Trick or treat
If one sounds pleased, or perhaps a little sanctimoniously smug, today is the day that can be freely forgiven. People like the aforementioned are a pain, not only to the workaday Parking Enforcement Officer, but to the rest of the human race, who have to put up with the end results of his lack of consideration.
The scene for our little drama is a bus stop outside an off licence (Liquor store to all you non British folk out there.). A favourite place for people to ‘Just drop something off’, block the bus stop, thus causing buses to block the whole bloody street and half the town centre inside of three minutes flat. The bus stop sits on the cusp of two beats, so it usually gets pretty well covered.
Across the street Manic Mary hoves into view. We greet each other with a brief ‘Have you in visual contact’ over the radio and carry on our way. As we do so we both see Barrack room lawyer with Range Rover parked in bus stop, yakking thirty to the dozen on his mobile, completely contemptuous of the bus driver who has his back end poking into the street because he can’t pull in to the bus stop. Twenty seconds later, chummy clocks Mary taking his number and promptly drives off before she can get near enough to issue. Meanwhile, I’ve taken his number and most of his details as well, but get collared by furious bus passengers who decide that today it’s Ma Stickers second sons turn in the barrel. “Why aren’t you doing your job?” Is the outraged question of the day. Well, it’s marginally better than “Why don’t you get a real job?” This lasts for the best part of ten minutes and it feels like the whole damn town has been queuing up to have a go.
Ears ringing I slunk off round the corner to recover and update my notebook. Ten minutes later, just on a whim, I retrace my tracks to head on back to base for tea. Glory of glories, guess who’s just plonked his Range Rover back on the bus stop and has walked into the off licence? Thank you, there is a God.
Checking my hand held computer, I realise I’ve still got his details on screen from twenty minutes ago. Thirty seconds later, it’s printed, signed and on his windscreen. Photo taken, the lot, and I’m off to make someone else’s day. Got him at last!
Of course that isn’t the end of the affair. You know who comes running up the street with ticket envelope in hand, red faced and intent on giving out some grief.
Driver “Hoi you!”
Officer 515 (Me) “Yes sir?”
Driver “What you given me this for?” Thrusting ticket in my face. I give it a cool look and then look him straight in the eyes.
515 “You’re parked on a bus stop.”
Driver “So?” Is he really this thick?
515 “You aren’t allowed to park in bus stops.”
Driver “I was loading and unloading.” Not clever enough, Meestair Bond.
515 “You’re not allowed to load or unload in bus stops, disabled bays or taxi ranks. You should know that sir. It’s in your highway code.” With that I give his suffused features a cheery “Good day sir.” Turn around and walk away. When I got to the next corner he was still standing there, staring at the ticket in disbelief.
Trick or treat anyone?