I wonder how many sociological studies there have been written taking as their subject matter how people park in car parks? There must be many. The subject is inexhaustibly interesting.
Just take, as a simple example the differences between the ways that people park in supermarket car parks and how they park on the streets. I have often felt that if you want to see the human species at its most selfish worst, all you have to do is take yourself down to your local Tesco’s and watch.
God knows I hate walking, but I do not share the seemingly pathological hatred that supermarket drivers seem to have towards the activity.
I have been in supermarket car parks where there have been plenty of spaces, spaces clearly visible when entering the car park. No more than a short walk, no a simple hop, skip and jump from the front door of the supermarket. But do (some) drivers see these spaces? No, they obviously do not because they feel the need to park in disabled spaces, on hatched yellow lines, on double yellow lines – anywhere as long as it gets them a few feet nearer the door and bugger anyone else.
I write this now because I have noticed that, in the Great Works that are still going on to transform a leafy, gravel covered patch of ground in my local leisure centre into a smooth, unobstructed area for many more cars – there are two disabled spaces.
Now I happen to be one of those who believes deeply in the sentiment expressed in a French supermarket that had a sign by the disabled space saying (in French) “Share my space, share my disability.” When I first heard of this, I must admit, that pictures of sledgehammer wielding gentlemen seeking out the able bodied who had parked in the disabled spaces and smashing their knees to smithereens, did pass through my mind. A pleasurable thought, to be sure. Unfortunately the words were there merely to reinforce a moral message and there was no more directed violence intended.
In supermarket parking areas I always, or at least usually, check the vehicles in the disabled parking spaces to check that they are displaying the symbol. If they are not (at least in Britain) I go to the information desk and tell the people there that someone is parked illegally in a space and will they please do something about it.
Usually they do nothing. They respond to my suggestion that they go out and slash the people’s tyres with a weary smile and inform me that they are constrained by the fact that this is on private property and other rubbish like that I do not for a moment believe.
I have also suggested that they put notices on the windscreen of these cars (my suggestion was with superglue) informing the drivers that they are parked illegally – or at least tuck something under the wipers appealing to the driver’s sense of what is right. One assistant said that they had done that and she had had one of the notices thrown back in her face by an unrepentant (fit) driver!
One only have to have one friend or relative who is disabled to realize that the petty acts of selfishness of hearty drivers who can’t be bothered to walk a few extra feet have real consequences for those who find every foot an effort.
So, my question to myself is, “What are my fellow members of the leisure centre going to be like when the only space left in the car park is a disabled one?” And my second question is, “What am I going to do about it?”
I have already started looking up the words to express my disgust to my friends behind the counter. Our leisure centre is private and relatively expensive, so there are no poor people using the place. You only have to look at the cars to realize that! They are rich and used to getting their own way. So, I will be watching when the car park becomes operational. And by that time I will have reinforced my Spanish vocabulary to express the pained, astonished, outrage that I have honed to a fine performance from my time in Britain. I wonder if it transfers to Spain, and I further wonder if my words will be necessary.
Time will tell.
Simple is sometimes all you want
Lunch today was in a restaurant we know that doesn’t hike its prices at the weekend. The food is basic and unfussy and excellent value for money.
My first course was that butterfly-like pasta with chopped tomatoes and onions laced with olive oil. Simple, and more importantly, delicious.
I do enjoy pretentious food, served elegantly with ironic touches with unexpected flavours tantalizing the taste buds – but there are other times when what you see is what you get is exactly what you want.
And the second course was Spanish ham, egg and chips. Comfort food at its best. And with a carafe of wine too. At a decent price. And the sun was shining. Who can ask for more?
Today saw the thousandth person visit my poetry blog at http://smrnewpoems.blogspot.com.es and that must be some sort of milestone! Given the minority status of poetry in the literary world nowadays, certainly in popular culture (apart from pop songs, of course) to have a thousand pairs of eyes look at what you have written is, well, the exact word is hard to find, but it must be a combination of exhilarating, intimidating, encouraging, stimulating, daunting and lots of other –ing words that are not going to fill up the rest of this blog!
It is an audience. A quiet audience, I have to admit. The number of comments is still low. Sandy has written one comment and others have emailed me, but the number is still low. Who knows who they all are? I know that some people have visited more than once – and in case the more cynical of you are wondering there is a way that you can discount your own visits! But there might be people that I do not know who have stumbled by chance on the poems and read them. At least I hope that there are strangers as well as friends, as it would be sad if the power of the Internet did not trawl around and find some unexpected visitors to liven things up!
Anyway I am delighted to think that I am now in four figures and I am working on a car park poem (see above) to add to the Clocks of Dust sequence that is on the blog in its entirety.
Having said that I now feel duty bound to produce it. Added to which Toni has just responded to the noise of clacking keys by asking if I was writing poems! I should go with the flow and start writing!
And why does today feel like Sunday?