A small incident, about a week back, which nonetheless made me smile – and also highlighted how gender is at work in almost every situation we find ourselves plunged into.
Out and about in Stamford: a heeling process and good for the sole. Literally: my pair of comfortablest boots had sprung a leak and needed urgent repair and, now that i am investing in decent footwear, i am also prepared to spend a little on keeping the good stuff going.
I digress. I pulled up on Broad St which, as its name suggests, is rather broad. My preferred tactic is to sit patiently in my car until such time as a space becomes free.
Occasionally, i have to endure the irritation of other drivers with rather less patience, who appear to take no notice of the fact that there is a sort of orderly queue for spaces…and jump in, ahead of people who have been waiting a lot longer.
And then there are those who stop behind you, when clearly you are going nowhere and are indicating in, anyway. They hang around a couple of minutes, look cross, swerve out from behind and dash off angrily down the street.
Like: huh! Its their own daftness that caused them to do all that. Not me.
Anyway, this time round, i noticed an elderly lady pulling out a few cars ahead and…a large lorry instantly inched forward and blocked off the empty space. Then sat there.
By the time i managed to park, i observed that the lorry, together with its two newspaper reading occupants, was going nowhere: just blocking a total of two spaces.
So i wandered up. Not aggressive. Not hostile. No, sir.
The driver wound down his window and before i could say a word called out: “what’s up, dear?”
(“Dear!” Should i be outraged or charmed?).
And when i asked why they were blocking off parking spaces, he explained, possibly not entirely reasonably, that they had a load of scaffolding to pick up and, rather than carry it to the lorry, they were trying to create a run of three empty spaces in which to park it (and thereby save themselves about five yards of carrying in total).
Personally, i think it was a wheeze to enable them to sit in the cab on a cold day and not do their job.
But i certainly didn’t volunteer that view: and that was, indeed, that.
Which left me, first, amused, amazed, that in an everyday, mundane encounter with a member of the building class, i appear to have passed. wow!
Second is the complete lack of confrontation. I’m good at being smiley and non-confrontational nowadays. But i think being a woman helps somewhere along the line.
As the guy wound his window down, there was the merest frisson on my part – a hung over memory from pre-transition days – and while i wasn’t all that confrontational then, i DO suspect that a bloke asking some builders why they were double parked would have been asking for trouble.
Another day, another gentle notch.
I enjoy these moments.