I got to the school car park late one day last week. So, being one of the last in meant I drove past all the cars parked neatly in rows and went to the back of the yard, where I just about fitted in, at an angle. I could have to-ed and fro-ed a few times and got a bit straighter but I didn’t think it would make a difference. I said this to the woman who came in behind me, who was at a worse angle, but she said don’t worry, makes no difference to me either. Then, just as I was hopping out, toddler on hip, I saw two men, one granddad, one younger approaching. Like a fool I made eye contact.
The younger guy pointed at my car and said “That one is blocking the whole place.” (Bear in mind, every car around me, in front and behind was parked. No one was even trying to move.) But at the same time, that is a recurrent nightmare of mine, you know, like pulling into an underground car park and getting stuck turning on a ramp, and causing traffic to back up for miles. I was horrified that his finger was pointing at me.
“That’s my car” I said. “Where do you want me to move to?”
The old guy didn’t answer, just stood there with his arms folded, officious, beardy face on him, just asking to be slapped. The younger one said, “Pull in there.”
I looked at the six foot gap he gestured to and said “And what difference will that make?”
Rip van winkle put his oar in then, adding “There’s about ten cars stuck back there”. He was enjoying this.
“And how will me moving a few feet make room for ten cars?” I answered, in a voice that could not be described as calm.
At the same time, though, I was strapping my little boy back into the car so I could move it, both to prove the point they were wrong and also because I seem to be programmed to do what I’m told behind the wheel when a man tells me, bag darn it.
Then George came. George works in the school. I suppose he’s the Janitor. There is probably a less American word, but I can’t think of it at the moment. Before he could say anything I said “I’ll move the car now.” (See what I mean? It’s programming from birth.)
“Don’t be daft” said George “You don’t have to move. Leave the car, collect your kids. Don’t mind these guys; moving your car won’t make any difference at all.”
The sweet taste of justice. I skipped in to collect the boys.