Many years ago I had a Ren And Stimpy CD. It’s the kind of CD you buy because for a couple of weeks in 1993 you were kinda amused by the TV series. So you coughed up $25 and listen to it maybe once all the way through, and maybe another track or two might have got played twice. Then years later you realise it was always crap and you try and sell it on eBay and the winning bidder turns out to be in South America even though you specified you’d ship to Australia only, and he never sends any money even though he claims he did, and so it sits in the bookshelf for another year or two before you try and sell it on eBay again and finally someone in the right country wins the bidding (nowhere near what it cost you, but better than nothing) and off it goes, no longer taking up valuable space in your life, gone at last.
But even years later you might remember a catchphrase or two from it, and one that I do recall is where they’re claiming to be different languages, and the sample of “New York-ese” is someone shouting abusively “Hey, can’t you see I’m WALKING here?”
I think of this charming little soundbite every time I’m walking around the city and nearly bump into somebody. It’s usually nobody’s fault, but generally both of us will say “sorry” and keep walking. No blame, no shouting, no footpath rage, just an apology and maybe a smile and we keep on going.
This morning I parked my car in Brighton, on a side street near the station. I’ve parked there for a year or two during school holidays, when a couple of days a week my routine changes so I drop the kids at my mum’s, then drive to the nearest zone 1 station to go into work. In the past I’ve copied everyone else and parked with the left two wheels up on the grass verge, so the narrow street still has enough space for people to drive along. It’s a spot used by a few people heading in late to work when the station carparks are full. The grass doesn’t seem any the worse for it, and there’s no footpath on that side that people are getting blocked from using.
So I’d parked my car and hopped out. Across the street a guy in a white Honda had parked too. We both started walking to the station, him about 20 metres ahead of me. Then he stopped and turned around and came up to me. He explained that people had stopped parking with their wheels up on the verge because recently the joyful officers of Bayside council had booked a whole bunch of people for doing so, so it might not be a good idea. Ah. I thanked him, and moved my car.
From now on the gap in that street will be much narrower. Until one day when the garbage trucks can’t fit down there and the council decide to go all out and ban parking on one side.
White Honda man didn’t have to do that. He could have just kept walking. Sometimes, people aren’t so bad.