Rage Against the (Parking) Machine

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You see the green car there? THAT’S where MY car should have been!

* * * * *

What do you do if you see a spaceman?
Park in it, man.

* * * * *

To the man from the Aerial installers company,

When you moved the cone reserving a parking space outside my house today I think you knew you were being SELFISH. Still, it was nearly the end of the day, you had one last quick job on and the street where I live is HELL TO PARK ON. So you moved the cone. What right does anyone have to reserve a parking space anyway?

But I don’t think you expected me to catch you in the act. To retrieve the newly-moved cone. The cone that was bagging a spot outside my own home. The spot into which I was about to get my car to park in it, having had to leave it several streets away after returning home from a day out. Having had to wake my toddler to get him home because it’s HELL TO PARK in our street.

You could hear him crying inside the house. I think you pitied me. Quite rightly so. The space was obviously destined for MY car. Having it by the door rather than a 5-minute walk away certainly makes my life easier. But, you see, as soon as a space becomes available you have to bagsie it with a cone. Because otherwise, by the time you’ve walked to the car, driven around the one-way system (potentially stopping at four sets of traffic lights on the way round) some other bugger will have taken it. With a family to feed and small kids to get to bed, I haven’t got time for such a palaver. There are times I have to do it with both kids in tow too, strapping them into their car seats, adding to the pain-in-the-arse nature of it all.

The trouble is nobody respects a parking cone any more. In your mind the world centres around you and nobody else’s convenience could be as important as yours.

‘I’ll only be 10 minutes you told me.’

Did you feel sorry for me? Or were you just worried that I was going to key your van?

I waited 10 minutes. Then 20 minutes. I delayed a trip to the supermarket over the road.

Do you know what would have been the nice thing to have done? To give me a knock on the door just as you were about to drive off. Just to let me know the space was going to be free. Because, it’s HELL TO PARK down my street.

But you didn’t. You just drove off. Which is why, when I looked out the window 30 minutes after our little conversation a f-king GREEN CAR was parked there instead.

So, thanks for that. If manners maketh the man, then you are merely a jerk.

* * * * *

To the owner of the green car,

I’m sure that when you overheard the conversation between me and the aerial man – about him only being 10 minutes – you knew that to take the space the second he had gone would be a SELFISH thing to do. I don’t know if you live down the street, but I suspect so as you were so ready to pounce. So you’ll have been aware that it’s HELL TO PARK down the street.

But you were also aware that I had my sights on it. That I have a young family – you could hear the crying too – and if you had any sense of empathy you’d have worked out that having the car right by the house would have bigger benefits for me than for you. Not having the opportunity for Noodles try to run off into the road as we walk to the car would be a benefit for a start.

But in your mind the world centres around you and nobody else’s convenience could possibly be as important as yours. So you took it for yourself.

It was a brave move though. One day I could well be overcome with the desire to key a car and that green is very enticing. Heaven knows I’ve learnt that men don’t like women so much as breathing on their cars (like the man who went off on one because my car door touched – not slammed into, not dented, not marked, but touched – his after he’d parked too close to mine in a car park and I couldn’t open the door far enough to get Boo into her car seat). Even though your car is really quite girlie. It’d hardly make it into Top Gear as the ‘reasonably priced car’ let alone onto their Cool Wall. And yet you still seem to treat it like a penis extension. Which is weird, when you’re already obviously a massive dick.

Remind me never to do you a neighbourly favour should you ever need it.

* * * * *

To the commuters who use our street as a free parking lot,

When you park in the street just over the road from the train station – the street where I live – you know that you’re being SELFISH. You know that really, if you were a good citizen, you would park in the railway car park. The car park specially built for you and your convenience. But you don’t.

The station car park is too small, you justify to yourself. Plus (more enticingly) if you park down the street it’s free. You mentally clap your hands with glee when you find a space in the street – it’s HELL TO PARK here after all. What with all the residents being so selfish and having cars that they don’t always use, cluttering up available space. Don’t they know you’ve got a train to catch?

The reason it’s so hellish though is not because of the residents though. Usually there’s just enough space for the cars belonging to those of us who live in the street. Yet, come 5.30pm, just after the train pulls in at 5.25pm and you’ve walked across the road, the street half empties. By 5.32pm it’s full again as we residents race to our cars, praying we haven’t got parking tickets. Doing the ‘please-be-space-please-be-a-space’ chant as we loop the one-way system and get held up by the lights.

It’s why, when I want to visit the shops and supermarkets on the out-of-town retail estates I walk. Because, last time I drove (because it was chucking it down with rain and I desperately needed nappies, preferring a brand that they stick in two adjacent stores on the Hardwick Estate, but not in a single shop in the town centre) it took me eight minutes to drive back home, but another forty minutes to find somewhere to park!

But, of course, none of that matters because in your mind the world centres around you and nobody else’s convenience could possibly be as important as yours.

I long for the day the council finally gets round to initiating a residents’ parking scheme. If it means we all end up paying to park our cars so be it, if it means I can actually leave it in the same street that I live in.

* * * * *

To the Eastern European man from no23,

When you did the post-commuter dash to park your car outside your house you surely knew that taking up two spaces for your single BMW was selfish. You may not have been here long, but I’m sure – by dint if being part of the rush for space – you know that it’s HELL TO PARK in the street.

