Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hard of Parking

The Sharjah-Dubai highway isn't the only car park in Sharjah. There's another one just outside my office. But it isn't just for employees of the office. Visitors to the banks or the pie-shop on the ground floor also park in the off-street car park.

So far, so good. The problem starts at around 7:30 when all parking spaces are occupied. People start to park in the aisles. "It doesn't matter. I'll only be two minutes."
Well, I'm fed up to the eye-teeth with being late for meetings, or worse, late away from the office at chucking-out time because of having to wait for one of these so-called two-minuters. Waiting for up to twenty minutes for Mr Land Cruiser, Mr Echo or Mr Grotty Mitsubishi Bickup to come and move his vehicle does not put me in a good mood. One of these Hard Of Barking explained to me that he was a very busy man, and that this fully justified blocking two other cars.

Yeah, right. And my time has no value. I'm glad that's sorted out.

I've resolved that henceforth there will be no more Mr Nice Goat. Instead of waiting patiently (or occasionally hooting my horn, in accordance with local custom and practice) I'll have to take further steps.

Step 1: Call Sharjah Police. This ought to be extremely satisfactory, except that there's a further long wait for the Constabulary to show up, during which time the driver will inevitably appear. It's always worth pointing out to him that the police are aware that he's been reported. I also make it my business to advise any other blocked-in driver of the appropriate phone number.

Step 2: Almost invariably the keys are left in the ignition. I worry about moving someone else's car, potentially without insurance and opening myself to accusations of attempted theft. After rolling the offending vehicle out of the way, perhaps the ignition key should be removed and put in a safe place to prevent theft? Under the back seat perhaps, or locked in the boot?

Step 3: Push the offending vehicle out of the way in the style portrayed in Fried Green Tomatoes. Alas, this sets off airbags and involves further ado with the police and insurance companies. Will the excuse of "I'm sorry officer. I started the engine and didn't realise that the car wasn't in neutral" be believed? "But I always rev the engine to the red line and dump the clutch..."

There remains the option, if there are no empty parking spaces, of on-street parking nearby and walking up to 100 metres to the office. Oh, but of course, walking in the Land of the Sand is probably illegal.


samuraisam said...

Why not park your car so a good metre or so is sticking out the back end?

Gnomad said...

I have every sympathy with GG on this one, it's not so much the annoyance and irritation of the delays caused by these people, its their unutterable arrogance when they do finally appear.

I'd go with the option 2; open the door release the handbreak and roll the vehicle out of the way, but then my insatiable curiosity would compel me to see if buoyant car keys had been invented yet and cause me to float test the keys in some nearby water feature.

I have in the past been boxed in exactly like this when the offending driver was actually in the boxing-in car and would not move. 4WD and low ration engaged I backed out any way, very slowly but very determinedly. It was a delight to see the smoke from the wheelspins of the 'emergency start' performed when the other driver realised I was going to keep going whatever he did.

I dont buy new cars, by the way. I am what is known as an "End-User mororist"

nzm said...

I once had to "push" a taxi out of my apartment block's driveway in NZ.

I left home at 5 one morning to pick up a colleague and drive to visit clients in a town about 6 hours away from Auckland.

The All Blacks were playing England in the UK, and the taxi driver had ducked into one of the nearby pubs to watch the match, ignorantly thinking that there would be no one wanting to move their cars in that time.

I did.

First, I rang a tow company who told me they couldn't help me, as the driveway was also classified as a "lane" (it served several independent apartment towers) which meant it was public access. (The jury's still out on this!)

So, as I was able to drive at the taxi at an angle (over the garden) and with big bullbars on my vehicle, I pushed the back of the taxi out of the way so that I could get past.

Damage: nil to my vehicle, lots to the side of the cab!

Taunted said...

Fook 'em, they're so blaise about it, if they leave their keys in then to me that's an open invitation to move the offending car if it'd blcking me in.

Just do it.


J. Edward Tremlett said...

You could toss the car keys to a crowd of migrant workers and say "congratulations! you've won a (name of car here) as long as you take it, right now, and drive as far and as fast as you can."

That would, however, be cruel to the workers.

A more satisfying scenario would be to quietly perforate the offending vehicle's tires, so it won't be going anywhere. It won't make you any less late, but the ability to watch the owner come around with his pies, see his tires and call for a tow would be priceless.

Alas, that would be cruel to the tires.

Mme Cyn said...

Sugary bubblegum, half-chewed and rolled into a log and then put underneath windscreen wiper blades produces a most satisfying goo all over their windscreen once it has melted in the Sandland heat. OK, so you probably won't be around when they find this out, but you still get the satisfaction of knowing it will happen.

Or, if you DO move their cars, you could also whip out a cheap red lipstick and write "do NOT double park here" on their windscreens before you unpark your own car and leave. It's nasty stuff to get off, and the message would get across.

Just being helpful. =)

Grumpy Goat said...

Hmmm. Must remember to bring my lipstick to work ;-)

LawfulGoodOfCowplain said...

You misssd the opportunity to mention Reginald Molehusband:-)

Gnomad said...

Reginald Molehusband was merely incompetent, not arrogant, rude or abusive.

Grumpy Goat said...

There are plenty of opportunities for Molehusbandry in the shopping malls of the Land of the Sand, although that wasn't the main point of my original post.

A combination of large cars and small parking spaces bring out the Molehusband in just about everyone. It's difficult enough to get your Land Cruiser into one of the spaces in the Mall o't'Emirates and still leave room to open the doors, and this is not assisted when the adjacent car is six inches into your space.

Special mention must go to those who simply park diagonally across two or more spaces; additional points are awarded if the spaces are marked with a wheelchair symbol.

halfmanhalfbeer said...

GG: boy you've touched a nerve with this one! First off congrats on being named in lights in Gulf News today; the fame the glory!

Secondly, there is nothing more annoying, more arrogant, more ferking infuriating that having some utter bastard park across you and box you in, it is just so unbelievably selfish.

It has happened to me on a few occassions but last week on Al Dhiyafah took the biscuit. I returned to my car to see that I had been blocked in, I sounded the horn, looked around, swore, steamed and stamped.

15 mins later (15 FERKIN MINUTES LATER) an expat Arab gentleman and his wife return to their car at which point I start yelling and shouting about how rude and inconsiderate he was. The man in question starts yelling back at me about how impatient I am and to 'go to hell' etc. Well, I don't normally resort to violence but I was just so furious. I leapt out of my car and (thank god) I have never seen anyone move so fast in my life; he and his wife both sprinted to the car, leapt in and sped away and a rate of knots! That at least gave me a laugh, but really what an utter bastard. Thinking about it now stills gets me worked up as you can probably tell!


Keefieboy said...

I've just renewed my apartment lease for 4.48 months. Hah!


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