There is a car park outside of my office window. It serves a small shopping centre. (Careful, Ken… they’ll find you…)
As you might imagine, there are lots of places to park in this car park and, similarly, there are lots of places to not park – the footpath, the middle of the road, up the lamppost.
And then there is one place that you really shouldn’t ever park at all, ever, ever. ever.
This place, immediately to the front of the shopping centre exit, is designated by a yellow box painted on the ground with yellow criss-cross lines inside. You know the sort of thing.
As I sit at my desk, I look out and down on this yellow box. When I stop to think and gaze out, it’s this yellow box then I end up gazing at.
And it annoys me profoundly. You know the reason why, don’t you?
Yes, you do.
It's because there’s nearly always somebody parked in the yellow box.
There is no ambiguity about this box. It is evidently a clear way, a safety exit, a place which should never be blocked
Parking or, as is more often the case, stopping-and-sitting in the yellow box causes difficulty to everybody else in any number of ways. It reduces the passing traffic to single lane so that cars coming either direction have to give way to each other while the twerp in the box sits back and enjoys the show. It blocks the trolleys of the people coming out of the shops. It clogs up the whole little eco-system of the car park – all for the benefit of the one loon who does it. Did I mention that the box only has room for one?
This lack of thoughtfulness beneath my window has grown in my head to become an analogy for Man’s overall Inhumanity to Man. I look at the various types of people who do this thing – for they are indeed legion – and I see some of the worst qualities of the Human Race reflected in their obtrusive wing mirrors.
The most common type is the ‘Bully’. Elbow out of window, belly out of shirt, his risible taste in cassette-delivered music imposed on the people he inconveniences. His whole demeanour tells the world, “I know what I’m doing, come and tell me about it and see what happens to you then… wimp.”
Then there is the ‘Naive Fool’. He doesn’t know he is doing anything wrong. He is baffled as to why the traffic is backing up all sides of him or why the old-dear just collapsed with exhaustion trying to manoeuvre her trolley around the back of his Fiat.
And, of course, the ‘Professional’. Very busy, only there for a moment, doing everyone a favour by getting his important stuff done so quickly. One of the worst, that.
I see all these types and many more and I know that, if they would only wake up and see the trouble they are causing for their own small comfort, and if they could only then persuade the rest of the world to wake up and do the same…, well, then things might be all right, I guess.
So there it is; ‘Man’s inhumanity to Man’, all packaged up and delivered to my doorstep, wrapped up in my local car park’s yellow box.
Have I succeeded in pinpointing the key problem with society today? Have I opened up a possible avenue of hope and reconciliation?
… or do I just always need to have something stupid to be annoyed about?
Yeah, I know…