I understand that you don’t have a great grasp of English uptightness and why you may not be aware that your actions caused a vein to bulge on my forehead. I appreciate that we have to grab the chance to clean out our cars when we can. (Which is my excuse for only doing mine about once a year, when all the parking have aligned – car parked close enough to house, time to kill, weather not going to destroy the job immediately afterwards – and why instead, most if the time I drive around in a car that more closely resembles Oscar the Grouch’s garbage can. I am Oscar the Grouch, obviously.)

I would like to introduce you to the concept of the extension lead. Most homes have one. If you don’t, you’re always welcome to borrow ours. It would mean that you wouldn’t have to double-nab a space so that you could do the upholstery with the vacuum cleaner. Instead you’d be able to shift forward a few inches and let another poor sod get their car into the street.

But, obviously, it didn’t occur to you this evening as instead you maintained your position whilst (for reasons that I don’t think I want to know) you then spent the next half hour climbing into your car boot. Because, onviously, in your mind the world centres around you and nobody else’s need could possibly be as important as yours. You’re lucky I didn’t slam the lid down on you in a fit of pique.

* * * * *

To all of the above, really,

Thanks for nothing. I did get my car parked back in the street again – eventually. Although more considerate actions from any of you would have saved me a lot of time and annoyance.

Yours,

The Gluestick Mum.

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15 thoughts on “Rage Against the (Parking) Machine”

  1. I don’t know, but there’s something about my envisioning you as a mild mannered lady with a proper accent and then reading this language encompassing post that has me in stitches. The only thing better than my reading this blog is if we could somehow ensure that the very people it is addressed to could not only read just this post, but become followers of your awesome blog in general – – so they would indeed, feel ashamed to impinge on such major talent.

    1. Haha, if only! Perhaps I should print it out and stick it on their car windscreens. Although, if I then subsequently DID happen to key their cars/van they might be able to pin it in me.
      No one should disrespect the traffic cone.

    2. You definitely have me pegged, Stephanie. I’ll be all polite on the outside – although Husband will attest, I’m also firm enough about putting my case forward – but on the INSIDE I’ll be raging. Taz meets the Incredible Hulk, having drunk Dr Jekyll’s potion.

  2. Oooooohhhhh… this burns me up! How very inconsiderate!!! My hubby works in London and has to commute in – we pay a local resident monthly for the use of his space permt working hours (he has no car).. It is a system that works well for us and it is an assigned space. I agree completely with the permit parking schemes in heavily built up areas and can’t believe the council has not done it yet! Out here in the “burbs” (i.e. Gerrard’s Cross, Beaconsfield, High Wycombe) there is single yellow hour parking restriction on all roads proximal to the stations. My daughter has 2 young boys… the girl deserved a weightlifting medal for the herculaean logistics involved in transporting them around. They’re 5 and 7 now, but there arer STILL car seats and plenty of bags and gear. Sorry your neighbors are such rotters…. people should THINK!!!

    1. Whilst I was typing I felt a bit NIMBY – or rather NIMPS (not in my parking space). But most of the time I can let it go. It was just that the space was there. Surely these people did bagsies at school?!
      I would happily pay for residential parking. I think a letter to the council might be in order, although when my mum was in a wheelchair and wrote it didn’t even get her a guaranteed space. Our council is slack beyond belief.

      1. Our need for street parking out here is minimal at best – have you SEEN the size of a Beaconsfieldian driveway? Please! Yet our council has enforced restrictions to prevent people parking on residential streets instead of the train station car park. I would write a letter… and include a link to your post! 🙂 Many a truth is told in jest (well, I know you weren’t joking – but you have such an amusing way of telling such an un-amusing tale, surely it would make an impression!) Keep us posted…

      2. I assume the council have ATTEMPTED to solve the parking issue. Those crappy signs as you come into the town centre that are only just outside of the border between helpful and completely useless?

        But as you have pointed out, the council is slack, and I don’t expect they would do anything beyond those crappy signs.

      3. The council want to direct the masses to the car parks because then they have to pay. But the masses prefer to cheat the system, so we get stitched up.

  3. When the flats were being built on the corner all I thought was “but where are they going to park?!” and thought using it as an residential car park (where only registered licensed plates can park without a whopping fine) or an extension of the train station one would better fit. Sure it would have been ugly, but at least everyone would have a space.

    If parking hell continues I suggest you do a stealth job in the night. Take a can of white paint, a ruler, and a paintbrush and paint squares on the street with a number on it. That way people will think “oh that space belongs to that house, i’ll get a fine if it’s not my registered number plate” and not park there. Wizardry may involved in moving the cars – but i’m sure a band of car-jackers would do that for you- just make sure when they’re doing the job your car isn’t parked in the street 😀

    1. I think that’s a great idea, Indy! What are you and Ed doing later tonight? 😉
      Personally I think there should be a parking competition. Obviously I would win and would become Queen of Parking, therefore entitled to a space outside the house and to do merry hell to any car that fails to reach parking standards.

      1. hahahahaha,and being Queen of Parking you get a swish new car with a chauffer and flags on the front that allow to park anywhere you want even if it is inconvenient to ignorant-up-themselves!

  4. ‘Cars are very useful machines when looking for a place to park them.’ I agree with Stephanie, they should all read this and follow your blog. If they ever come back I think you have the right to key them.

  5. Pingback: Gluestick Mum

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