Monday, May 19, 2008

Parked and fried

There are parking spaces all around the Goat’s office building. They are unfortunately generally permanently occupied by office commuters, residents of the high-rise blocks and customers of the local ground-floor shops. Normally I park several hundred metres away from the office, but yesterday I spotted a highly convenient parking space within a few dozen metres of where I work. Public on-street parking, in a proper marked bay, and outside the Pay and Display zone. Not in the shade, but you can’t have everything.

At five o’clock, my plans of an early return home were thwarted. There was an elderly Toyota double-parked, blocking two cars including the Goatmobile. All its doors were locked, and the tradition of putting a note on the dashboard with a ‘ring this number and I’ll come out and move it’ message had not been followed.

So I waited. And waited. And wandered around the offending vehicle, and opened and shut the doors of the Goatmobile. I even speculated about reversing over - or through - the other car. After fifteen minutes I called the police. Sharjah Police: 06/563 4444. There was a long and amusing conversation in which I struggled to spell the name of the shop outside which I was trapped. “Alif, Laam, Alif, Meem, Qaaf… etc” Apparently, along the lines of “At the junction of Street 15 and Street 17 in Al Mahatta” isn’t precise enough.

At five-thirty a bint in black emerged from her ‘Ladies-only tailoring’ shop. Pointing out that I had called the constabulary, I asked that she await the arrival of the Law. She backed her car up and invited me to leave. “Er, no. I’ve already called the police. They’re on their way. I have to await their arrival. I have reported your vehicle and now you must [or at least should] wait.”

There was a further brief conversation involving how the space in front of her shop was her space for her own personal use. And a rebuttal to the effect that in order to achieve that it would cost Dh7000 a year. She noted that I could have stuck my head round the door and asked her to move her car. Yeah, right. Into a ‘no men beyond this point’ shop. That would have gone down well. And anyway, how was I supposed to know that it was her car and not one belonging to some bloke on the fifth floor, or someone visiting the internet café three doors down? Evidently, she’d seen me hovering around outside for half an hour and had decided to ‘teach me a lesson.’

At five thirty-five, she had tired of waiting and drove away, promising to return. I suspect that she did not need Plod to see her bald tyres or extra-black windows, let alone where she’d parked. Interesting that it was OK for her to delay me, but not the other way around. Interesting, but not unexpected. ‘Unremittingly arrogant’ is a phrase that springs to mind.

The Law finally appeared at five-forty. The officer, who was a mature gentleman and not the schoolboy that I’d expected, listened to the torrent of Arabic and then to my version before giving his verdict.

“Mr Goat, this is a public parking space. You may park here all day every day if you like. Mrs Bint, here is your ticket and bill for Dh100 for illegal parking. And we’ll also see if any further action will be taken about how you ‘own this shop’ when your ID card says you’re a ‘Housewife’. Please come to the police station at your inconvenience to retrieve your licence and registration cards.”

I suppose I could have simply driven away. And if Mrs Bint had moved her car before I’d called the police that is what I would have done. But half an hour of standing around in the afternoon sun becoming uncomfortably hot and dripping wet with perspiration had made me want to see some semblance of justice.



alexander said...

And rather wonderful that justice was done, no? :)

EyeOnDubai said...

We have an option in Dubai, a "Bad Parkers' number to call. Not sure just how official it is, but 04 2694848 gets you through to a man with the registration database, and if you give him the plate number, he'll take great delight in calling the owner for you...


dubaibilly said...

You won? Against someone in black? In Sharjah?? WOW! Respect Mr Goat!!


Mind you, had it been the schoolboy you expected, you would probably contemplating a trip to the local police station to retrieve your licence!

Great to hear of a bit of justice though, well done GG.

the real nick said...

Enjoy the victory while it lasts. I'd expect scratches on the Goatmobile shortly.

Anonymous said...

LOL RN, you are on every blog I visit!
I am a local girl and hate the "entitelment" attitude unfortunatly some have.
I love the way you handled it...and I am so glad t reasonable police dealt with the situation.

Happy Ending

...and GG lived happily ever after

Jayne said...

Ahhhh, there is justice after all! Good for you for holding out Mr Goat & here's hoping the bint in black got a puncture on her way home :-)

Anonymous said...

Deeelighted that justice was served! I hope it made it worth your wait.

Miss you guys ;)

exuaepat now recuperating in europe somewhere


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