An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Parking Rage

OK here is a little story that does not file under PNG life, but it's a good story to write about and this is as good a spot as any to put it. I wrote it a little ago and only now am bothering to post it. I should have done it straight after the event, so that it could have been part of Oz life. The chief characters are inner city Sydney, one car park, two cars, a few frayed temperaments and one crazy guy.

Back on New Years day, I was in ol' Sydney town, staying at my oldies house in the inner city. This area is pretty yuppified these days and with that comes a problem with on street parking. On crazy days, like New Years day, you get the occasional case of Parking Rage - an offshoot of road rage, part of the same family.

Anyway there were quite a few of us staying at the house, as a whole heap of us were doing the annual pilgrimage to the SCG for the cricket the next day. So parking spots for the casual tenants - let alone the rest of the city - was on the scarce side.

On this particular care-free evening, we were all out the front chatting and on alert for a park. With the lack of parks around we had one of our cars illegally parked across the back gate. Even though it is our gate, we can still get booked by the Brown Bombers, when they're hovering around, which seems to be all the time. Just three days earlier I had parked a car out the back and got a $75 ticket.

After a while a park becomes vacant almost in front of the house - prime location. So my sisters long-term boyfriend, Al, races out the back to get the car and his crazy mate Brian is asked to run over and stand in the park, warding off any would be intruders.

By the time Al gets the car round the front, which would have been less than 30 seconds, a Mazda Somethingorrather comes along and sticks it's blinker on. Brian being the absolute nutter that he is, lies down in the spot and plays innocent. For a moment there is a stand off, Mazda guy waiting, Al behind waiting for him to go and Brian just lying down relaxing.

The crowd of us, on the front steps watching, go into the 'too embarrassed to watch mode' and take shelter inside, peeping through the window.

At this stage the driver of the Mazda, an Indian guys, gets out of his car, walks up to Brian and politely asks him what he is doing and if he could move. He trots out the story that he has been driving around for half an hour on the look out for a spot. Brian politely explains that we are bagging the park, for the car behind his, as we had been waiting for an hour for one to come along. Polite exchanges continue, with neither side budging. Brian gazing up at the guy and the Indian waving his arms around.

From the front steps I decide that it is time to head over and explain that we are locals and that we have been waiting for this park for an hour and that even though we are locals we will still get booked by having our car parked across the back gate as it was. From the polite conversation that it was, my entrance into the debate takes it up a notch in the tension.

My explanation did not work for the bloke. With a continuation of his previous theme, he does not give up and keeps arguing his point that he was here first so therefore the park is his. With this he jumps in his car and creeps it forward almost willing to see if Brian will budge. It was a bluff though and he soon stops and gets back out.

With this, Al has decided to jump out and enter the fray. The Indian is now ringed by one crazy guy lying on the tarmac, one semi-reasonable guy in me and Al who immediately takes it up a notch and tells the guy to fuck off and go and find his own spot and with that turns and jumps back in the car to wait for him to leave.

The stalemate is going nowhere. A crowd has gathered in the windows of the pub across the road, bystanders are forming, one Indian guy is back in his car and two cars are waiting for the one spot.

I decide enough is enough and indicate to Al to just drive round the freak and reverse park in - which in hindsight is what he should have done much earlier.

Al does this and reverses in, Brian jumps out of the way and the prick jumps out of his Mazda Jap-crap, waves his arms and yells at me for telling him to do that. He then proceeds to inform me that he now knows where we live and that we better watch out. My retort was "And do what!?" to which no reply came. The park was filled, the bastard drove off in a huff and we were all worried that he was going to come back later and 'key' the car.

Luckily nothing was done to car, the car hardly ever goes down there so he would be doing well to find it there next time he is in the neighbourhood. But it just goes to show what a tension filled society that the western world has now become. Arguments breaking out over a bloody car park. A week early the pub two doors down was the scene of the owner being killed by some pissed off customers who threw a bar stool. A few days before that there was a bashing from a road rage incident in Glebe. Tensions, tensions everywhere, and they say PNG is a dangerous place.

Brian asking me "when the hell is Al going to park the car"


I will be writing more anecdotes from my past, usually regarding travel, but seeing as I want to keep PNG Life, just about PNG life, I created another blog awhile a go which I will use to post these tales to. It is appropriately called Nomad Tales (, and it will eventually take over as my long-term blog once PNG has been left behind. Keep an eye out for my first anecdote soon regarding the border crossing from Mongolia to China and the smuggler.