In my local town today chaos ruled. Roads were clogged up, parking was chocca, power cuts were randomly occurring and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking “Why the fuck did I come here today?”. It was my daughter’s weekly theatre school so had no other option. After dropping her off, I had to weave my way through the traffic to try and find somewhere to park so that I could locate somewhere warm to sit down and feed my baby son – but to no avail. A terribly British moment happened in the car park. Two cars ahead of me a woman sat in her jag with her indicator on clearly awaiting a space that was in the process of being vacated. This was fine until 5 minutes had passed, there was a line of cars stacking up behind me and the old dear was still nowhere near the parking space. Baby boy was kicking off in the back that it was getting dangerously close to feed time and my patience wasn’t hanging around to find out if she managed to park or not. My hand was hovering over the horn (a very un-British gesture in more ways than one) when, to my surprise, she lowered her window and appeared to be asking someone if they were leaving or not.
My eyes then tried to locate the person she was talking to and I saw a chap in a Land Rover sat in the driving seat very obviously showing no intention of driving anywhere (must have been waiting for the wife to end her shopping spree). Grrrrr, that bloody woman had been sat there all this time waiting for someone (who wasn’t going anywhere) to leave. Meanwhile chaos ensued behind her. She was too British to dare to ask from the outset whether the man was leaving and he was too British to say to her that he wasn’t going. I marvel at what limits some people go to in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves. This woman seemed to be oblivious to all the negative attention she was getting to her rear as she then proceeded to crawl at a snail’s pace as she continued her hunt for a space.
I gave up and decided to default to plan B – a nearby leisure centre with four parent friendly features: high chairs, baby change, soft play and coffee. I get through the traffic, park up (baby boy now really hungry) walk to the front of the building which for some reason is packed with people only to discover from one of the young members of staff that there has been a power cut and no-one is allowed in.GREAT! Try explaining that to an over-hungry 1 year old!
I then noticed on my way back through town various other establishments without lights so didn’t know where to go next. As it was dry I defaulted to the good old fashioned playground and it was great to be away from the chaos around the roads and shops – all because one road, albeit a crucial one, had been closed because of utility works (hence the powercut). I thought about the effects of Sandy across the pond and in particular one blogger (http://memyselfandkids.wordpress.com/) who has been without power for days. It is fascinating to get an insight into how it has affected his family compared to the generic news of the disaster on TV. Its amazing how one little mishap can tip the scales from a typical day to one in which you wished you’s stayed in bed. But chaos on the scale of Storm Sandy is hard to comprehend both in Britain because of our population density and in developing worlds such as Haiti, a country that doesn’t have the power to lose in the first place (in more ways than one). Lets hope everyone can return to some sense of normality soon.
I am blogging every day for Unicef – if you can help, particularly with their Haiti campaign following Sandy, please visit the fundraising website.
Thanks for reading.