We live in a Lancashire mill town built on a hill. Nothing here is straight, as my husband found to his chagrin when he hung the curtain rail in our dining room. He'd studiously measured it from the top of the front window. Its slope irritates me every day.
Our local Tesco Metro is no exception. The parking spaces are small and, due to the shape of the site, at various strange angles which make getting small children in or out of the car very difficult. There are two Parent and Child spaces.
I pulled up in the rain this afternoon in search of bread and milk, both kids in the back. T has spent a couple of days in hospital with an infection and croup and is going a bit stir crazy. He's taken to shouting 'trump' at the top of his voice (thank you ever so much Tyler in bed six) and running in circles. I decided to use shopping as a distraction and assembled the children side by side in the trolley.
As I was selecting the right one (two straps in full working order, not smelling of wee, no miscellaneous papers in the bottom) a red BMW pulled up next to me in the other P&C space. A lone woman got out. I've had a pretty shitty week.
'Excuse me, do you know that's a Parent and Child space?'
'Sorry?' said the woman, and she started backing away. OK, I admit I had post baby-swimming hair and a toddler with sausage-face but I'm pretty sure I'm not the type of person people cross the street to try and avoid.
Louder now. 'That space there, it's for parents and children'
The woman stopped. 'Oh' she said, 'I have a child ... in the store'. She pointed.
Mortified, I apologised. I wittered about how difficult it was to get two children from car to trolley safely, how the bigger spaces really help and, when I looked up, this time she had disappeared.
I walked around Tesco. It's not a big store. As we chose just the right amount of broccoli (enough to be cooked and thrown on the floor but not too much that it goes off in the fridge) she browsed the greetings cards. No child. As we argued over who was going to hold the bread she picked up milk. No child. As we went in search of Mini Milk ice-lollies she was having a conversation and blocking the aisle. Still no child.
We paid for our shopping, on parallel tills, at around the same time and as I walked back to the car I saw her pause in the shop doorway. Getting two children unstrapped and into the car when one insists actually he'd quite like to drive takes rather a long time. Both restrained, I returned my trolley. The woman was still standing in the doorway. She looked at me and quickly looked away.
I got in the car and reversed from the space. Glancing up, red BMW woman was still watching me. In fact, she was peeking her head around the supermarket door. I negotiated a taxi and followed the one way system around. Stuck behind another vehicle I looked back. In spy mode, the woman stuck her head out, checked the coast was clear and darted (looking behind her all the time) back to her car (still no child of course) and closed the door. I imagined her safely inside, slightly out of breath, relieved she'd got away with it.
Yes love. You parked in a space designed for people who need it. Then you lied about it. Then you hid until I'd gone so you weren't found out. This from a grown woman.
Pathetic. Utterly pathetic.
Although I do admit to having a bit of a laugh at your expense.