Thursday, February 14, 2013

So I got clamped.....

Yesterday at around 5pm. The sign declared "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE AWAY" and to be honest I had no intention. Montague Lane can be a lonely spot at the best of times (not least when you've done your conkers in the Jackpot) and yesterday was no exception. But Valentines day 2010 was not about teddy bears and chocolates or even flowers for all I could see was tarmac, puddles and a big yellow hindrance on the front wheel of my car.

With no parking fees on a Sunday you would guess its pretty difficult to get clamped. This was not the case (as the notice on my car was only too happy to tell me). Clamping is an all-day job and I'd bet it would have taken the full 24 hours too had we played "find my car in Dublin's city centre". But find it they did and clamp it they did and then I had to pay €80 to get it removed.

As the rain spitted down I got to see a full range of today's couples, arms linked. They strolled by my car ever so slowly in what was some kind of Valentine's piss take. Much like Romeo I was not so much in love as I was in love with the idea of being in love. Elderly couples even, walking around Montague Lane! I wanted off this set as it just didn't add up.

Then I called the clampers. I must say, the operator was tremendous. He got the tone just perfect, like a funeral director alone in his office. "How may I help you sir". To be fair, I think he knew what was coming next.

With the car reg, credit card, location and fine amount confirmed, everything was in place for me to get home and listen to the Smiths or something. €80 worse off and an ETA of one hour 15 mins all I could do was sit and contemplate the wasted time and money which the evening had resulted in. I could have been at home on facebook or having €80 on Dallas to win the Superbowl but instead I was a prisoner in my own car. On Montague Lane.

But the operator had one more question.

"OK Sir. Everything is now in place. Finally, would you like to receive a text message alerting you when your clamp has been removed for just 20 cents?"

"Nah. Sure I'll be able to see it being removed when I look out the windscreen."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The meander

It's never good when you're overtaken at 3mph. I was coming to the end of my walk this evening when the episode happened. Apparently a lot of these incidents take place close to home and this one was no different. She was a walker (you know the type - female, 40s, black gloves, swaying arms etc) who overtook me slipstream-style. That is, she trotted right up behind me, breading down my neck almost and then weaved out violently to the right and past. The initial reaction was one of shock. Disbelief. It was only a short while after the event that I began feeling dejected. I keep telling myself it was a 'leisurely stroll' but it will not over-ride the voices. It will not conceal the fact that I am in fact a snail.

L'escargot may have halted the run of Red Rum's Grand National wins but being thought of as the snail of my local area is a frightening thought to me. It floods back many ill-fated memories of heel clips in corridors by those walking at normal speeds behind me. Like a learner driver, a cargo train or the slow boat to England, nobody likes a plodding walker. To be honest the whole concept of walking or 'going for a walk' is probably somewhat foreign to many in my age bracket. It doesn't quite have the same ring to it as 'going on the lash' does it? I don't have headphones in either for that would distract me. Walks are for thinking and especially muttering. 'That's Limerick City' I muttered at one point tonight for absolutely no reason.

During one of my summer walks I was stopped by the police on Greentrees Rd. The car pulled up alongside me at a walking speed as if I were a hooker. "Name" is all I heard from the passenger’s seat. I'm not sure what way they're thought in Templemore other than the critical tutorials into the development of bad attitudes. Either way, the result is when they graduate they don’t talk in their native accent, ask questions or talk in coherent sentences. Instead they learn a list of words which are randomly juxtaposed and fired at 'individuals'. He was like one of those gangsta rappers that say random one word statements like "Word" and what not. I was flummoxed. Looking around me like a bad liar all I could muster was "What?” The officer repeated his one word statement and eventually I gave him my name following a moment of needless reluctance. He looked me up and down as I continued to play the role of prostitute. Dressed in a hoodie and trackie bottoms it was also well past midnight all of which led him to his concluding statement. "Away home now Gary"