Saturday 26 September 2015

A tale of patience and courtesy

I suspect that many of you will be able to relate to this tale (some of which is based on true events).

Washington White-Rabbit and his long-time best friend Betilda Blue-Bird were travelling to the city of Depping by car.

Betilda was at the wheel this time (they always elected to go in turns -- and Washington had driven on the last occasion).

Although the city of Depping was fairly small and suburban in nature, its central hub was notorious for its traffic and congestion.

In particular, Depping's main carpark, the Doles carpark, was regularly flooded with anxious and desperate people who would do almost anything to secure a parking space.

The pair had been waiting in the Doles carpark for over half an hour and by this time, Betilda and Washington were well and truly fed-up.

"We've been here so long Washington. It's just SO infuriating. People keep cutting in."
yelled Betilda in frustration.

"Yes it is Betilda, yes it is. But it's not your fault though. 
Everyone seems to be in a hurry to find a spot."
sighed Washington.

(The following diagram is a depiction of the situation - the blue dot being Betilda's car)

At that very instant, a Green car was reversing out of its spot.

"Washington, look! Someone's coming out."

"That's great Betty! You'll signal right won't you?"

"Yep, Yep."

"Yes, that's good Betilda, you're almost there."
encouraged Washington.

"Thanks. I'll have to slow down and wait for this car to pass us though."

"Yeah, good idea."

"Good job Betilda. Are you okay for the reverse parking?"

"Yeah I'm OK, I'll be fine this time - thanks Washington."

(Betilda would often ask Washington to reverse the car for her in high-pressure situations, but on this occasion she was confident - she had been secretly practising. Reverse parking was previously her weak point, and with it now mastered she was no longer afraid of driving.)

With a full calmness of mind, Betilda began to turn her steering wheel to the right.




Then, out of nowhere, the unspeakable happened.

screamed Betilda Blue-Bird and Washington White-Rabbit in exact unison.

A random car, out of nowhere, had just decided to help itself to the space Betilda Blue-Bird was reversing into. 

"But I signalled! Why?"
asked a shattered Betilda.

As always, Betilda looked to her best friend for answers. She felt that this incident could make her lose her confidence in driving again.

Washington White-Rabbit just stared at her blankly, his face was a pale white.

"I... I honestly don't know. I feel like we've been robbed."

"Did I do something wrong?!"
asked an anxious Betilda.

Betilda's confidence was dented.

Washington paused for a few breaths.

"No, it wasn't your fault at all. You were doing a good job. 
That red car cut in line. 
He wasn't here before, and he knew we were here before him."
explained White-Rabbit.

Betilda breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that she hadn't done anything wrong. 

But there was obviously something else that was bothering her.

"But that's so unfair, why would anyone do something like that?"

"I don't know... I don't know but...

...I suppose that's life for you isn't it?"

Now, unbeknownst to the pair (who were so caught up with the injustice of what they had just witnessed), an orange car had pulled up alongside Betilda's car and the driver was winding down his window while the two were talking.

"Hey, how long have you folks been here for?"
inquired the stranger from the orange car.

"We've been here about close to 40 minutes. Someone cut into our spot.
moaned Washington.

"And I signalled too, the guy over there was so rude."
said Betilda, pointing in the direction of the offender.

"Sorry to hear that. 
I've been driving around for nearly an hour myself. No one has let me in either."
moped the stranger.

At that moment, a pink car made its way out from its lot, not far away from where the two cars sat.

"Finally. THIS IS OURS!!'
shouted Betilda Blue-Bird

"Yes, let's go!"
exclaimed Washington White-Rabbit

Just as Betilda was about to ram onto the accelerator, she stopped the car hard in its tracks - pressing onto the brakes instead. 

She had a strange frown on her face.

She didn't need to explain. 

Washington understood.

"Hey, my friend, you've been here longer than us. You go on and take that spot."
said Washington to the stranger, gesturing to the vacant parking spot.

The stranger hesitated.

"Go on, I mean it!!"
nodded Washington.

"I thought you were going to take it. A-Are you sure? I'm fine if you do."
said the stranger, who was slightly confused by what he had just seen and heard.

"Yes, it's all good. Please, after you."
said Betilda cheerfully, who, being in the driver's seat, had made a special effort to tilt her head and raise her voice so that the stranger could hear her.

"Thank you - thank you so much."

And with that, the Orange car happily drove into the vacant lot.

"Let's just get out of this place Betilda. 
Why don't we try Westwood instead?"

smiled Betilda.

Andre Lim
26 September 2015


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