April 13, 2012
Are you feed up waiting for people to leave their parking spot?
Two people, two opinions, one topic: This week we look at parking hogs.
In my book, there is absolutely nothing wrong with car park hoggers. Who owns the park? Not the hog or those wishing they would vacate it.
However, the hog, the person in the space, is renting it for now. Leave them alone.
They found it, you didn't. You are now condemned to drive around and around, grimly looking for another space. That's the car park search rule. Unless you are driving a government bus or riding a bicycle, looking for a parking space is pure roulette.
It is the same when you go out to dinner. Are all the tables full? Well, assuming you haven't made a reservation, that means there are no spaces. You must simply walk away and look for a table in another restaurant.
But wait! Aren't those people in the corner finishing their dessert and coffee? Why are they still there? They're not eating. They're just … talking.
You should walk over, stop beside them and indicate - perhaps with a flashing yellow light - that you want their table.
Suddenly made aware of your presence, they should stand up and leave the restaurant because the last sips and spoonfuls of flat white and apple crumble have been ingested.
No. They decide when to leave the table.
If you are lucky, the table tenants could consider your plight, ask for the bill and be on their way.
But they don't have to.
The problem with those people sitting in a parked car to check their emails, take a phone call, calm a child in the back seat or whatever is not that they are hogging a parking space.
It's that there is no official way, no parking waiter or traffic maitre d' to find out when they are leaving.
Nice people ask politely and nice people say sorry, they won't be going straight away.
It is the angry ones who generally ruin things. Already choking on road rage, their beetroot-hued faces spew rants at the inconvenience of being told the space is taken or made to look for another park.
A big waste of energy over a game of chance.
To me, the parking space hog is typical of what's wrong with the world. Yes, those people sitting smugly in their cars are entitled to stay in their spot for as long as the sign says, and no, they don't have to rush if someone is obviously waiting to get in.
They are also perfectly entitled to make a phone call if they want. And no, you shouldn't hassle them or abuse them.
But what about a bit of consideration for your fellow motorist? How about, if you see someone waiting for your spot, you don't do your hair, or make a phone call, or make sure everything is stacked in alphabetical order in your glovebox? How about you hurry it along a bit? After all, you have made it out of the shopping centre alive and, hopefully, with your sanity intact, so you should be in a generous mood.
I reckon there is a certain type of person out there, perhaps with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, who sees the person waiting for their parking spot and pulls on the metaphorical handbrake. Everything goes into slow motion, as if they are saying: ''If you want this parking spot, you're going to have to earn it.''
They are a bit like those people who either don't know how to use a rear-vision mirror or choose to ignore the conga line of traffic behind them as they trundle along the freeway in the right-hand lane, overtaking no one.
And I don't buy the ''just pulled over to answer a phone call'' defence, either. Believe it or not, the world is not going to end if you miss a phone call. In the dark ages, people only had landlines and when they were in their cars, they couldn't reach them, so they had answering machines to take messages. Yes, they had emergencies and deadlines but everyone seemed to cope just fine.
Cars are for driving and when you are in one, everything else should take a back seat. It is a revolutionary concept, I know, but if everyone did it they just might notice someone waiting for their spot and get amove on. That way the person waiting feels good about their fellow motorist, and the person with the parking spot gets a warmglow inside from doing something nice for someone.
Common courtesy one, road rage nil.