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Even Mother Nature Hates Your Stupid Car

, , , , , , , | Friendly | November 19, 2021

It’s 2010 and the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull has just erupted, spewing ash all over Western Europe.

On our road, there are no driveways: everybody parks their cars on the street. It’s a bit crowded, and you have to hunt for a space, but mostly everybody copes well and we all have a bit of give and take to keep everything smooth.

One of my neighbours buys an expensive top-of-the-line sports car. It’s clearly his pride and joy, and good for him. But he doesn’t want anybody parking close to it, so he starts putting “no parking” cones on either side, taking up about five potential spaces. He leaves the cones in place when he’s out with the car, adding more to stop people from parking where he parks the sports car, as well.

This does not go down very well with the rest of the street. The cones get removed, but he puts out new ones. People park where the cones are/were and he leaves rude notes glued to their windscreens. Words are had, including stand-up arguments between him and others on the street.

I’m out front one early morning putting the bins out, and I notice that everything is coated in a thick layer of volcanic ash that fell in the night. Sports car man comes out, sees the ash, and returns with a bucket of water and a cloth.

I go to stop him from washing his car, but before I can say anything, he shouts at me to f*** off. I assume he thinks I’m about to have a go about the cones like everybody else has.

I leave him to it with a shrug. He puts the cloth into the water and starts scrubbing the ash off his expensive sports car.

You may not know this, but volcanic ash was the chief ingredient in the 1950s and 1960s scouring powders like Ajax. Added to water, it makes a thick, creamy, gritty paste that scours away dirt… and also varnish, Teflon… and most types of paint.

The next day, the car wasn’t there and neither were the cones. If he got it resprayed, he started keeping it elsewhere.

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