The Mercedes Mystery
And the prophets foretold that in the far distant future a Shining Silver Machine would appear, overnight, a gleaming thing of Joy and Wonder among the murky coloured micras and the grubby white vans, and the Street would truly be transformed by its glorious Presence, and all would look upon the Miracle with thankful eyes…
…apart from the person whose parking space it had taken as it fell from the heavens.
All right, strictly, I suppose, it's not actually my parking space, apart from the fact that it is the spot that is directly outside my house. And also I consider it my right, as a driver without power steering, to have priority to this particular space, as it's directly next to a driveway so I don't have to wrench my arms out of their sockets and attempt a parallel park with an interested audience twitching their curtains. I can also gaze upon this hallowed spot from the spare room window, and give Coco a little wink every so often so she doesn't get too lonely out there. It's nice for a little car to feel appreciated, after all. The poor girl hasn't really got that much going for her otherwise.
And for a while, this worked. Coco sat happily outside the window, for the most part. Occasionally, she and I would find somebody else had coasted into our spot, and there were a few times when she ended up nose to nose with an entirely undesirable van, but these are after all, formative life experiences, and she doesn't seem to have suffered unduly from them.
But that was all back in the halcyon days of Before Merc. Literally overnight, this silver beast dropped from the skies, and we woke one morn about five weeks ago to find it twinkling outside our house. And it has not moved since.
At first, it was a bit of local interest. It added a bit of glamour and speculation to our humdrum lives. I mean, it's not everyone who has a whacking great Mercedes Benz appear outside their house now, is it? However, gradually, the charm wore off. Every morning now, we wake to feel its presence looming outside our closed curtains, and have to look away from its scrutiny as we lock the door every night. It is immovable, unchanging in wind and weather, and we are powerless against it. Coco and I even have to respectfully change down a gear as we pass its presence in case we graze its silver sheen, and the two of us remain in perpetual fear of overstepping the boundaries of courtesy as we try to parallel park near its large shiny body.
What we are desperate to know, but do not dare to ask, is when will it leave? When can we return to our cheerful pursuit of carelessly dodging round little two door metros and fiestas without its eternally threatening presence? When, in fact, can we cease to live in fear? It's been sitting there for over a bloody month now, and hasn't moved once. It doesn't appear to belong to anybody. More importantly, it's hogging my parking space, in the way a car with no claim to the house it sits beside and probably power power power steering has no right to do. Besides, it makes Coco feel inadequate. Look, I tell her, it's got nothing on you. You are beloved of an honest woman, and although you may have only a teeny engine and battered white paintwork, you are so valued that all that ceases to be important.
So, you see, having a nice shiny mystery vehicle brightening up the street is all very well, but now it's just plain annoying, for many reasons. I'm just waiting for the second Miracle to occur – the one where it disappears as mysteriously as it came. (And although we never hear of it, it's found by the police three nights later, burnt out and dumped at the bottom of the Sydenham Industrial Estate.)
But all that Coco and I care about is that it never flashes its glossy chasse in our parking spot again.