Hello, My Name Is Dave…

We popped into town today to sort a few things. Wil has a penchant for parking in the NCP Car Park which wreaks of piss. Knowing him well I preempted his choice of parking locale by asking him to park in another car park which also happened to be closer to where I wanted to go in town. He grumbled and refused ‘because it would be full’. I grumbled back that I wasn’t happy about parking in NCPiss. Not only is it where the lowest forms of life gather to relieve their bladders but you have to step over half of them, lying around drunk on the pavement begging for money on the way in and out of the building. A minor domestic broke out in the car where we argued over the preference of car parks while Cameron interjected randomly with off topic blips which went something like this:

Me: Can we park at the Buttermarket please?
Wil: No, it’ll be full
Me: Oh don’t go to the NCP
Wil: Ren, the others will be full
Me: They won’t! I always park in the Buttermarket
Cam: I really liked those hotels you used to stay in in Wokingham Wil
Wil: Why can’t you just let me park at the NCP
Me: Because it stinks of piss in there, it’s filthy
Wil: All car parks are filthy
Me: Yes, but they don’t all stink like a thousand tramps took a piss in them
Cam: We should get a Bose stereo, why don’t we get one with an iPod dock? We could all listen to our music all over the house
Wil: Here we go.. Buttermarket Car Park – OH LOOK
Me: OH LOOK… IT’S FULL – what on earth gave you the idea to park here on a Saturday eh? You MUPPET
Cam: HA HA you’re a muppet Wil, YEAH WIL you MUPPET
Wil: Shut up Cameron
Me: Oh what about…
Wil: NO.. we’re going to the NCP

Once we’d wedged our car in a space conveniently sized like a toilet cubicle in the NCP we exited the building via the piss smelling stairwell which wreaked of, unsurprisingly, PISS. I used my foot to shove open the heavy red double doors leading out on to the street. Wil caught the door with his hand to hold it open and Cam remarked that he’s probably just touched someones wee.

When we returned from town and after clambering over the drunken people on the path Wil produced the parking payment ticket and inserted it into the machine in order to pay for the parking. Only, upon taking the ticket and taking payment from our debit card it then spat our bank card out (onto the floor) and kept the parking ticket so we had no way of getting our car out of  the building.

With no on site staff to help with the problem and now having taken over one of only two available payment machines in the building we were a bit stuck. A long line of people waiting to pay began to form behind us and watched as we stood pushing buttons and looking around for help. Then I spied a button on the machine labelled ‘HELP’.

I pressed the button and it began to make a phone call which everyone around us could hear bellowing from the speaker. The payment screen was replaced by a little cartoon character looking confused like he needed help. We could identify. After a short stint of cheesy elevator music and a soothing womans voice telling us we were ‘being held in a queue’ a deep voice broadcast out of the speaker grabbing the attention of several people still stood around using the other payment machine.

‘HELLO, THANK YOU FOR CALLING NCP, YOU’RE SPEAKING TO DAVE’ said the voice in a tired broad Essex accent.

Wil glanced around the lobby and everyone watched to see how he was going to react. Was this crazy man about to talk to a machine? He was.

“ER.. Hello Dave” he replied with an uncomfortable grimace… and then in true Kitcher overdramatised style he gave a long winded story about how he’d parked in the piss smelling car park – the one we’d chosen over the cleaner Buttermarket option, had been and done a bit of shopping, returned, arrived at the machine, was reminded of the time when, as a baby his legs were really skinny and his mum was embarrassed so she kept them covered up with a blanket which somehow has resulted in his debit card having been charged and his ticket failing to reappear from the paid ticket slot which meant WE MIGHT NEVER LEAVE THIS PLACE with our car and er, so, “Dave, can you help?”

There was a long pause wherein I thought Dave either pondered an identical tragic story that his own mother had embarrassed him with in front of people a thousand times over in his life or where, like the rest of us do, he just had to filter the pertaining facts out of the story he’d just been privy to; and then he spoke.

“So you paid for your ticket, got your bank card back but not your ticket?”

Wil, quietly impressed at the way Dave cut straight to the point agreed and then began a small episode whereby the machine carried out a lot of whirring and ticking. Slots lit up and went dull again and Dave appeared to be tapping around on a keyboard, then he spoke.

“How much was your ticket?
It doesn’t look like it’s charged your debit card..
Your ticket is stuck inside the machine…. right, lets see here”

Dave’s voice was rumbling very clearly from a small round speaker just above the screen. The whole thing became slightly surreal as suddenly a white ticket shot out of the slot and into Wil’s knee before landing on the floor.

Wil picked the ticket up and inspected both sides of it.

“Did you get that ticket?” Dave asked

“Yes” said Wil

“Throw it in the bin” instructed Dave

Wil looked perplexed, turned and threw it in the bin on the wall next to the machine and awaited the next instruction.

“Have you thrown it in the bin?” asked Dave

“Yes” replied Wil looking pleased with himself.

Dave went quiet and the machine clattered about a bit more. Wil began looking around the sides of the machine and over to the line of people who were queuing out of the door of the lobby waiting to pay. One lady had begun videoing us with her phone. Wil inspected some of the slots on the front of the machine more closely and while pointing at the machine mouthed in a loud whisper

“Is he actually sitting INSIDE the machine?” which was funny but altogether a possibility we couldn’t discount.

With the scene slightly akin to the beginnings of a Derren Brown trick unfolding, two more white cards shot out of the machine and Wil took them from the slot. According to Dave one of these would get us out of the car park. He continued “it’s what we like to call ticket roulette”.

With a sinking feeling of helplessness that in a few minutes time we’d have shoe-horned our car out of its shoebox space and would be staring at a stern barrier across our exit which was refusing to budge with our roulette tickets,  we left the machine to the next group of people stood waiting to give Dave a go.

I felt wholly fulfilled by our experience at the NCP. Park in a cubicle the size of a room you’d use for a piss, enjoy the aroma of piss on all 9 levels and when you pay, the ticket machine takes the piss. At the press of a button you get to speak to a bloke  who sounds like he couldn’t give a shit.
(my phone cut off – Dave’s final words are “one of them will get you out of the car park”

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2 Comments »

  1. mrs hojo said

    Love it, nice chat with Dave the ticket machine… happy days. One assumes one of the tickets worked, unless you are blogging from Piss central?

    xc

  2. Foxsden said

    It did work and we were released, a little blue in the face from holding our breath

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