Monday, 27 June 2011

Outlook on car parking and humour

Don’t you just love Microsoft Outlook? I’m completely sold on the way it tells me what I should be doing at any time. ‘Meeting in Leicester in fifteen minutes’ it warns me when I’m already sitting in the room. The alert tone always worries me, as though I’d forgotten something, but when I find that I’m already doing what I should be, the sense of blessed relief is nothing short of wonderful.

What could possibly be more reassuring than an alert that confirms you’ve got things right? Thank you, Mr Gates, for having provided a small comfort in a world usually so perturbing.

I was badly perturbed this morning. I drove to the station and into the car park. I don’t usually try to find a spot on the first floor because it’s usually full, but I thought I’d try it for once, just on the off-chance my luck was in.

It wasn’t. The only free spaces were for mothers and children or handicap card holders only. I drove down the dip at the end of the floor and up the other side, and decided to try my luck again on that level.

It was no better. In fact, to my surprise, the only empty spaces were again all handicapped or mother and children’s. ‘Amazing,’ I thought to myself, ‘how many floors have they reserved spaces on?’

Down I went again and back up again, and as I drove past exactly identical handicapped and mother and children’s spaces, a nasty suspicion began to form in my mind.

A nightmare
Had I wandered into some nightmare world where all the floors of the multi-storey car park were identical? Would I be condemned to drive from floor to identical floor, never finding a spot?

Or worse still, had the car park shrunk, the previous five floors coming down to just one? That was a fear that received reinforcement when I caught sight of the sign saying ‘level 1’. Still ‘level 1’? Despite having gone up twice?

But then it slowly dawned on me that all I had done by going up was to make up for the fact that the end of each level went down half a floor. I hadn’t managed actually to climb a level. There was one further moment of panic when it occurred to me that the up ramp had disappeared, the only explanation I could at first accept for my having failed to see it before, but then I spotted it, drove up, found a space and parked.

What a relief. As good as an Outlook reminder, really.

Not as good though as the supreme compliment I was paid in Kharkov last week.

Friends from abroad have occasionally congratulated me on my ‘British’ sense of humour. At one level this is genuinely flattering, because British humour enjoys a generally good reputation internationally. At another level, however, it has a backhanded quality, as though to say ‘quite funny, but a bit weird – the British are like that, aren’t they?’

So it was particularly gratifying to be told last week that my sense of humour was ‘Ukrainian.’

Nothing ambiguous about that, is there? Surely no one can bestow a higher accolade than to describe a foreigner as being up to the standards of their own nation?

Why that’s even better than the best Mr Gates can do, and more than makes up for any sense of inadequacy in my handling of car parks.

1 comment:

Angel Rio said...

It’s a classic great for me to go to this blog site, it offers helpful suggestions auto body lift