There are a few jobs where you probably have to be a sociopath to be able to sustain doing it really well. Traffic Warden is in that list. This wasn’t even my money in the long run and it’s eminently contestable. But the events company were almost like “nah it’s not worth the hassle, we’ll just pay the fine.”

We all went to Hyde Park. IT WAS WORK. I was sitting with the car when I got a call. I needed to go and look after Booboo, the needy dachshund. Booboo was in the park. I needed to leave the car and put some money in the meter.

So I went to work out the system with the parking machine. You put in the last few digits of your numberplate. Then you insert a card. Then you wait. Then you wait. Then you wait. Eventually the machine behaves as if it has done its job, and no ticket comes out. So you do it again. This time it tells you you have been declined. Then you check your Monzo account to find that both transactions have come out of your balance. So you leave a note on your car saying “I have already paid twice and the machine is broken. The money has been debited from my account.” And you get into the park because there is a dachshund that needs you. At that stage you are willing to give a fiver to Royal Parks for nothing so you aren’t that bothered about paying twice. They help maintain beautiful places.

But then some illiterate clodhopper slaps a ticket on you despite the note and despite you having paid twice. And your old friend RAGE comes in. My biggest rage instigator comes when I get punished for something that I didn’t do. I used to frequently nightmare that I was being wrongly executed. Maybe a past life. Who knows. Anyway, it pisses me off. So RAGE. And I go looking for the attendant, who thankfully for both of us is nowhere to be seen. Chump.

Irrespective of whose pocket it’s coming out of, I was willing to go to Birmingham with a mob of chanting villagers carrying torches and pull out all the people at Royal Parks head office to tar and feather them while chanting “I paid twice. I paid twice.” But Kester just calmly says “Don’t worry. Just imagine that Royal Parks makes you pay £40 to park, but they don’t announce it. You just find out later. We’ve budgeted loads of money for parking. We can pay it.” YES BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT. I PAID. TWICE! Why should the production company pay a fine? Or anyone? I would sooner contest that fine, make sure the attendant doesn’t get his bastard commission, and then donate 40 quid to Royal Parks.

So many fines are issued in this city in the full knowledge that they are wrongly issued, knowing that people will take the path of least resistance and just pay the reduced rate rather than paying double. Contest them! Back when I first moved here I paid hundreds of pounds in fines before I became a ninja at getting off wrongly issued ones. This is one of those. But I don’t work in the office, I work on the road for this gig. Although I think Steve in the office has caught on that this is retrievable, as he asked me to send the photos. He should go for the extra fiver as well. I’ll have words with him tomorrow. I went off fully intending to fight it, and telling Kester I would pay if I lost. Steve, out of the blue, asked me to send the details. It’s their credit card, so that makes more sense…

Anyway I was paid today to sit by the Serpentine with a dog. The dog needed constant hands on comfort because she could see her sitter on the water and she wanted to try to swim past all the pedalos and join him. She was a needy doggy. With her little fat legs she wouldn’t swim ten foot, but she was willing to try it anyway. Nothing if not ambitious, this hound. I approve of the ambition if not so much the neediness. Still I was willing to roll around with her a bit while we waited. Especially on such a glorious day. Long may this heatwave continue. Particularly since I have a fridge on the fire escape and need to work out how the hell to get it into my flat before it rains. The fire escape door proved too narrow and Brian and I have been too busy since I got it up there with Jitz the Romanian…

Anywhere. Here’s the dog. She’s got the title. False advertising. She might as well get the photo too.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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