SOLO SUPERMARKET TRIP - Part 1: The Car Park
I cover thirty-thousand hardcore miles every year; I’m embattled upon the bypass… I joust in the box-junction, I’m an M-Twenty-fiver survivor – I am the company car driver.
Yet I have just tentatively motored into unfamiliar, hostile territory – here all driving skill and experience is rendered worthless. This is where no-rules nonsense overwhelms order and common-sense; logic and reason are banned and courtesy is a crime. This is another world and I’m the alien, I feel unwelcome and uneasy. … This is the supermarket car park!
I journey deeper into the melee, my mouth is crab-apple dry and I’m feeling edgy as I expect the unexpected… blood drains from my knuckles as I grip the steering wheel as tightly as young Scot with a Saturday sixpence.
First of the ‘inevitables’ to greet me is ‘Young-Mumsy’, who with her hand-brake applied just enough to create a comedy bouncing motion, repeatedly reverses back and forth into the same the parking bay – I wait patiently as each abortive attempt is slightly worse than the original effort, until finally she positions her car, so perfectly skewed that it diagonally obstructs access to both the vehicles on either side of her own. She no longer has the confidence to move forwards or backwards, so she takes time-out for a quick cry. The emotional breakdown renders her vehicle motionless, allowing me to continue past. I do feel pity for the sobbing, bobbing head in the exasperated car – but what can I do? This is a cruel jungle and she needs Temazapam not Tarzan.
Five spaces further on an I encounter a ‘Clutch-Bite-Midget’. Hovering only halfway into a parking space with the back of his car obscured within an acrid cloud of blue smoke, the four-foot tall pensioner cranes his neck to see over the top of the dashboard. His solitary semi-functioning misty eye peers out from somewhere beneath the inch thick yellowed lenses that magnify his optical range to about nine feet. Presumably he is waiting for some manner of octogenarian accomplice who never seems to arrive – In the mean-time his engine is revved heartily and yet his clutch pedal is never fully lifted nor fully depressed. I am wincing with a Russian-Roulette player’s trepidation as I pass him – one day soon his withered little stick of a leg is going to snap and the old Toyota will shoot off… propelling him and his victim-of-the-day into oblivion.
Onwards and up next is ‘The menopause robbed of my (already limited) ability to drive – and affected my (already flawed) ability to judge speed and distance – lady’. After the traumatic surprise of starting her car whilst in gear, she edged tentatively out of a parking bay. Moving erratically forwards, she wants to turn right, but in order to do so she must complete the Scammel Tank-Transporter technique of swinging out to the left, before heaving her five foot long super-mini laboriously around the right-hand bend. I am In awe of the curious, furious push-pulling hand to steering-wheel action that she is practicing and I pull over to the left as she approaches – we both know that she needs an opening of over three times her vehicle’s own width, before she can feel confident enough to attempt broaching it. Her face is a fixated mask of concentration as, with only a whisker over five foot of space on either side of her car to play with, she skilfully manoeuvres through the gap between us... The challenging obstacle traversed, she purses her lips into a ‘phew!’ of relief before revving off with the grace and pace of a rutting Kangaroo. Her car emanates a really nasty sound as she passes and I notice the vivid orange traffic cone trapped beneath it. Evidently the remnant of a recent ‘episode’ – it is ground along the tarmac causing a manic howl… An unholy sound and one to which she alone, is oblivious. My instinct is to wave her down and bring the existence of the obstructive debris to her attention. I reconsider, deciding to let her be… I consider this to be a shrewd decision, after all, the ensnared cone provides a loud audible warning of her approach and this may prove the pre-emptive alarm that saves some otherwise doomed pedestrian or cyclist during her next potential calamity.
Still cruising for a parking space, I try my luck near the store-front and pass the sneering young ‘Chav’. The sum of the auto-accessories is clearly worth at least twice that of the shoe-box sized Citroen that they adorn. The track-suited twerp cannot even put his hat on the right way round and has parked diagonally across two disabled parking bays. Leaning from his window he converses in ‘Ali-G’ with his bleached, pierced, orange-tanned, and tattooed mate. She’s a ‘Bling-Bling Princess’ - awash with cheap makeup, cheap gold and cheaper Chlamydia - Her loud language consists of one or two actual words that punctuate a manic sting of repeated expletives. She turns to skilfully flick her bum-sucked cigarette butt into the path of my car. Following its flight with her glare, she notices me, scowling at me like I’m an intruder... an uninvited guest – She’s right, I am… and I want out! Chav himself joins in and gapes at me now, his pimpled face a contorted mask of agonised vitriol. He’s been reared upon two decades-worth of Big-Mac based sustenance within a Ninja-Turtle culture and following a system of Rap-lyric based moral guidance - he lifts one of his limp string-like excuses for arms and presents me with a raised middle digit. The nicotine and lack of personal hygiene have done their work and I smile back at the pathetic orange-finger – meant to offend, the obscene gesture merely conveys more about the giver than any message to the recipient.
In an ideal, just world, he’d immediately fall off of his training shoes and knock his own teeth out. But In this – the cruel ironic, real world, he’ll probably move in next-door to me, produce three brats, all with acute Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder, buy two pit bull terriers to shit on my lawn, and then he’ll win the lottery.
A space! I can see it, out there across the mass of parked tin. Now I have an objective, and I make for it with haste. The grin that I’m still wearing from the ginger-finger upends into a grimace as the winding metallic snake of interlinked trolleys meanders across the roadway in front and cuts me off. I hit the brakes, stopping reluctantly. The seventy nine year old trolley-boy wrestles with the base of the snake and skilfully uses the front wing of a nearly-new Mercedes to change its direction. My initial sympathy for the owner of the thirty-grand car is quickly stifled by the rising, involuntary schadenfreude. I’m appalled to find myself struggling with guilty glee and trying not to smirk at the blemished coachwork
The space is clearly mine, I saw it first, I’m lined up for it – I’ve waited for it… I own it - yet it is taken from me at the last possible moment. Snatched away as a horse-faced ‘4x4 Woman’ roars into it at the gallop and stops on her hand-brake.
I don’t care… I am not bitter - the over-assertive bitch, driving four tons of commercial strength penis-envy to Tesco in order to buy some sandwich wrap for her kid’s school lunch box and packet of fragrant no-seep panties-liners… obviously needs the space more than I!
Wounded, I limp in automotive fashion off to the cheap-seats, the furthest car parking spaces from the store, the most inconvenient area of the convenient car park. This is where the all discarded sandwich wrappers and crumpled cigarette packets end-up. I am drawn there by same irresistible force, the inevitability of which, dictates that I should have headed straight here in the first place. This is where I belong, and this is where my space will be… and why worry? For indeed... I can almost see the supermarket from here.
The rain becomes heavy as soon as I get out of the car. If there were any way of accurately measuring the intensity of the deluge - it would conclusively show that it peaked, in terms of downpour, for the exact duration of my walk from the parking space to the store. Satisfied that I’m suitably sodden, the rain eases off just as I reach the cover of the shop entrance.
Published on writebuzz®:
> A day in my life