Disclaimer – this post contains language that some may find offensive. Not a whole lot really, but just enough that I thought I had better warn you. Regular readers of Blog of Dad know that I rarely use foul language, but I’m also a firm believer that some kinds of stories just can’t be properly told without the occasional F-word, S-word or cleverly-alluded-to-but-not-actually-written C-bomb.
So, if you are offended by these kinds of things, I respectfully ask that you direct your attention towards one of my many not-at-all offensive posts. If, however, you enjoy a good story and can handle a swear or two, read on! (Oh yeah, there is also a part where a fictitious character uses demeaning terminology to refer to another fictitious character with a disability. You’ve been warned, please don’t complain).
What is it about carparks? What mystical power rules over them, that turns seemingly decent humans into raging, frothing-at-the-mouth beasts within seconds of entering?
I seem to ponder this question regularly. The reason is that every time I enter a carpark these days, I seem to bear witness to the mind-numbingly stupid, the grotesquely selfish and the absurdly absent-minded behaviour of the people I’ve now dubbed the carpark
What is a Carpark Cretin?
A carpark cretin is a perfectly normal human being, with one horrendous flaw. In any other situation, they appear to be one of us. They hold down jobs, they have friends. Some of them have even managed to procreate. But, insert a carpark cretin into an automobile, and place that automobile inside a carpark, and their fundamental deviation from acceptable humanoid characteristics quickly becomes exposed.
Within seconds, the carpark cretin will cause unimaginable pain and suffering to all those around them. They will immediately forget that humanity is only able to maintain its fragile harmony because of a general consensus that a minimum standard of behaviour be adhered to by all.
How to spot a Carpark Cretin
There is literally no way to tell a carpark cretin from a regular human being, unless you place them in a carpark.
See old Doris over there? That’s right, the 83 year old nanna who doesn’t ever miss church on Sunday, who has volunteered at the local homeless shelter for the past 30 years? The Best and Fairest award winner at the local bowling club for the past three years straight! Ah Little old Dot, a shining example of what humanity is all about…
Except, put her behind the wheel of her 92 Corolla and watch in awe as the beast is unleashed. Watch, spellbound as she executes a perfect burnout while reversing at 60km/h in order to cut you off from the space for which you’ve spent the past 5 minutes diligently waiting.
Yes, it’s at that moment, as you watch Doris elegantly flip you the bird in response to a polite toot of your horn, that you realise that she isn’t a shining example of a bygone era of manners and respect. She’s a cretin. She claims she didn’t see you waiting for that spot? Don’t believe it for a second, you’re dealing with an A-grade carpark cretin. Make no mistake about it, good-old God-fearing Doris would tell the Pope himself where to stick his fancy glass box of a car if it came down to the last parking spot at the local IGA.
“Surely Doris is a one off?” I hear you shout!
Sadly she is not. What about your best mate Ben? The A-grade student in high school; completed his law degree so that he could voluntarily represent refugees and the terminally ill; rescues kittens from drains in his free time…
Let me tell you something else about Golden Boy Ben. Once his bonnet edges past the boom gate, he believes in only one thing. Anarchy.
Pedestrian crossings? Piss off.
One Way signs? Piss off.
Give Way signs? Piss off.
Park within the lines? Piss off.
Disabled parking spots and Parents With Prams? They can fuck right off.
Once he’s in that carpark, Ben just doesn’t give two shits if Disabled Dave has to roll an extra kilometre in his wheelchair to reach the front door. That just isn’t Ben’s problem. Yes, Golden Boy Ben is a carpark cretin. He actually can’t help it, It’s genetic. It’s buried somewhere deep in his DNA, right next to the full-blown arsehole gene.
Who Put A Bee In Your Bonnet?
