Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Car Park Karma

(I know, I know. Three posts in two days. *eyeroll* I'm a little preoccupied with something and need distraction.)

I am coming to realise I have an unusually rigid moral code when it comes to finding a parking space on a busy parking day. As a matter of principle, I do not:-

a) Park in an easy access bay. I do not have a disability.

b) Park in a parent and toddler bay. I'm not a parent with a toddler.

c) See a shopper wandering towards their car and stop dead in the middle of the lane while they find their keys, unload their shopping (an action, I hasten to point out, they are under no obligation to perform rapidly - they've PAID for their parking space and should be able to use it as they see fit), return the trolley, find their keys again, and drive off... thereby blocking the flow of traffic for five minutes or more.

d) Swiftly bag a parking bay which another driver had obviously earmarked for themselves.

e) Jump the queue in front of the little old lady with the Micra, just because she's not quick off the mark.

It was born in on me, in the run up to Christmas, that I am the only driver left in the world with this rigid car park code. The only one. I swear it. I drove round and round the Sainsburys car park on Saturday (you see my error yet? Sainsburys? Saturday before Christmas? Mistake) while other shoppers did all of the above, and worse. Dozens of cars entered the car park after me, and by dint of shark-like parking tactics, were happily buying their parking tickets (65p for an hour) while I was still going round and round and round and round...

I sat in my car, trying to ungrit my teeth, stubbornly refusing to park in the easy access bay or follow shoppers emerging from the store, like a motorised stalker. I continued to smile, give way, be polite and tried, tried not to whine inside my head. But there was a small voice deep, deep inside saying, "I'm being good, dammit. I refuse to believe patience and good manners just reap crap...."

Then, suddenly, an SUV indicated it wanted to leave its space, tucked away in a rarely-used corner. I let it out, and parked with flair. As I got out and headed for the pay machine, a local couple hailed me. "You don't need to pay today, it's free! There's just a little notice stuck on the machine, most people don't see it...."

I thanked them with a grin, shamefully remembering all those aggressive parkers and their 65ps.

Car Park Code One, Shark Drivers Nil.

Karma's a bitch, man.


At 4:11 pm, Anonymous Kate H said...

Good on you, Anna.

I remember having trouble parking, the week before Christmas, with a hyperactive 3-y-o and a tiny baby, and this guy in a silver Merc convertible had parked in the parent and baby bit so his wife could unload their shopping. I said to him (with baby in arms) 'Are you aware that that's a parent and baby space?' and he swore at me (and called me a lowlife). I think he was the sort who confused money with education/intelligence...

(PS - it's lovely to have 3 posts in 2 days!)

At 7:34 pm, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I'd have asked the wife if all his money was really worth living with such an asshole. :-)

But then, I'm in a chronically bad mood when I have to go shopping in stuffed malls and supermarkets. And I don't even have a car. But cycling in a rainstorm or riding in a bus that reminds of the Tokyo subway isn't any fun, either.

At 9:11 pm, Anonymous mary beth said...

YAY Anna! And yay for free parking.

At 1:22 pm, Blogger Sela Carsen said...

I had to reform my own mother from not taking the handicapped spot when she was driving without my step-dad in the car! Good on ya, Anna.

At 6:50 am, Anonymous Sadhbh said...

When I see (usually) well-dressed people in expensive cars parking in the "disability" places because they're too self-important and lazy to go further away, I wait until they're out of the car and remark loudly
"Ah indeed all disabilities are not visible, we must make allowances for mentally ill people too disabled to send off for their sticker!" - I live in France where most disabled people get a sticker to be able to park in disability zones everywhere.
They usually don't like it, but that's their problem, not mine.
There's a great ad for a French insurance company where this good-looking man pulls into a disabled space gets out and smiles at a good-looking woman who just sneers at him. The voiceover goes - "We don't have the same value system"
I'm with you Anna - I park much farther away than I really need to - with my two toddlers - because it takes less time to walk the extra distance than to go around and around waiting for that elusive close space.
Kate H - I think I would have been tempted to say "you want the space - here - have the toddlers!" - or to commandeer his help with the shopping and the toddlers, he might not be so quick to steal the space or to swear at the legitimate occupant some other time!


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