Never, not once, when I was not a parent did it cross my mind to park in a parent and child parking bay. You know, those ones with extra space for ease of access usually located near to the doors of shops or hostelries with large signs of children and parents painted within or even fashioning signs that suggest people with children should park here. For those of you who are adept at exiting your car through the sunroof and magically removing your off-spring and perhaps even the car seat in the same manner, this post is not for you. However, for everyone else, I imagine you will feel my pain.
Take the other day for example. Like other swimming days, we made our way to the car park where there is parking allocated for parents or those transporting children. My instinct, as you'd expect, was to find a spot where there was ample room to open my car door to remove my child without the need to maintain a grip on said door so as not to clip the adjacent vehicle whilst also removing the little lady. Invariably, these parent parking spaces are taken and I drive to a spot where no one else has parked-up to be able to do just as I describe above. Today, maybe through sheer luck, we managed to get ourselves a parent parking space. As the little lady was asleep, I decided to wait for a while. I was at first struck by the number of cars already parked in the parent parking. My naivety suggested that it may be a surge of healthy parents already in the changing rooms set for a splash session with their child. As this isn't a usual event, I shouldn't have been surprised when the following happened and I could only watch on agog.
In the vacant space (parent parking I might remind you) came and parked a pool attendant. Out of his car, he sprung and made his jolly way to work. Now, this is not the only time I have seen this happen. Granted it's usually an office worker in her Jaguar avoiding the parking fees imposed by the council on town car parks, but today was different; today it was an employee of the leisure centre. I was incensed.
I complained to the leisure centre in question and they have 'spoken with their employee'. I've no doubt he'll do it again and, in fact, if I find myself in need of a poolside rescue, I suspect I may need to become self sufficient but I can rest a little easier tonight knowing that I stood up for all of us who can't shimmy out of the sunroof, child in tow, and for those of us who do care about the parents who might just need that space.
I don't believe parents in cars have a divine right to separate parking spaces near to the entrances of any establishment but I do assert that when a space has been designated for a purpose, it shouldn't be used by someone who doesn't require it for any other reason than laziness. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!