Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Our neighbours wanted to know whether we had noticed that, for nearly three weeks now, by seven o’clock every morning – which is the time that one of them leaves for work – all the windscreen wipers of the vehicles parked in our street had been flipped into the vertical position – standing like sentries, in the way of Stalin’s supporters, as they put it, who were too afraid to sit down before the man himself did. By the afternoon, only a few of the windscreen wipers would still be vertical, which was a sure sign to thieves that those particular cars weren’t being looked after in the way that other cars were.

The thing to do, they advised – and this they had been telling everybody they knew in the street, and we should do likewise – was to resist the temptation to lay the windscreen wipers flat. In this way, they thought, the thieves would be confused and would go and find another street of cars to harass.

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