Friday, February 29, 2008

Car Parks: A Convention for the Blind and Impatient?

Lets see....water?...check. Good mix of CD's?....check. Latest best seller book?...check. Oodles of infinite patience?...may need to stop at the store and get another supply in...Ive been running on reserves lately.

You might think Im going on a road trip or something but actually it was a destination a little closer to home...the local cinema. Parking has become a nightmare in Bahrain....finding a parking spot anywhere near your intended destination is like finding the Fountain of Youth....a fabled spot but worth looking for for the rewards promised. As I set out with high hopes and feverent prayers sent off to the Saint of Please Let Me Find a Parking friend and I made our way to a place that, at best, is only a 20 minute drive from my house....but throw in parking time and you got the length of the movie right there...darn.

I will be the first to acknowledge that I am not the best of drivers...I imagine I have turned a few hairs instantly white with some of my spur of the moment lane changes or for breaking in the middle of nowhere...but I try to keep such insane driving to a minimum...I can proudly say that I have only ever been in one accident...and it was not my fault....yes, I know, your sitting there reading this and saying..."thats what they all say"...well, be that as it my case its true...but let just leave it at name names would be so uncouth...(you know who you are...dont deny it)...nuff said. I say this because my 20 minute journey for an innocent night of entertainment has never been without heartstopping...underpants soiling..turning the air blue cursing..and generally white knuckle driving...there is no such thing as an "uneventful drive' in Bahrain.

Anyhow, the issue here is parking. Ive always wondered if the majority of folk in Bahrain have been given general road information...such as, those white lines in parking lots are generally there to line up everyone in nice little rows to maximize the number of cars able to park...and to make getting in and out easy peasy. What I find in most carparks is a free for all that resembles a Convention for the Blind and Impatient...We generally find a few basic kind of carparkers.

There is :

Mr. My Car is Expensive so I need two or three spots to keep a buffer zone established....sheesh...I can probably hit your car if I tried real hard...its not like you have a force field around

Mrs. I Know its a Sedan....but I prefer to think of it as a Sherman Tank...makes parking so much easier....dont have to worry about fiddly side mirrors and rearview headaches....sigh

lets not forget....Mr Squeeze My Car...into a spot meant for a Mini Cooper...but Im sure I can manage a Hummer given the right amount of backing and forthing...holding up 40 cars and causing the occupants to have to squeeze out of their cars cause the doors wont open adequately...this is where rubber edges on doors come in handy.....put that on your shopping list.

then there are the general parkers...those that apparently believe that if their car or jeep can fit into the spot...then its good enough for them matter that the tail end is probably sticking out cutting off two way traffic...or that shrubbery or garbage cans may have fallen victim to this reckless disregard for innocent bystanders.

I might also point out one more parker....Mr(and its usually a man)I Can Park My Car Right in Front of the Damn Doorway Just Because I am Me...he must be right since I rarely see a parking ticket on his window....Ive always wondered if I dared try, if my little red jeep would pass the "I Have a Right to Park Here"....code...Im thinking not! I think the right to park there comes with a secret handsignal to the security on duty...or maybe a knowing nod of the head...I know its something, I just havent caught onto it yet.

Something I truly find interesting is the fact that people would rather drive around in circles for an hour looking for that elusive 'near the door" parking spot then park several aisles over and walk...u know walking..when one leg moves opposite of the other to propel u in a forward motion....I know its a dying sport but lets hope it doesnt go the way of the Dodo ...that was a sad loss for all. These same people will drive in circles for an hour...spend a small fortune in the shops...but seem scandalized if you suggest parking in a parking garage and paying for it...yeah I can see where 500 fils on parking might just be the straw on the camel that breaks the back...or is that the bank....hmmm.

Just to make parking easier for all are few rules that should be posted and strict adherence should be maintained by the local MP's who apparently have oodles(my word of the day) of time to spend coming up with yet more inane proposals...I say let them earn their Bd2000 plus a month with a little car parking work....who knows...they might even get a tip for a job well done....supplement their meager income.

Rules For Parking in Bahrain

1. White lines are for guidance...ur car goes between them...not on top of them. Any car that crosses over the white line will have white lines painted on his or her car as a reminder for future parking.

2. If your car has dents and scratches all around the lower edge and must pay for and apply a large rubber band type object so that others in the carpark are not subject to your blind ambitious parking skills.

3. If you are a lone must pay a fee for taking up a valuable parking spot in which two or more persons might either bring the wife/husband and kids...or keep your lonely butt at home.

4. If you even think of tapping your horn with impatience...or worse yet...laying heavy hands on it thinking this will in some way encourage those in front of you to part ways and let your superior ass through...then be prepred to solve the riddle of whether a horn tastes as good as it sounds...yummy...when someone that doesnt quite agree with your personal opinion comes along and shows his or her which case...being stuck in a parking lot might be the least of your worries.

5. Any failure to comply with those rules will result in Mrs Sherman Tank being directed to park right next to you once you do find a parking spot. Good luck with that btw.

My youngest son has solved the lack of parking problem with one easy rule....if you want to to find a park at the mall or in the diplomat area...arrive at 6 in the morning...take the bus or taxi back home and then come again least your car is all ready there waiting for you....and you can avoid all parking worries...sounds like a plan son.

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