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Thursday, February 10, 2005

 

Rainy Thursdays and Urban Myths

Damp and miserable day. Rain soaking through my alleged ‘Waterproof’ coat, sealing my shirt to my back. Still gave a few naughty people a surprise. Someone had told them we don’t patrol in the rain. That self same someone had not told our line manager, who told us “Not to be such a bunch of wussies.” And get out there. All right for the office wallahs. They should try life at the sharp end every so often. To tell you the truth they do, but you can bet your booties that they pick a nice dry day for it. Probably that kind of thinking that makes you management material.

Of course management diktats like these change the moment half the Traffic Wardens go down with colds and flu, but did I hear the stable door slamming shut? Well maybe.

Keeping your kit dry becomes a real challenge on days like these. You develop the stoop that shades your pocket note book from the rain whilst evidence gathering, preferably under an awning covering the pavement. Your hand held computer is supposed to be relatively damp proof, but just you try working outside in these conditions for long before the touch sensitive screen starts playing up.

In the end I gave up trying to book, and selected a spot out of the worst of the rain to do my ‘high visibility’ routine. This comprises of finding a place where you stick out like a sore thumb to any passing motorist, whilst affording the best possible cover. Result; maximum deterrence combined with a maximum of comfort.

R/T was first to give up the ghost with a prolonged squawk like a dying parrot. Next, my boots started to leak. Finally, I ambled back to the rest room for an early lunch only to find everyone else was back before me.
“There you are 515.” Says line manager. “I’ve been calling you on the radio for the last hour. Where’ve you been? It’s too wet to patrol.” I wanted to swear very much right there and then. Indicating dud radio, I wandered off into changing room and changed into my spare uniform.

When I came out again, the rest of the guys and girls were rattling on about the usual stuff, TV, football, latest gossip. You know the sort of thing. Big Harry, who has been a Local Authority Traffic Warden since they only patrolled car parks, started to tell a few tall stories. His favourite is about the ‘Swingers’ in the camper van having an orgy one early Sunday morning. Being the old cynic that I am, I scoffed at this one, but Harry assured me it was true.

He had been patrolling at the far end of one of the Council car parks when he came across a camper van with the windows completely steamed up. As you do, Harry went to check it out to see if someone was flouting the ‘No overnight camping‘ rule. Getting closer he could see this vehicle rocking on its springs quite alarmingly. He did the usual ‘passing by’ routine where you look for a valid pay and display ticket. No, that was fine. Now he was closer he could hear the noises. Harry being Harry, he stepped off out of earshot and did a call for assistance over the Wardens channel. Ten minutes later the camper is rocking ever more violently and there are now three Traffic Wardens standing there, watching. At the far end of the car park a Police patrol car stops, and out got PC 49, one of our local real Police, wondering what was so fascinating about this camper van to keep three of our number so entranced.

Now PC 49, has an evil streak in his nature. He goes back to his patrol car, quietly drives it to within ten feet of the rear of this rocking, steaming camper van. He winds his window down, then at the first muffled cries of “Yes, yes, YES! YES!” Lets rip with his ‘Blues and two’s’ at close range. Harry said it was amazing there were no heart attacks. Instead, the rear door of the camper bursts open to reveal not two, not four but six naked men and women from thirty to fifty, dicks and tits everywhere, one in fetish gear, another in handcuffs as they spilled, shocked, out of the no longer rocking camper van. Harry and the other two guys gave them a rousing cheer and a round of applause. PC 49 orders them to get dressed before giving them all a stiff talking to.

When I bared my cynicism, Harry simply pulled out his 2002 model camera phone and showed me the photo he’d taken at the time. Pretty poor definition, but you could quite clearly see the rosy glow of embarrassment on all the naked bodies. And here was me thinking that all these tales I’ve heard about the guys surprising couples in the act were all bullshit. I shall never doubt their words again.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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