Thursday, May 18, 2006

Room 101 ( Part 1)

I am in a crotchety mood because

a) apart from the Jim Tavare gig on Monday night ( which was the last comedy night until September) the week has been a constant stream of work and meetings, all unnecessarily burdensome, completely dull and pointlessly protracted

b) I have finally got my new coffee machine working and am completely wired on caffeine so haven't slept much for the last few days

c) I'm hormonal. I'm a woman. It's my job. What the f*** do you want to make of it?

It didn't help that I got stuck behind a car-load of shoppers in the multi-storey this morning. Shoppers should be banned from car parks during the week, or at least limited to the hours of 11 and 4 when I am unlikely to be wanting access or egress from my parking spot. If and when the deliciously grumpy Paul Merton invites me to take tea with him on a stage set somewhere in North West London, I shall have shoppers at the very top of my list of entrants to Room 101.

I appreciate that multi-storey car-park etiquette is not currently included in the driving test. It should be. I suspect it is the biggest cause of road rage amongst otherwise mild office workers in the country. I frequently trail behind a Nissan Micra trying unsuccessfully to squeeze into every possible parking space from Level 3 ( the first level not to comprise almost completely of dedicated parking spaces) upwards. They make at least 15 manoeuvres before realising that they will be unable to exit the vehicle even in the unlikely event that they manage to wedge it into the space available. I usually manage to quell the increasing impulse to drum my fingers on the steering wheel, scream like a fish-wife, or drag them from the driver's seat and park the tinny, tiny thing myself. Anger and impatience are not productive emotions with which to commence the day and a few more seconds won't make a huge difference in the big scheme of things. I have even been known to smile benignly at the most pathetic of parrallel parkers.

This morning I found myself stuck in the familiar trap as a car, full of young people being driven by what appeared to be their grandad, inched tortuously up the ramps, braking randomly and vainly searching for vacant spots, particularly near the lifts. I've parked in the same place for 10 years. I know that if they just drive straight up to the top floor, there will be plenty of spaces, cracking views over the river and the perfect excuse to take the lift on the way home later. I fought back the urge to lean out of my window and tell them this. Eventually they found a spot that even Reginald Molesworthy could have negotiated and I relaxed back in my seat, relieved that my minor misery was about to be brought to an end.

Instead of pulling swiftly into the space, allowing myself and the half dozen other drivers backing up behind me to pass, the car just idled as one by one, the scruffy scrotes climbed slowly out, all falling down jeans and cropped tops. It was a 3-door. I breathed a sigh of relief as the last one climbed out and then watched in disbelief as she leaned back into the car and started to drink from a large bottle of water, oblivious to the rising hatred amassing behind her. I bit my lip, and timed them. 6 minutes. 6 frigging minutes, I'd been following them and now she was showing no signs of hurrying out of the way.

I flipped. I honked. I wound my window down and I delivered a vile and pleasingly articulate torrent of abuse that left them in no doubt as to my displeasure. It did the trick. They moved out of my path as a small flurry of applause could be heard from the queue behind me.

It was only as I was expertly reversing into my usual spot on the roof ( one handed, I hadn't braked up the last couple of ramps either) that it occurred to me that those people might have been my first clients of the day. I took the stairs two-at-a-time and shut myself in my room until 3 o'clock just in case.


Anonymous Richard said...

Look, I realise that you're hormonal and Jesus I've only still got most of my head through sheer luck and a good ducking reflex, but what on earth are you complaining about? You're a woman ergo you're incapable of parking.

I'll get me coat...

8:50 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

I hadn't appreciated that you were a Micra driver, Richard. I should have seen the signs. Please accept a benign smile for your comment.

11:14 pm  
Blogger tom909 said...

It's when you meet one of them in a narrow Devon lane and they start to reverse and turn the bloody steering wheel the opposite way to what they should, and the car lurches the opposite way to what they think it's going to, and you quickly realise that this is not going to be a few seconds of light entertainment, it's going to be a long drawn out tragic affair that involves very little laughter...Or you get the ones that are so bloody old they can't bend their necks round to see where they're going and it's quicker to reverse a mile yourself than wait for them to reverse ten yards.
Yes, love is all you need!

11:22 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Tom - do you have access to one of those tractors with incredulous tyre girth? I'd be tempted to just sit there and rev, every few minutes, menacingly smiling at them - I'm a kind-hearted girl, wrapped in a shield of steel.

11:41 pm  
Blogger krusty the baker said...

Ha Ha, when I win the lottery/become President, I'm going to live in a house with a moat, and I will commute in a tank. A Battle Tank. Then I will have the means to eliminate the immense amount of dickheads who do not understand how to behave towards other traffic - indicators, mirrors, right of way, expedite the manoeuvre, those sort of things - and they will be roadkill. It will save the paperwork of disqualifying or prosecuting.

Tom, get her a tractor!

12:27 am  
Blogger Melora said...

Funny! You would probably also enjoy driving in Florida, where a large percentage of the drivers are half-blind, shrunken so short that they can't see over the steering wheel anyway, and are allowed to Mail In their driver's license renewals.

