Ciabattas at dawn

October 25, 2014

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Waitrose West Ealing Car Park is a cauldron of middle class fury just waiting to boil over.  And today I snapped. I had driven there to drop off some recycling and jump in and buy flowers and booze  as contributions for the evening ahead. There are plenty of spaces and I park easily in the ‘middle row’ (in case any locals are reading). I navigate the self service checkout but of course I have to wait to have my age validated so am not sure it saves me any time. I ignore the lure of the free coffee despite the machine actually working today. I get back to the car and  a teeny tiny japanese toddler waddles up to me and shout “Hello”. I laugh and say hello back.

I get in my car and start to drive towards the exit.  The car park is  designed in a one way system with huge white arrows on the floor and I am travelling in the right direction. But then the Audi estate in front of me stops and starts to reverse. I look round to see where she thinks she’s going and can’t see a space anywhere, nor anyone about to pull out. She doesn’t pull to one side and wait, but blocks the whole path and gets to my bumper and gesticulates  (from the inside of her car) to me to reverse. People are so bloody aggressive from inside their impenetrable metal box.

I don’t move as I see the Japanese family just behind me. Angsty Audi re-engages reverse so her white lights flash and she continues to try to intimidate me to move my little Fiesta. I get out. And walk to her window, which she lowers about two inches. She wasn’t expecting this. She has difficulty looking at me. Her middleclass self righteousness cowed by someone actually questioning it.  “What are you trying to do?” I ask. “Move back. Get in that space. You need to move out of the way” She says. pointing to a car whose exit she is now blocking.  ” There are plenty of other spaces. I’m not moving whilst there are small children behind me. ” I say. She says, “I don’t suppose there are now,”  and quickly turns away and puts the window up.  This does not make me feel inclined to be reasonable. Her husband or partner is sitting next to her. I continue to talk to the window, saying “It is a one way system.” She turns back to me and signals that she can’t hear me because her window is up. Twat. I bet she was one of those girls in school that wrote nasty anonymous notes to people but would never say anything to their face.

I get back in my car, when the husband from the Audi comes to my passenger window. I wind it down, “Please can you move back a couple of metres so we can go in there?” he asks very politely. I say “Why can you not park somewhere else when there are plenty of spaces?” “Because we have a child, and these are child spaces. ” ” Can you not walk fifty metres?” I ask. “These are for parents with children” he says.

Meanwhile a Nissan micra has rolled up behind me and the driver starts gesticulating to me to move. I do that upturned palms move to indicate I can do nothing.  I, of course, am pleased she is there as now I can’t reverse even if I’d wanted to. She starts beeping. I point to the car in front which is continuing to try to reverse. Why on earth doesn’t she just pull over to the side if she really can’t imagine walking further to the door? At least we could all get past then.

The woman in the Nissan  signals the world has gone mad and I agree. More cars queue up behind. More beeping. Eventually the Audi has to move. Forward. Hooray! The driver of the car in the space she wants tries to get out but she hasn’t moved far enough. There’s more beeping. Then the car next to it is ready to leave and it to has to make its way round the Audi. I follow in its wake as do the queue of cars that has built up whilst this one person couldn’t be arsed to use a space further away or at least just pull over whilst we went past. I am desperately hoping that one of the cars in the queue behind actually nipped in to the space they had spent so much time and effort guarding. But I didn’t hang around to find out.

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