x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Illegal parking battle

I am usually a calm and patient person, but when someone boxed me in at a supermarket parking lot, I finally lost my cool.

Ilike to think of myself as a calm and patient person. When I order home delivery and the driver calls to say he's two minutes away only to arrive 45 minutes later, I give him the benefit of the doubt. When my toddler can't seem to fall asleep without having one of my fingers in his grip, I dutifully sit by his bedside waiting for his tiny hand to release mine.

When I do lose my cool, chances are it has something to do with car parking. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, around mid-afternoon, I was walking outside to my car after shopping, with Dh600 worth of groceries in my trolley. Cold meat and ice cream were getting warmer by the minute, then I found that someone had parked me in.

I tried the mobile number left courteously on the dash. No answer. Meanwhile, the driver of the car beside me, who had also been parked in by the same vehicle, returned with his shopping. We lamented in shared frustration, cranked up our respective air conditioners and waited.

About 10 minutes and 45 missed calls later, the culprit materialised, all smiles and apologies. Still, I couldn't help but wonder what made his business more pressing than mine, that he could justify parking illegally, subsequently risking the integrity of my Maltesers.

So, as he reversed back to let my neighbour and me out, I, upon realising he was planning to take my neighbour's spot, hopped out of my car and stood at the top of the now vacant spot, thumbing my iPhone in mock oblivion.

The driver called out and asked me to please get out of the way, to which I responded something like: "Oh, you want to park here now? I don't think so," before returning my attention to my phone. As the cars waiting behind him started beeping, he broke another law, this time via his middle finger, before driving off angrily.

Rather than offend me, this gesture made me feel strangely satisfied. His lack of composure meant I'd won; I'd ruffled his feathers as he had done mine.

Of course, when (not if) Mawaqif's campaign for world-domination reaches the suburban Abu Dhabi Co-op where I shop, rogue parking will become a thing of the past.

Some believe the unorthodox way in which many people park on Abu Dhabi streets adds to the colour and fabric of the city, but I'm all for enforcing a bit of discipline it if it means an end to double parking (and I can keep my passive aggressive behaviour to myself).

Now, could someone please tell me the correct way to pronounce "Mawaqif"?