1:21 am  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Krusty - I'm getting mental images of Uriah Heap meets Paddy Ashdown, a not altogether unattractive image.

Can I have a big modern shiny tractor, please, Tom? I had my fill of vintage tractors at the Dorset Steam Fair.

8:26 am  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Melora - I love driving anywhere as a rule. I've always fancied re-enacting one of those road movies, driving across America pretending to be Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise.

I've never been to Florida ( or anywhere outside near Europe) but imagine it is full of the living embalmed in hot pants - ( gratuitous mention of women's clothing just for Krusty's benefit)

8:30 am  
Blogger tom909 said...

Cherry, I will be ordering your tractor later today. It will be a big one. What colour would you like and do you want any implements to go with it?

9:17 am  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Ooh! I quite like big shiny red Massey Fergusons, and the yellow and green John Deeres are alright too - not so keen on the blue David Browns though.

A crop sprayer might be useful, to disperse perfume in my wake, and a baler to restrain any potential boyfriends. Don't bother with a plough. I won't be going near any muddy fields in my high heels.

Will it have air con and a cd player?

10:33 am  
Blogger Carlotti said...

I found myself smiling through your blog - what is it that makes people do the craziest things just to make their walk the shortest possible distance? I always park at the far end of the parking lot - lots of space and no danger of hitting a shopper or their carts (trolleys to you) as you exit with your groceries.

Funny how nobody has realized that the elevator goes to the top of the parkade too!

12:31 pm  
Blogger cream said...

How about a muck-spreader like the one that guy used against his bank in Newcastle, eh?
Could come in handy if other drivers get on your nerves!

2:19 pm  
Blogger Carmenzta said...

Before I comment on road/parking rudeness, I'd like to say that at 52 I'm rapidly becoming hormone-less and THAT is also a problem and making me crotchety as well.

People nowadays have the following philosophy of life in whatever situation: I'm the only important person on this planet and everyone else can kiss my ass." And of course that carries over to driving, parking, standing in line at (insert place here), getting into elevators, talking into cell phones loudly where no one wants to hear their crap...etc.

2:53 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Carlotti - you should see some of the things my secretary's do just to avoid having to get out of their typing chairs!

Cream - I like your thinking but I'd hope I'm a little more subtle and infinitely more devious when it comes to extracting revenge on those who incur my wrath.

Carmentza - I'm not going to argue with you on that - in fact no-one in their right mind should argue with you over anything if they know what's good for them x

4:29 pm  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

My dear Lord Spencer is about to begin driving this summer and unfortunately the surname on his registration will probably alert some bureaucrat to enforce the Road Rage Enforcemant Act of Whateverpeg and designate the same idiots drivers that torment me to shadow him too.

I finally figured out that the government has a spy network set up to alert the worst flippin drivers in the universe to swarm me the instant that I leave my driveway.

Oh to have a James Bond Jag with rocket launchers...KABOOM!

4:41 pm  
Blogger krusty the baker said...

Sorry to disappoint; when I graduated, all those moons ago, I looked like Marc Bolan at his prettiest, all ringlets and curls and lush dark hair, and it was all natural. Now, I look like Tony Soprano. But no Carmela to bake me a lasagne.

The very definition of atrophy.

8:16 pm  
Anonymous Richard said...

Me? Micra driver? Rover 600 and as it's only me that drives it, I'm nice and considerate and take it well away. Either way, the other half will attest that I am the dog's plums when it comes to parallel parking. We also have a Renault Grand Scenic which is a pile of dung and impossible to park because it has the manoeuvrability of a li-lo in a force 9 gale, although I can parallel park it OK. Luckily, it's on a blue badge so we can park it in the wide spaces or on double yellows and blind bends and be smug.

8:19 pm  
Blogger breakerslion said...

Florida, hell. Those of you who live in Europe know the pain of two-lane roads. Here in New England, the roads are as narrow as possible to avoid extra snow plowing. Imagine if you will, the sheer misery of finding yourself behind a living fossil (50% of the population here; refrigeration works!) for a stretch of road seven miles long, and twisting like a snake so that there are no passing zones. I'll take my chances in a parking garage any day.

Cogratulations though, on speaking your mind.

3:57 am  
Blogger CeCe said...

Ha ha! That was totally awesome!

8:20 am  
Blogger Pete said...

reminds me of when I worked checkouts for Sainsbury's

This child was screaming its head off and it had been a BAD day. I made some comment to the customer I was serving who was very sympathetic. unfortunately guess whose parents I served next......

9:22 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Donn - now you're talking - James Bond's DB7 would do me just fine.

Krusty - I'll do the cooking, you bring the T Rex records

Richard - I believe you. There'll be no need to arm-wrestle to see who is the Parallel Parking Champion, unless, of course, you insist.

3:12 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Breakerslion - hi - thank you for your input. I'll be over to find out more about your living fossils later tonight after work

CeCe x

Pete- Tesco and Sainsburys - how many other strings to your over-strung bow? x

3:14 pm  

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