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Friday, February 03, 2006


We know what you’re up to

Car park late at night, Mag-lite in hand, I’m busy checking permits and tickets. There’s a big 4x4 with darkened side windows up at the far end where the overhead lighting has failed. Nothing new there. Getting the lights changed is a major job that takes place once every year. Until then, the murky end of the car park will remain just that, murky.

When you’re checking car parks you get into a rhythm that speeds the job along. Most people have their permits and tickets on the opposite side to the tax disc, so that is what your light goes to first. Swing, flick, and blink check permit / ticket. One car every two seconds and double check if you’re not sure. Nice and easy does it, no need to rush; usually the only sound is your footsteps on the concrete and the odd bit of street noise filtering up the ramps. Some nights it’s so quiet you can almost hear your heart beating.

From ten feet away my Mag-lite beam hits the bottom left of the 4x4’s windscreen, no permit there, up then across and then down to the tax disc. Hey, that’s odd, where’s the seat headrests? Normally you can see those, even through darkened glass. No matter, no pay and display in the windscreen, now let’s check the side – hang on a minute? Movement. I definitely saw movement. Probably someone has left their dog in the car. Something pale and rounded definitely bobbed into view for half a second. Silly animal will start barking in a minute as I get closer. Just as I arrive at the front of the vehicle, a woman’s face pops up, eyes wide and cheeks bulging. Is she swallowing something? From within the vehicle there is a flurry of clothing being hurriedly rearranged. Yes, there’s a man in there as well, they’ve got the seats fully reclined and there’s no prizes for guessing what they were doing either.

Seats are brought upright and man opens door. My, now didn’t he do his zip up in a hurry, his shirt’s sticking out of his flies. “Er, just looking for some change, it er, went down between the er, ahem seat, yeah, between the seats.”
“Pay and display machine is over there.” Say I, trying hard to keep my face straight and almost succeeding.
“How much is it?” Asks the woman, who has forgotten to wipe around her mouth, her dress is pushed sideways showing her bra and her skirt is stuck halfway into her knickers as she steps out of the car.

Giving both parties a look so old fashioned it was rapidly fossilising, I told them the late night car park price. I’m sure I didn’t smirk. I think. Man scurries over to pay and display machine, shirt tail sticking out over the back of his trousers. Woman hides herself behind the car door as she tries to straighten her clothing, staring at me with a kind of fascinated, pleading grin. Diplomatically, I decline to make further comment and move on to other nadirs. I make it to the next level before almost collapsing into uncontrollable hyterics.

Five minutes later I see man leaving car park in 4x4 followed by woman in a little green Volkswagen. I wonder if they heard me laughing?

Perhaps they’ll choose somewhere else for their messy little tryst next time. I just hope for the woman’s sake she remembered to stick her dress in the washing machine before anyone noticed anything untoward.


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Location: British Columbia, Canada

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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