says. It does. It’s got a little sign, peeled paint, a tree, an intricate rainpipe, and lots of details. The color of the wall alone is a work of art.
Two Sokleen guys are sweeping the pavement by the side of the road. One sweeps, the other one gathers and dumps it into the green mobile collection bin.

A man walks by, and flaps wildly with his arms, gesturing that they have to stop sweeping immediately; the dust it just too much for him. They stop, as he walks by and holds his nose. I am thinking, ‘you silly shit. You either cross the road, you hold your breath, or you do anything, but you do not just behave like a dumb teenager.” They look at him, and just smile.

When he’s out of ‘dust range’, they continue sweeping. Next the local Sokleen boss patrol on his little scooter runs by, stops, and starts yelling at them. “Everyone takes one side of the road. You do not work here together on the same side! You on this side, he on the other side. And by that way, that part over there isn’t cleaned properly yet,” as he grabs one by the arm to complain.

And I am thinking; Every morning, when I walk my dog, I am 5 minutes ahead of the Sokleen patrol, and there’s garbage everywhere. The food packaging of the local chicken sandwich stores, the napkins, the cans of Pepsi, the broken beer bottles, the packs of empty cigarettes, all on the pavement. Sometimes even entire garbage bags of people who couldn’t be bothered to drag it to the nearby dumpster. And they’ve got to clean everybody’s shit, because we don’t bother to do it ourselves. And when I walk the streets that same afternoon, they’re spotless clean!

Some compassion maybe? Some respect? I know they get paid for it. I know it’s just a job. I know eveyone is just trying to do tehir job. It just wouldn’t hurt to smile now and then. And so while the Sokleen boss patrol does his routine, we (two foreigners in a car) call to him. “They’re cleaning so well. They’re doing such an excellent job. Just let them work!”

He smiles at us, (painfully, I might add) and tells the 2 cleaners; “You see, now they’re making fun of me.” (Tothak alayeh). Go and clean the other side of the street,” and he leaves on his scooter.

I could observe this city all day long. There’s so much going on.

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