Sunday, 16 January 2011

City Snapshots: the voiturier

Upstairs, diners are comfortably installed at the tables of the fashionable restaurant. Beneath them, the voiturier sits at his makeshift desk. His coat is hung up alongside him on a water pipe, and a tiny portable television flickers in front of him, helping to pass the long evenings.

In reality, he has very little work to do. The car park is a small one, and when a client does bring him a car to move he only needs to drive it a few metres. In many ways it is absurd, but it brings in an income and adds to the prestige of the establishment.

Sitting at his desk, cooled by a fan on hot days, or warmed by a heater on cold ones, he surveys the scene in front of him. He rarely gets to drive a really expensive car here - it's not that kind of place - but they are all clean, new, and comfortable. They smell of prosperity and shine with affluence. Sometimes he drives the cars of those he has seen on his small television screen, but he doesn't always remember their names.

At the end of their meal, the clients come down to pick up their cars. The voiturier can see immediately who has had too much wine and shouldn't be getting behind the wheel, or who has just had a discreet dinner with a lover, but he never asks questions. He just rushes to their vehicle - never more than 20 metres from where they are standing - and rolls it over to them. They hand over the fee, often with a handsome tip, and murmur their thanks. Sometimes they smile in his direction, but rarely do they ever look him in the eye.


Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Excellent story and perspective, Adam... well written and finished with a lingering thought

Kiki said...

I agree....
We often don't know much or anything about what 'the rest of the world' does. Well expressed - this is my first blog of you I am reading, and it's promising!

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