Stuck in a parked car at midnight

I actually have a longer post partly drafted, but I don’t have the energy to finish and post it tonight.

Because tonight the daylight saving time changeover night, hence the night is one hour shorter anyway. Which infuriates me, because I hate daylight saving time. It does not conserve energy, which is why it was introduced, it causes a lot of unnecessary stress to babies, farm animals, sensitive humans and anyone dealing with train and flight time tables, TV schedules and anything else that gets messed up by an unnecessary time switch. The only people who actually like daylight saving time are those who like hanging around outside in the evening and frankly, I don’t see why lots of people should have to be subjected to unnecessary stress for the sake of those few people.

So down with daylight saving time!

In addition to the general annoyance of having an hour of night taken away (and I am a nightowl, so an hour of night is precious), I also had an extra annoyance tonight, because I was supposed to pick up my parents after a birthday party in the city center. Which wouldn’t have been a problem, except that the birthday party was on a river boat which made a sort of mini cruise on the river Weser. In fact, a river boat tour is a very nice idea for a birthday party, except that the mooring place of the boat is smack in the middle of the city center on one of the busiest restaurant and pub miles in town. You can’t even access the area by car, let alone park there.

According to the invitation, the boat was supposed to return to the quay at eleven PM. So I watched Return of the Jedi, which happened to be on TV tonight (no matter how often I’ve seen the films, I can always watch Star Wars), and set off in my car once the film was over. I arrived at the city center at approx. ten past eleven and found a not quite legal parking space as close to the quay as I could get. There was no sign of my parents, so I called my Dad’s mobile. “We’re still on board”, he said, “But the ship should moor in a few minutes.”

I told him where I was parked and waited. And waited. And waited. Loads of people walked past, coming from or heading to the bars and pubs. A homeless guy started showing in inordinate interest in me and my car. After twenty minutes or so I started getting nervous, especially since I was parking illegally. I tried calling my Dad again, but his mobile was dead. Eventually, I changed to a legal parking space on the other side of the road and waited some more. By now, it was almost midnight, I was seriously angry and I also needed to pee. And there was still no sign of my parents. I tried calling my Dad’s mobile again and this time he did answer. “The ship will moor in five minutes”, he said.

I’m seriously angry by now, so I say, “Well, where have you been? Helgoland? And couldn’t you bloody have called, so I don’t have to spend 45 minutes waiting in a bloody car?” And then, because I really just wanted to pee, I said, “If you’re not here in fifteen minutes max, you can take a taxi home.” When that bloody boat finally did moor, not quite fifteen minutes later, my parents ended up some 800 meters or so down the road and wondered where I was (which I had told them), so I had to drive and get them. They were waiting in front of the Bremen Hilton, so I went into the lobby and headed for the toilets. The boat, it turned out, had passed its mooring place and gone up the river for another hour. Still, they should have posted the correct return time on the invitation, so people wouldn’t be stuck waiting to pick up the guests.

When I was finally back in front of my computer, where I had wanted to be all along, it was almost one AM. Luckily, I had my trusty Moleskine notebook with me, so I could do some writing. But still, sitting in a car in the middle of the night in a not quite safe part of town for a full hour is not how I wanted to spend the evening.

There’s also some sad news to report: British fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones died yesterday aged 76. Unlike many SFF fans in the English speaking world, I only discovered Diana Wynne Jones as an adult. I’m pretty sure that the first work of hers I read was The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, purchased on the basis of a review in SFX back when SFX was still a pretty good genre mag.

Steepholm has a wonderful pictorial tribute to Diana Wynne Jones with some photos of a balloon flight over Bristol (found via Sartorias). Coincidentally, one of my header photos was taken in this very spot.

The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary will include common internet initialisms such as LOL, OMG and FYI as well as the very British initialism WAG. I can see the prescriptives up in arms already.

Yesterday also saw huge protests not just in the Middle East but also on the streets of Europe. In Britain, some 250000 people took to the streets to protest against the proposed spending cuts by the current Tory government. And in several German cities, more than 200000 people marched against nuclear power. I have a post on the anti nuclear power protests over at the ABC Buhlert blog, where I seem to be blogging about nuclear power and environmental topics of late. Well, since I have the blog function at ABC Buhlert, I figure I can do something with it once in a while.

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4 Responses to Stuck in a parked car at midnight

  1. Estara says:

    You have the patience of a saint. I WOULD have driven home. They could just as well have phoned a taxi service and I’d never have waited at that hour of the night in a lonely car – much too paranoid for that, me.

    • Estara says:

      Come to think of it – this is one bit where my eye troubles come in handy. I don’t drive after nightfall any more, because my eyes are too sensitized when they get the headlights of other cars shining in the night. I blink too much and can’t focus all that well.

      • Cora says:

        My Mom has similar problems and hasn’t driven at night in ages. I don’t particularly like driving at night either, but I can manage except for very long drives.

    • Cora says:

      Well I had promised to pick them up, though I didn’t think I’d have to wait for an hour. Luckily, the area wasn’t that lonely, though the homeless fellow who kept watching me was a little creepy.

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