Ah, the Met. That glorious event where brains are swapped for big hats, sweaty necks feel the unfamiliar constriction of silk ties and the annual suburban parking frenzy takes place.
I live a couple of blocks away from Kenilworth racecourse, so I am privileged to witness this peculiar spectacle every year. From late morning on the day of the Met, the normally quiet streets start to fill with all manner of vehicles. By lunch time, every legal space has been snapped up and just about every illegal space is gone, too. Bright young things in stiletto heels totter along the narrow streets, accompanied / supported by their partners, most of whom are kitted out in severely uncomfortable suits.
The festive atmosphere is enhanced by the fluttering of pink tickets that festoon cars that have been blithely parked directly under ‘No Parking’ signs, on red lines and so forth. As the day heats up, the all-pervasive aroma of horse manure permeates the air and it’s at this stage that the real jockeying for position starts as drivers attempt to squeeze their enormous 4×4 midlife-crisismobiles into spots that encroach on resident’s driveways.
This is puzzling. If these guys can afford to buy luxury cars, how come they are too cheap to spring for parking at one of the officially designated zones? Then again, maybe that’s the reason they can afford to buy luxury cars. A second question springs to mind: Do they seriously think they are exempt from the wrath of the traffic police when they try to bed their vehicles down in the fields of pink? Apparently they do, if the cursing is anything to go by, when they return several hours later.