Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Angel at the Meter

Exhausted. Let Littlun go to Granny's for the day, as she seemed to be getting better, little by little, and I needed a break. So off to Belfast City Centre, found the perfect parking space, as close as could be hoped for between the two places I wanted to go, and right beside a parking meter. I thought I was "on the pig's back", till I realised the meter didn't want to accept my card, and I didn't have two £1 coins. I tried to phone, but the number on the meter didn't seem to be working. The guy behind me wanted to pay for his parking using coins, so I let him go ahead, while I redialled. He said, "How long are you wanting to park for?"
"A couple of hours", I said, pushing the buttons on my phone.
"Here," he said, putting £2 in my hand. "We won't need it, we're heading back to Ireland."

I can't decide what this moment is. Gratitude. A moment of grace. But it's also of humour and the sense of living somewhere really bizarre... How can you be heading "back to Ireland" whilst standing on the island of Ireland? He meant "back to the Republic", or "back to the South." He meant, we're going to Euroland, where these pounds stirling are clutter in my pocket.
I thanked him, and watched him disappear down the road.
It's not a pig's back I'm on... an angel, momentarily transporting me and my values to a different kingdom...
p.s. I still didn't have £2 to buy the Issues magazine from the Romanian woman. Is there any cure for the condition of my heart?


John Self said...

Sorry to return to the prosaic, but those machines almost never accept cards. About one in four, I reckon. Fortunately if you try about three and then spot a red-jacketed 'parking attendant', they'll usually take a note of your number plate and let you off paying.

Wondering said...

There's a phone number on the meters. If the meter's not working, you're supposed to phone the number, apparently... Should be quicker than waiting for the traffic wardens... You know what that's like. Never there when you want one, but if you're running late, there will be hoards on every street corner!