Get off my land…
Generally I’m against the concept of squatters rights – it seems an absurd liberty to take over and generally trash other people’s property. However, specifically, I find myself advocating and firmly supporting the concept of possession being 9/10ths of the law.
By specifically, I – of course – mean something which directly affects the self absorbed sphere of influence with me at the centre. By engaging ‘Daily Mail’ mode, it’s abundantly clear that a man who has commuted valiantly through a long and frosty winter should have first refusal on the limited parking and changing facilities offered by the firm.
Throughout this willy shrivelling winter, a few hardy souls have exchanged a daily greeting “still a bit chilly out there eh fellas?” while removing many layers of woolly clothing in the manner of a Russian Doll. Worse case was a couple of minutes delay before re-acquainting oneself with one’s extremities under a piping hot shower. Obviously this was preceeded with a little homophobic ceiling gazing in a small changing room occupied by a bunch of blokes, who’d shut themselves inside a locker rather than having to defend the slimmest allegation of checking out the competition’s tackle.
Locker space, availability of your own ‘peg’ in the bike cage and shower access were all well within tolerable boundaries. Sure your toes were holidaying in the Arctic circle and your ability to extend your progeny was negligible but all in all a satisfactory situation.
Not so now. The spring sunshine dragged the fair weather commuters with their shonky steeds out of hibernation. And in some cases, retirement. So now we ‘proper’ cyclists share the road with a rambling pantheon of wandering immortals who have never been in an accident but by God they’ve seen a few. The Highway Code is only happening to other people as they happily RLJ mowing down all those who naively believe that a little green man offers them priority. Okay, I RLJ as well but I do it in a safe and, it has to be said, a rather cool and raffish way. For example, I would rarely look surprised and even a little annoyed when a women with a pram has arrested my progress on a pedestrian crossing.
But while this is superficially irritating, it’s the smallest of potato’s when compared to the destruction of the proper cyclists natural habitat at journey’s end. An earlier rant covers the coveting of locker space, this has been extended to some shopper special being locked in the cage at a spot I’ve been calling my own for SIX MONTHS. It has my lock there to prove ownership but this had been cast aside in a flagrant abuse of my squatters rights.
This theme carries into the changing room where the firm’s calculated response to the increasing numbers of smellies descending on mass at 8;30am is to replace the two partially working dribblers with a single shower servicing about 50 people. It’s standing room only in there with absolutely no handicapping system favouring those who’ve spent days of their life in this fetid basement that Dante would be proud of.
It’s not right. Obviously being English, I just mutter under my breath and then join the end of the queue checking out the cracking ceiling plaster and maintaining just enough personal space to prevent a “I CAN’T STAND IT, GET ME OUT OF HERE” incident.
The solution I believe lies in guerilla tactics. Where invisible borders are breached, retaliation may be taken through deflating tyres or – in extreme cases – a quick workover with a blow torch. The revolution in the changing room will begin with a rallying cry “all weather cyclist COMING THROUGH” and by the crafty use of a shower gel as an assault weapon.
This stuff is important. No honestly it is. And it’s not the prison diet I’ve been subjected too for the last 9.23 days that has ratcheted up my pettiness, and inability to see ANYTHING from ANYBODY else’s point of view.
Oh ok then, it is. I have a medical and immediate need for Coffee. Maybe I can get it on BUPA