Car parks… over the course of my travels I have visited many of these lonely souless places, from one of the most securest in the world in Derby that monitors your car movement to one of the most scariest in Reading where we got trapped in a wee smelling lift with a flickering light. One thing that always gets me is the sheer amount of rules layed out upon arrival. We are used to rules but when they are layed out menu style it looks like a desperate attempt to tart them up and give you a delightful selection to peruse whilst you feed the hungry machine £2 an hour for the privilege. Indeed Sir, I fancy the Parking Causing and Obstruction followed by Longer Than The Maximum Period. £130 I hear you say, well that’s jolly good value, I’ll have two! If you did manage to adhere to the above there is also the number plate recognition system that records your entry and exit to reinforce rule ten and foot patrols to make sure the CCTV and recognition unit is doing its job. A bit of overkill if you ask me but then it can go the other way.
I was at an unnamed car park last yet having trouble with the ticket machine, it didn’t really like any of the coins I was shovelling in it when from around the corner came a warden. Dutifully I reported the incident only to be told the machine doesn’t work and had been like that for a few weeks, additionally the cameras were disconnected too, he then added candidly he hadn’t told anybody because he wanted a quiet life so he hand wrote a ticket for me for free and off he went whistling away. Like I say, car parks are quite odd.
Just a few of the incidents we have witnessed in car parks, in no particular order, include armed masked men fleeing, somebody exiting their car wielding a hammer, a shunter – a person that manages to hit more than two cars parking before driving off, a short drag race – I kid you not, out of order mazes – a selection of baffling signs, broken lifts and doors that took ten minutes to figure out how to escape, we even teamed up with two couples doing the same thing, urinating men, rocking cars with steamy windows, parking space rage especially near Christmas, tight underground ones with bays so small I once had to climb in through the boot on return to empty exposed ones open to the elements that allow your car to be liberally bombed by seagulls, indeed one stood on the roof until I started the engine the cheeky thing.
Car parks it seems are dens of iniquity, little pockets of society that have their own little world, a world of concrete, menace, harsh lighting and occasionally bemusement. The reason I’m writing this? Well, one of the best car central parks in Mansfield has been erased for a new bus station and a new car park has sprung up on the edge of town. It looks new, slightly strange as its on a bit of a hill and curves down to the bottom and today I get to give it a go. I’m hoping for another slice of the surreal and a new set of rules to adhere to, life really would be boring without the good old car park.