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The bleak ballad of Wilson Parking

  • 10 June 2016


I have to take my contorted body into town for an early osteo appointment, but it's winter so I sleep through my alarm, so I'm running late, so my friend and I drive, so instead of finding street parking and walking the extra mile, we park in a commercial parking lot right round the corner from the clinic — and there's an early bird deal if you get in before 9.30am!

The osteo tells me what I already know, that I need to not spend ten hours in a row at the computer, that I need to stretch more, massage my muscles more, text less. I leave feeling better but also more or less the same, and I go back to the car so I can start my work day. When my friend and I get to the payment station of the car park, it says we owe 70 bucks, which can't be right because we got the early bird special which was a quarter of that, so, nah.

We call the parking lot people and say we can't pay $70 for a couple of hours' parking, that can't be right, and she says look at the fine print, it clearly states that the early bird deal only applies if you leave the car park after 3pm. It's still 11, and soon our parking fee will go up to 80 bucks, which better resembles a parking fine, and there it is in the fine print which it didn't occur to us to read when we saw the early bird rate advertised big and bright.

My friend says something vaguely threatening about the 'consumer watchdog' to the parking lot person, and I say 'look, we don't have the money right now,' which is true in the sense that, while I haven't checked my account, I'm fairly certain there's no spare $70 this week.

The person on the intercom says that for an extra $5 she can text me an invoice, but the osteo said I have to stop texting so much, and I am fairly certain there will never be a spare $70 to pay Wilson Parking, Wilson Parking being a subsidiary of a subcontractor of Transfield Services, which runs security at Nauru and Manus Island, so I grow petulant and say I'll wait til 3pm.

I can work anywhere, I think. What difference does it make that I have only paper and a pen, no computer, no thesis