Tramore: My Laptop
I’VE been thinking a lot lately about car parks. What’s really grabbed my attention are the reserved sections for various needs. It’s the mother-and-child restrictions that really grab me. You know those lovely, cuddly mother-with-cutesy-toddler-by-the-hand-reserved-in-red ones that are like magnets to the permanently aggrieved.
These mother-and-child spaces draw the most curious of customers and provide endless fascination to the casual watcher. Anyone who has ever had any connection to a child seems to feel entitled to use them. Now there are people who harbour grudges against those motorists who use them and who seem to believe that their mission in shopping is to defeat the system by parking on them.
Lassie was only a pup when some of these pretend mothers and fathers last had a toddler to contend with. And, of course, there are the Rottweilers with lip-gloss that have toddlers the size of American football-players that hang on in the cars, slouched over mobile phones, to prove to everyone that ‘toddler’ is a loose description of anyone under voting age.
‘There are the ones that feign the innocence of a First Confessioner as if the parking notice – that’s about as easy to read as a Bob-the-Builder book – was a total mystery to them.’
Some grandparents love these spaces as they are always beside the front entrance and are the least occupied. The manner of these parkers is a study in human behaviour. There’s the who-but-me category that park with impunity and promenade to the front door with all the nonchalance of a hurler that could point frees while travelling on the back of a train. There are the challengers that pull faces that would frighten a trawler captain if anyone was brave – or foolish enough – to stare at them. And then there are the ones that feign the innocence of a First Confessioner as if the parking notice – that’s about as easy to read as a Bob-the-Builder book – was a total mystery to them. Without fail, the lot of them return to these parking bays, week-in-week-out, like birds to a feeder.
Car park creepers are always interesting. You know the ones – no space is ever near enough to the front door. Especially, if they have a teenage daughter with a sulk on board. To avoid adolescent moaning, the harassed parent is forced to circle the car park – like Indians sussing out a wagon train – in the hope of spotting someone that is leaving. Whenever I’m asked, “Are you going out?” I to answer with another question. “Tonight?” I reply with the forlorn hope that they might have some interesting liaison in mind that I always have in mind. No wonder I lead such a quiet life. Ah well!
I love the ‘I’ll-only-be-a-minute’ parkers that disappear for the length of a Bible and then return – all apologies – with ‘I got caught in the shop’ or ‘oh, you’ll be ready to kill me’. I had a lady once who parked in my driveway – I live near a school – and told me ‘it’s ok; I’m just collecting my daughter’. I explained that ‘ok’ was not the description I had in mind.
Why does this happen? Because we live in a culture that convinces us that ‘we’re worth it’. If special arrangements have to be made for one section of society, well then, let’s have a bit of that too for ourselves.
Castlebar Fianna Fáil went ballistic recently because they failed to have a Minister at the Cabinet table. Just like us, really. In the last hundred years or more, we’ve had just three full cabinet ministers and have paid the price for our under-representation. They should really raffle the ministerial jobs; at least we’d be no worse off.
They could raffle them in a car park and give them all reserved spots – mother-and-toddlers to the left and ministers with perks to the right.