Thursday, May 27, 2010

The man that yelled at me

As I've mentioned (although some may have missed it), I pick up a trio of Kiddilicks from school and play "Nanny" for a few hours (Esky comes).

The street the Kiddilicks' school is on is wide enough for cars to park either side, and a single lane of traffic to pass through in between. It is not a one-way street. This means a number of things;
  1. When there is opposing traffic you rely upon the mercy of others to make your way up or down this street- as each direction must stop in turn to allow a pulse of drivers through. (This is common in a lot of places in Dunedin.)
  2. Not all people like to stop. Or wait. As a result, the street is a breeding ground for angry folk.
  3. Having a school located on such a street ensures regular congestion.
Due to the downpour on Tuesday, the dispatch-and-fetch drivers of the area were in full-force. After driving the length of the school's street, up-hill, I failed to find a park. There was a temporary lull in the traffic's flow, so commencing a three-point-turn, I indicated and reversed into a driveway near the top of the street, and then (literally) indicated my intentions to drive back down the street. I was hardly leaving without my cargo.

Puddleduck waved me down as I began to pull out, so I halted and allowed her to clamber into Thimba, and then looked both ways for a merciful driver to allow me to pull back out - as the lull I'd seized was already over. The leading vehicle heading downhill stopped and motioned I could pull out, but the leading uphill driver seized this opportunity to charge up into the gap, and then hold down his horn. It blared. Behind the rain and fog of the honking driver's windshield I could see gestures to accompany the horn-leaning. The traffic heading downhill moved over as much as possible to give way to the unending horn, while Mr. Blaring-horn got out of his ute and made long strides towards me. I rolled down my window. Mr. Blaring-horn yelled at me for "parking up" in his driveway.

I think I managed to articulate my hopes to go back down the street, and that I was only turning around...but I don't think Mr. Blare (let's call him that for short, shall we?) heard me, or cared to. Mr. Blare charged back to his vehicle (an unmanned plug in the works), and slammed his door, gesturing some more.

Puddleduck had unbelted and slunk down onto the floor.

Did I mention the school crossing was on top of this exchange? That Mr Blare was blaring amidst primary school students looking up at highlighter-orange jacket-wearing adults who were also confused? It was, and they were.

To placate Mr. Blare I turned up the hill and headed away from the street and school where two more children would be looking for me and Thimba. There I waited for some time to turn around and come down.

Puddleduck had since crept back up into the passenger seat and belted up. I drove slowly back down, and could not help but notice Mr. Blare had "For Sale" stickers and a mobile phone number spread across his rear-ute window.

"Be a good example!" cried an inner voice. "The meek shall inherit the earth!" chimed in another.

"What harm could there be in memorising the number?" I answered them. And what about writing it down on the back of a receipt? Granted, it became a little sinful when Puddleduck added, "Loser from the driveway" above the number, and rewrote each digit for fear I'd not penned the number neat enough, in my haste.

Thoughts as I drove the Kiddilicks home:
  • They often say that people draw close in times of crisis. I wonder if Mr. Blare wants to be my BFF? I'd be more than happy to keep him posted on my life and things...calling him each time Esky wakes in the early hours with an unsettled tummy or new tooth?
  • What is the most far out and remote place an interested buyer could request to a view a ute?
  • Is there a concealed vantage point from which photos of the ute-driver could be taken?
  • Printing photos is cheap.
  • I could add a personal note, "I've put these in your letterbox, because I'd hate to leave them in your driveway."
  • Or, "You're a jerk."
  • Or perhaps I could orchestrate something like this.
So I'm going to fetch the Kiddilicks this afternoon.

I have prepared a card for placing in a letterbox in this street.

Yesterday (the day after meeting Mr. Blare), Thimba's battery died. My thoughts at the time:
  • I'm glad I'm not parked in front of Mr. Blare's.
  • Maybe I should go to Mr. Blare's and see if he would help. A forced opportunity for penance?
  • I don't care to see Mr. Blare again.
Instead I jumped Thimba from another mum's car. I carry jumper leads. I was all set up to go, but the negative (black) lead was not long enough (the placement of poles and such preventing the woman who had come to my aid from pulling any closer). A resident came out and offered a longer lead.

What a good human.

And he, dear readers, will be getting the card today.

More thoughts:
  • If only this positive affirmation would work the way it is often applied in a classroom with small children; "Now Mr. Jumper-lead is being a good boy," said within earshot of Mr. Blare;
  • Maybe I should write a second "Thank-you" for Mr Blare, thanking him for teaching me how to be a better driver. Or for the lesson in patience. Or how to school my feelings when my feelings demand retribution.
  • Mr. Jumper-lead's kindness is a tender mercy, really, to illustrate that two very different humans can live on the same stretch of bitumen.
  • So why is it I haven't thrown away the receipt bearing Puddleduck's penmanship?
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