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."