One fine day
 
Last Friday, getting into my car after leaving my office, I noticed a little pink slip on my window shield. Much as I hate getting leaflets from take aways and gymnasiums stuck onto my car, this time I was really hoping that someone was offering me an extra order of fries or a monthís membership at half price. But I feared the worstÖsomething more expensive than a doner and even less digestible.
 
Sadly, my fears were well founded. The pink slip was, as youíve no doubt already guessed, a traffic fine. The little slip of paper noted that I was parked on the pavement. This was, sadly, true. Two of my four wheels were on the pavement. I know, I should be ashamed of myself. Though I think most Cypriots would ask: ďBut isnít that how youíre supposed to park?Ē
 
Let me explain. Something that I find almost as annoying as receiving a fine is driving aimlessly for twenty minutes trying to park within walking distance of my office. I try every little side road, to no avail, before plonking my car wherever I find. But with streets being narrow and with some drivers in Cyprus lacking somewhat in distance perception skills, I need to get my car out of harmís way. This means having to place half my car on the pavement, meaning that only half of it can be smashed up by a passing car, in the way my fatherís was last year. 
 
More recently, my motherís side mirror was smashed by a careless driver. She told me of how, in the old days, many cars didnít have side mirrors. People back then would simply stick their head out and look behind them. This is simply not possible today unless death by decapitation is your thing. Sadly, even if it is, you can only get to do it once.
 
To anyone who might think that parking my car means that passers-by canít walk on the pavement I say fiddlesticks (preferably expensive Italian ones). The potholes and cracks and trees that are already there have ensured that no one can walk down our pavements. If anything, it is safer to walk on the roads- certainly, there are fewer potholes.  
 
I donít enjoy getting a fine for parking outside my office, where there is no double yellow line (or even a single yellow line), then driving home and having some idiot block me by going the wrong way down a one way street or having someone cut across in front of me on the right turn lane then deciding to go left just when the green arrow lights up. Why donít they fine these people? Why donít they fine all those kids who tune their motorbikes so that when the engine is revved it sounds like an industrial strength pneumatic drill is boring a hole through the side of my head?
 
Equally, I would like to know where I am expected to park in a town without parking spaces. Shops and restaurants which should provide parking for their customers do not. Office blocks have underground parking areas, but many of these have been converted into gyms (yep, the ones that put little flyers on my car). This means that people invariably park outside my office, or outside my house, or in the middle of the road, or on the pavement, the zebra crossing or on the roundabout (although that looked like it was an accident). It means that I have to circle around my office for nearly half an hour before I see a parking space, or before I see a parking space being taken up by someone (if that was you and I cursed you, Iím sorry. Donít take it personally- recently I have a lot of pent-up anger coming out). And then I decide to take my chance. If Iím unlucky and a policeman passes, Iíll invariably get fined.
 
So Iíve given up. Iím simply working on things I can tell the traffic wardens when they begin to write me up. Good things might include ďThere goes my charity budget for the whole weekĒ and ďDidnít I see you at a family reunion lately?Ē. Bad things could include ďCan I have the fine in a colour that doesnít clash with my car?Ē

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