Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Stresses of Life

Life is busy these days and I am pedaling as fast as I can to keep up. Monday the Costco trip, Tuesday a recovery day working on chairs, Wednesday a weird trip to town to get things for my new camera, today working as Carrie's gopher while she grouted the tiles in the bathroom ... and tomorrow I will be checking out wood for the siding for the house ... up in Kazabazua. Then MudMama arrives early Saturday morning from Nova Scotia. I am taking my aching back to yoga tonight to stretch it out so that I can sleep for a change.

Yesterday started out as a simple quick trip to town to get a memory card for the camera. It ended up becoming a somewhat comic horror show.

I turned down the side street off Bank and pulled into a diagonal parking space and then realized I had left my change at home. In front of me was a barber shop. Oh good, I thought, I'll get some quarters there. The shop was closed but it had a sign in the window announcing free parking in the lot behind the shop. I drove in and saw that most of the spaces had private parking signs, but a few did not have anything to indicate that they were rented out. I pulled in to one of these and went to the camera store. When I left Henry's I ran over to Wallack's for a very quick five minute purchase and then back to the car. It was completely blocked in by a Mazda. Shee-it!

I asked the carpenters standing by the very large truck outside Henry's back door if they had seen the owner of the car behind me. Yes. It was a woman. A nondescript woman. She apparently worked in the building and was planning to have me towed away. She had headed in the direction of the coffee shop on Bank.

I went into Tim Horton's and asked every single woman whether I had inadvertently taken her parking spot. None had any idea what I was talking about.

I went to Henry's and explained to the nice sales clerk what had happened and asked if he knew the landlord or someone responsible for the parking lot so that I could find out whose spot I had used. No one had any idea. The manager told me to check all the offices in the building.

Well, I went to every office on every floor and asked the same question. "Is there a woman working here whose parking spot I have taken by mistake?" Finally at the Green Party office a woman told me that the spot belonged to someone in the white building across the street.

Off I went to the white building asking my inane question. By now I sounded like some kind of wind-up doll. On the second floor a woman told me that it was someone who worked on the fifth floor. Up I went ... asking at every door. Nope. No luck. I descended floor by floor and someone on the third floor suggested I find the janitor whose name was Adrian.

Outside. I approached a likely looking man and was told that the janitor was much bigger and wore blue pants ... and might be in the basement. I went downstairs calling out, "Adrian? Adrian?" to no avail.

Back to the parking lot after a stop at the barber shop which was now open. The landlord was an unknown entity to the barber. He came around once a month to collect money.

So ... back into Henry's. This time the tight-lipped, squinty-faced woman manager who took herself extremely seriously said she would call the landlord (suddenly she had a means of contacting him) ... but she would have to go all the way downstairs to her office to do so (one flight of stairs and she must have been all of thirty years old) ... and, she warned me, I really should think about whether I wanted to draw attention to myself by phoning him. I looked at her in disbelief, and then said that my only other option was to call a friend to pick me up and then bring me back in the evening after the offices closed. By then my car would have been towed away. She grudgingly agreed to make the phone call.

I stood by my car waiting for her to re-emerge from the basement.

Suddenly another woman appeared. She asked if that was my car that was blocked. She knew the owner of the space ... a lawyer in her office. Yippee! She would send her over to move her car. After the last hour and a half of fruitless searching, I almost kissed the ground in front of her.

While I waited for the car's owner, the Henry's manager came back. The owner of the spot worked on the sixth floor of the white building, not the fifth. She gave me this information with considerably less grace than I showed her when I thanked her for her efforts.

Then the lawyer arrived and once again I was the epitome of graciousness and profuse apologies. She pointed out that the lot was private. I responded that only some spaces indicated that. She went to show me the big sign that said the whole lot was private and couldn't because the enormous carpenters' truck was blocking it. She moved her car and I drove to Tamarak's for a much needed cup of mint tea.

After tea I went back to the lake and sanity. I had a sandwich and then Kenya and I kayaked for an hour. Around the lake I paddled and Kenya swam with that lovely unhurried steady stroke of hers. We saw two young Mergansers and then flushed a mommy with a whole flotilla of little ones. We saw white plastic chairs that had blown off one of the docks and then, on the other side of the lake two brown wooden Muskoka chairs that were mired in mud. The kayak was not steady enough to attempt a rescue ... but if no one else wants them I would be happy to re- home them and paint them up for my deck. They would be fine mates for the one Tamarak and Carlos brought me the other day.

It took till late yesterday for me to get to the point where I realized that I would never have done what that lawyer did to me. I might have parked behind the offender but I would have left a note on the car to tell the person where to find me. I would never have caused anyone that much stress or trouble. How did she expect me to find her, I wonder. So ... a little belatedly ... I am ticked off. And ... I am very thankful that I live in a place where people are not so stressed out by life that they cannot treat people with kindness even when they make mistakes.

Oh well ... I do live here at the happy hermitage ... and tonight I will come home from yoga and stretch out in my bath tub and lull myself back into believing that this world is a wonderful place.


Pat said...

Signs that say "back in five minutes" are usually lies. "Open for business during construction" really means "you'll need a new muffler," and "no parking" or "private parking" means "eventual meet & greet with the locals."
Of course, without the downtown as a reference point, the country wouldn't seem nearly as quaint or community-oriented!

Barbara Carlson said...

What kind of people must be in that lawyer's life to make her feel she has to pass on such abuse?

But we all have power in something and need to use it gently.

Oma said...

But Pat, surely you or I or anyone else I know would have let the person who transgressed know where to find them rather than leaving them completely stranded. I had a much older car than she had and the bike rack on the back would have created some hell with her finish had I decided in frustration to try to barrel my way through her. And, if she had done that to someone as nasty as she was, he might well have done that!

Oma said...

Barbara ... yes indeed ...

Mud Mama said...

Hey mum, the stresses of life got to us - 30 resumes to get out by fax, an exam, and a forgotten term project, and so we're leaving saturday morning - see you in the wee hours of sunday!

Pat said...

Yes, you are right - I would have left a note on the car. However, I also wouldn't have parked there in the first place. I lived for six years in an apartment with obstructed parking (two spots for three cards). Being "trapped" by another vehicle is something I've experienced too many times. In any case, I suspect you'll think twice about non-standard parking situations in the future. It's just too bad that you lost 1.5 hours to boot!

Erin Kuhns said...

The fact that that woman is a lawyer should be your first clue...

(Ok, ok, any lawyers out there can chill out--I'm kinda joking!) Lol!