There’s a car parked outside my house, almost blocking the spot where I leave my old jalopy during the day. It has been there for two weeks. And apparently – I have checked the statutes – I am not allowed to reduce it to a pile of twisted metal and blistered paint. Where, I ask you, is the justice?
I can get my car into the space between the invader and my driveway, thus allowing access and egress to Mrs J, but I have to get within about 10 cm of the accursed vehicle to do so. I can, once parked, open the boot / trunk to get stuff out of it, but it is awkward. And no I don’t own the road or the stretch of kerb on and beside which it is parked.
But that’s not the point. It’s parked, very nearly, outside my house, about 30cm further forwards than it should could be so as to make my life easier, and its owner has gone on holiday. I can see its nose every time I look out of the kitchen window, poking out past the hedge that clearly marks where my private airspace would naturally begin in a world that works how I want it to. And for every one of the fourteen days it has so far occupied spacetime that rightfully belongs to me, the feeling of injustice has been growing beyond irritation to something approaching red mist rage.
I have contemplated the blistering comments that I could make to the driver when I intercept his return and confront him. A coruscating attack on his parentage, his common decency, his total lack of consideration for anyone but himself. And I can imagine his chagrin as he presses into my hands the bottle of duty free Smirnov he has brought home for his aging mother, as recompense for the thoughtlessness that he admits will now haunt him for every waking moment of his remaining days on this earth. Revenge shall be mine for this affront to the natural order of things.
But the other me, the quiet, reflective, shall we say sensible me, is standing at my shoulder and, wearing a knowing smile, is gently shaking its head.
For a start, I won’t see the driver as he returns because I am not going to stand in my kitchen 24/7 waiting in ambush.
Secondly, it won’t be a man anyway. The car is too clean, empty, and, to judge from the air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror, feminine to belong to a man. So any verbal attack, let alone a personalised one, would die on my lips.
And thirdly, but not least of the three by quite a long chalk, it is a car parked, perfectly legally, in a spot that the no-doubt very pleasant lady who owns it thought would provide sufficient room for me to leave my car where I want to while she occasionally overdid the sangria on a Spanish beach to de-stress from her job as a nurse on a children’s ward. She almost certainly would not deserve to come back to a complete stranger waving his arms around like a demented megalithic tribesman facing down some illusory daemon while pointing, as if with a flint-tipped spear, to an innocent automobile which is not quite exactly where he would like it to be.
Does anyone remember the song that you, the average reader, might have heard on the radio when you were a kid called “I’m a Gnu”? It was written by Michael Flanders, who was confined to a wheelchair thanks to childhood polio, and whose disabled access was blocked by a car with the registration number 346 GNU. He didn’t rant like a loon, but instead wrote a song.
I – sound of body, if not entirely of mind – couldn’t think of a decent lyric incorporating KX06TDW, but bearing in mind Flanders’s response despite more serious provocation, I have put down the can of petrol and the sledgehammer, and written this post instead.