I’m on my Vespa normally five days a week. Having never been on two-wheels for any significant length of time until about 3 or 4 years ago, I was absolutely delighted with myself for making the switch.
But on weekends, my vehicle of choice changes from the Vespa to the family car. OK, not by choice but more out of necessity because believe me, if it was legal to drive my family around on the Vespa, I would. It’s quite easy really and definitely not entirely impossible as shown by the many brave (read: deranged) motorcyclist back home in the 80’s.
A combination that would suit my family would consist of Mummy and Daddy riding two-up legally as normal and sane people would. Of course, this wouldn’t do for me because I’ve got three kids. So, the eldest who’s seven, can sit behind Mummy and our 3-year old boy has the pleasure of being squeezed between Mummy and Daddy. Naturally, this is for “safety” reasons as the boy clearly has a weaker grip and the sister, who has a far superior sense of balance, a better chance of surviving any awkward turns.
The youngest at one year-old this month can either try to fit into the glovebox or stand on the frame while holding on to the legshields. As an added “safety” feature, I could tie a piece of rope around him and have that fasten on to the helmet hook. Genius!
Now, you might ask why I would risk the lives of my family members, just to get on the Vespa every day of the week? Well the short answer is parking. In a car, especially on weekends you’d spend half your day looking, searching endlessly like zombies across plains of tarmac for that Lottery-winning equivalent – a free parking spot. Even if you’re lucky enough to find one, they’d be at least two other cars laying claim to the spot which is a different story altogether!
Thankfully, in civilised Ireland (and in certain pockets of sanity in Malaysia), shopping centres and other places of interest have Parent and Child parking spots that in an instant reduces the odds for finding a parking space. If you have kids, you’d understand how important these designated spaces are to your mental well-being.
Unfortunately, very much like Gotham City, Dublin particularly has its fair share of psychotic individuals although these ones don’t overdo it in the make-up department and normally, wouldn’t even fit into tights or penguin suits. Like zombie hordes, these people (if you can call them that) are determined to convert parents all around the world into equally psychotic versions of themselves.
Their modus operandi: take up all the Parent and Child spots around the city or even worse, park their cars at such an angle as to take-up two parking spaces at the same time. How these people manage to do this even with a Mini or a Fiat 500 is beyond me. Truly, the work of the dark arts I tell you.
Anyway, unlike taking up a space designated for the disabled (yes, they are a good few out there who commit this evil deed), it’s not actually illegal to take up Parent and Child spots.
Since vigilantism seems to be all the rage this spring/summer, I’d like to join in the crowd and play my part by avenging all the parents and children who have suffered at the hands of the evil hordes that take up their parking spaces and selfishly take up two parking spaces (bling bling Hummers and Escalades included)!
I might not wear grey lycra tights and my black underwear on the outside. I might consider wearing a cape or a hood to cover my real identity. Considering the world we live in today, I might have to reject applications from any young male teens to tag along with me in my adventures (especially those who have a tendency to run around in green Speedos).
But, what I will most certainly do is SCRATCH the cars that commit the above non-civic deeds to parents and children around the city, the country and the world! Like Zorro, I will leave a mark of shame on these vehicles so that they will know that they have committed a crime against civilised human beings. Unlike the famous swordsman, they’ll be long scratches, visible enough to the naked eye yet nothing too drastic to require a re-spray. Just plain annoying to the car’s owner.
Beware evil-doers. The ChipMan is here!!!