Now that I seem to be visiting shopping centres at somewhat ungodly hours, I have been able to experience a strange phenomenon that had up until now gone unnoticed.
One of the side effects of having kids is that you will often hear yourself saying the phrase “but the shops aren’t open yet”.
Many is the Saturday that has seen me on my third load of washing before Rage has finished in what I used to think of as the wee small hours of the morning.
Because of this we often notice a shortage in some of the key breakfast ingredients quite early on in the morning. A person with no children when confronted with this situation will usually just look at their watch to see if it is too late to get breakfast at McDonalds. A parent of young children on the other hand will look at their watch to see if Woollies is open yet.
Arriving at the shopping centre before 8am is a strange event. Instead of a noisy, busy, carbon monoxide filled cave you instead find a virtual ghost town. The silence broken only by the far off sound of a tractor pulling a 5m trailer full of wayward trolleys. Then you see it. The Holy Grail of shoppers all over the world. The object that all who enter this subterranean world longingly search for but never expect to find. Perfection. The car space right next to the entrance.
Your gaze upon it in all its empty splendour, your hands gripped tightly around the wheel. Wreathed in a veil of gossamer produced by smoking supermarket employees waiting for the store to open, it sits there in all its glory.
A lot of the time this prize is not the easiest park to get into even though it may be the closest to the door. The fact that it may take you 5 mins to get into it rather then drive straight into one only two spaces down matters not. It’s all about the prestige of having that space. You can imagine yourself strolling back to the car, unlocking the door and hearing the astonished gasps of those around you. “He’s got the space!” you’ll here them say. I don’t car how long it takes to get in there I’m taking it.
Finally after all your toil and struggle you get in there and straighten up before looking up hoping to see a few onlookers enviously watching you pull in. You instead see something else.
FUCK! It’s a handicapped space!