Okay, I’ll admit it. This post isn’t really about Ben and Doris. They aren’t even real people, just conglomerations of various poor behaviours that I have witnessed over the years. Really, they are just a primer to the actual, genuinely real story that occurred before my very eyes, just the other day…
This event happened as we were leaving a busy carpark at a small local shopping centre. We were returning to our car when the window of a pretty flash-looking silver convertible rolled down. A head poked out of the window. It belonged to a rather rotund, middle-aged woman.
“Are you leaving?” she enquired?
“Yes,” I replied. “But we’re way down there.”
I pointed vaguely in the direction of the bottom of the carpark. I had feared that I was dealing with a cretin, and I wanted to make it obvious to the woman that there was a long line of waiting cars between her and our precious parking spot, lest she try something rash.
“Oh, that’s okay,” she replied. “I’ll see what I can do.”
That phase set a few more alarm bells ringing. I’ll see what I can do are not the words of a woman resigned to missing out on a parking spot.
We continued on our merry way back to the car, without further bother from the numerous other patrons who had optimistically entered the tiny carpark.
Upon reaching our car, I signalled to the driver of the closest car that we were about to leave and she quickly flicked on her indicator to show her intention to fill the soon-to-be vacated position.
I began the task of loading the car, then jumped into the backseat to do up Hannah’s seatbelt. It was then that I heard the voice of the cretin…
“That’s my spot!” boomed the voice loudly.
The cretin had completed a lap of the small carpark. She had now pulled up directly behind the mother who was patiently waiting for my spot.
The mother, wisely, chose not to engage in dialogue with the cretin.
“That’s my spot!” exclaimed the loud voice again. But this time it was accompanied by the blast of a horn.
The unfortunate mother who had been patiently waiting for the parking space was left with no choice. She had to engage in dialogue with the cretin, in order to explain the bleeding obvious.
“I’m sorry, but I was here first,” She stated in a voice far calmer than anything I would have been able to manage if placed in that position.
“…but I bagsed it!” came the incredulous reply of the cretin.
I SHIT YOU NOT .
This middle-aged woman had resorted to the tactics of Sydney primary school student, in order to try and claim a spot in a carpark.
“You can’t bags a spot in a carpark!” replied the mother, now clearly a little flustered by the unexpected, childlike antics of the cretin.
“Yes, I bagsed it when I was over there,” replied the cretin, the tone of her voice clearly indicating that she believed she had delivered the irrefutable evidence that would secure her the spot.
“I’m sorry, but I was here first. Perhaps there is a spot further round?” came the remarkably measured response of the mother. She had done well to quickly regain her composure. Unfortunately, the poor mum hadn’t quite bargained for the extreme cretinness of this particular specimen.
Her logical response was met with a second blast of the horn, followed by another outcry of “but I bagsed it! You should go to the other spot.” (The cretin was, of course, well aware that there were no other spots as she had just completed a lap of the carpark.)
The timing of this last outburst was perfect. It happened just as I was moving from the backseat to the front. My impulse to laugh heartily at the absurd took hold. It was further compounded by inadvertently making eye-contact with the remarkably cool-headed mum. The result was fits of laughter from both of us.
I think our laughter must have enraged the carpark cretin, but it was also enough to show her that the battle had been lost. No matter how much she complained, she just wasn’t going to convince the mum of the mystical powers of bagsing a spot from across a carpark. She gunned her engine, scowled, gave a final blast of the horn for good measure and drove off.
I dared to shoot a final quick glance at the admirably patient mum in the other car. I gave her a shrug of the shoulders as if to say “what was that all about?” Tears of laughter ran down her cheeks. Thankfully she too had been able to see the funny side of her close encounter of the cretin kind. It hadn’t ruined her day, it had just given her a most excellent story to retell to her family and friends.
As for the cretin, she was last spotted re-entering the tiny, clearly full carpark. No doubt she was hell-bent on bullying some other poor soul out the next available spot. It honestly wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that she had now “bagsed” every spot in the small carpark. As we drove down the street, I noted the abundant street parking that was available less than 50 metres away.