My brother and I used to live only a few blocks away from each other, and we both walked the same route to work every morning.
Upon our morning travels we would run into a curious fellow who we named The Cars Man. We called him this because he had a complete outfit – trousers, jacket, suitcase – upon which had been written “CARS CARS CARS CARS”. Sometimes there were what looked like equations “CARS + CARS = CARS”.
The Cars Man would yell out various things to us and other pedestrians he encountered in his morning walk along Mt Eden Road.
My brother and I would email each other with tales of The Cars Man. But now my brother’s moved to Australia and I’m (theoretically) working from home, so The Cars Man hasn’t been seen lately. But here are the highlights from 2000.
RHG = Me, RBG = My brother.
15 June – RHG
I was waiting at the lights outside the funeral director at the top of Mount Eden Road. Suddenly I heard a voice from across the street.
“Wait till the light goes green! Wait till the light goes green!”
I looked up and there was the Cars Man on the other side of the road. The pedestrian signal changed to a green man and the Cars Man said, “now you can go!” So the other pedestrians and I set off across the road.
One guy said to the Cars Man, “yeah, thanks for that mate.” I also thanked him for his road safety guidance.
I do sincerely believe that the Cars Man makes our streets safer.
16 June – RBG
This morning I spotted the cars man, or more correctly the car man spotted me. He said some thing that was totally unintelligible. Usually you can make out one word at least, but this time it was just a mumble of words.
He had a helmet on with a light on top of it and the light was switched on. Maybe he was planning mining or caving. Or maybe he is just making sure that the cars can see him. Alternatively he could be turning into a car.
19 June – RHG
I passed the Cars Man at the end of Kelly Street on the way to work. He didn’t say anything to me, but he yelled something unintelligible at a cyclist. It was probably either “Good on you for riding a bike instead of driving a car!” or “You almost ran into me, you bastard!”
26 June – RHG
I saw the Cars Man go into the motorbike shop.
17 July – RHG
I saw the Cars Man walking down Mount Eden road, again by the bus stop close to the railway stop. He was wearing a thick woollen jumper (obviously the Cars Suit is not warm enough for cold winter mornings). He was also carrying a plank of wood which looked fairly new. Whether this was a gift, a purchase or a found object, we may never know.
17 July – RBG
I also saw him as well this morning, he was down by the Feltex Carpets building on Symonds Street. He was wearing the jumper, but I don’t recall him having a plank of wood. However he did greet me by saying “Hello Loverboy”, I would have preferred it if he had said something unintelligible.
18 July – RBG
I first saw the cars man on Symonds Street he appeared to be exiting a cafe. He was wearing a beanie and a woollen jumper.
I kept my distance. Unfortunately the pedestrian lights at the intersection of Symonds St and Newton Road had just gone as the cars man reached them. He started a conversation with a guy who was standing at the lights. The pedestrian lights went for the other direction. But the cars man started walking out into the traffic, although he quickly backed up and made a remark about cars. All this time he hadn’t seen me.
The pedestrian lights went for proper this time. He was striding out ahead, I thought I had lost him. However he stopped to have a ‘conversation’ with some people in the Chinese bakery. He then spotted me and asked if I was going packing, or maybe he was asking if I was packing a glock. And he said something about my suit.
Up ahead there was a couple holding hands. The cars man asked them if they were holding hands, they did not acknowledge him. He then turned off by the Feltex Carpets building.
3 August – RHG
Walking to work this morning I saw the Cars Man walking along Symonds Street, just past Bungalow Bills. There was an Oriental fellow walking along side him and the Cars Man was yelling something quite unintelligible at him. The Oriental fellow was staring straight ahead, purposely ignoring the Cars Man, trying to escape his clutches.
7 August – RBG
Today I was walking along Mt Eden Road it was quite foggy and just I passed the new bus shelter by the railway station. Through the fog I heard the cars man although I could not see him. I though it might not be the cars man, but sure enough it was him. He was like a fog horn, so when it is foggy everyone knows that he is coming.
17 August – RHG
The Cars Man was sitting outside the Feltex building rolling a smoke. As I walked past he said “Give us a kiss, love. Give us a kiss.” Instead I merely said hello.
21 August – RHG
This morning I had a conversation with the Cars Man! It was on Mount Eden Road, just along from the top of your street. It went like this:
Cars Man: “Hello love!”
Me: “Good morning.”
Cars Man: “Will you marry me?”
Me: “Ummm… not today.”
Cars Man: “What about tomorrow?”
Me: “Ask me then and see what I say.”
Cars Man: “Ok!”
I’m thinking of walking down the other side of the road tomorrow morning in case he asks me again.
28 August – RBG
I saw the cars man near the top of Mt Eden Road, as he neared me he said “Whooie, did you have sausages with your eggs?”
I’m not sure if that was some sort of sexual reference, or that he was saying that I had spilled something on my shirt, or something else.
26 September – RHG
After a long absence (in fact, I think the last time I saw the Cars Man was the time he asked me to marry him), today I saw the Cars Man. He was walking down Mount Eden Road, just a few houses before Kelly Street. He was carrying his Cars lunch box and the plank of wood. He saw me and said what may have been “How are you” but it sounded more like “hooooo rooooo yooooo!” I said hello and continued up the road. I could hear him saying “hoooo rooooo yooooo” as he continued along to his corporate headquarters.
26 October – RBG
The cars man was sitting in the bus stop by the Powerstation. I am 50% sure that he said to me, “sit on my knee lovely”.
26 October – RHG
I saw him this morning too! He was walking down Mount Eden Road, just down from the bridge that goes over the railway tracks. There was a girl walking a few steps ahead of me and he said “Hello, honey. How are you?” to her, then me.
31 October – RHG
This morning I was walking along Mount Eden Road, about outside the Quaker church when I spotted the Cars Man. The follow conversation took place:
Cars Man: Good morning lovely!
Cars Man: How are you today?
Me: Fine, thanks.
Cars Man: Oooh! I’m going to marry you!
So, good on you, Mr Cars Man, for making the walk to work in the morning a bit more interesting!