I think I’ve found what is more or less the ideal parking space at work. Alas, no spaces are available in the underground carpark, so it has to be out on the street. But after some trial and error, I’ve been parking in a spot that is always in the shade in the afternoon, but not actually under a tree frequented by birds who like to crap all over your bonnet.
Alas on Monday this spot was taken. So I drove on a few metres, and found a nicely sized gap, between a car and a van, not next to a fire hydrant, not too close to an intersection (I’ve got no wish to incur another $100 fine). I came up alongside the car and proceeded to do a masterful reverse parallel parking manoeuvre that would have had my driving instructor overcome with joyful tears.
Then just ease into first gear to straighten her up, and… Lurch. Thump. Whatthehellhappened?! The front left of the car dipped about a foot. The wheel had gone straight into a big hole in the gutter.
Now, I’ve parked in that particular spot before. And I’ve walked past there numerous times. But never before have I seen a hole there. I carefully moved the car back, and miracle of miracles, the wheel came safely out. I stopped the car, "made it safe", as my instructor would have said, and got out and looked.
A huge hole, about a metre by half a metre, and maybe half a metre deep. Okay, not a huge hole when compared to a meteor crater or a budget deficit, but big for what it was: a hole in the gutter in a suburban street.
The car seemed to be okay. I rang the council and a very bored sounding man said "yeah… we’ll come take a look at it." At lunchtime they’d put some bollards in place to draw attention to it. "Attention! This is a hole! It may be beneficial to you to avoid it!"
By going home time, they’d filled it in. Pretty quick and impressive action, really. Perhaps the guys around the corner who have been working for months and months on building Brighton’s newest roundabout decided they needed a bit of variety in their road construction work.
And as for me – if I find anybody in my shady spot again, they’re in trouble!