The Car Park of Midgets

I’m still desperately trying to find someone or something else to blame but am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that I will just have to shoulder the embarrassment and accept full unmitigated responsibility.

Various possible reasons for my vehicular faux pas have crossed my mind.

It could have been Amanda’s fault for not barking out her usual driving instructions and warnings; it could have been Amanda’s friend Christine’s fault for causing us to hire a larger car than the one that we normally require for two people; it might have been the hire companies fault for renting me a short and fat car rather than a long and thin one; or it could have been the fault of the architect for Lugo City Council who designed the most ludicrously laid out underground car park in the World.

But at the end of the day it was me that was driving; me who didn’t allow enough space when negotiating round a large concrete post; and me who remodelled the back passenger door and quarter panel of an almost new, pristine white Kia Cee’d Diesel Estate, beyond the repair of even the largest bottle of T-Cut.

My passengers reacted with surprising calm as I reversed the battered and bruised Kia away from the immovable upright trying to minimise additional damage, adjusted my angle to gain adequate clearance, and proceeded to complete the manoeuvre to change levels and find a car parking space. I was expecting either yelling or laughter as a minimum, but neither was forthcoming as we pulled into a bay more suited to a Fiat 500 than a modern estate car. There is something very wrong about a car park where it is impossible to find a space where it is impossible to park with both wheels inside the white lines.

We got out and surveyed the damage, and in the fluorescent-tube gloom of parking level -2 first impressions were that I might have got away with it. Nothing was hanging off, nothing too badly buckled, and no masses of paint missing. We locked it up and went shopping and as my two passengers scoured the never-ending shoe shops, I wallowed in a combination of frustration and embarrassment and tried to put on a brave face.

In the plain light of day the diagnosis was rather different. The rear door and quarter panel were badly dented and gouged, the whole area of damage measuring about 50cm by 50cm, and going on past UK repair shop experience I estimated that the damage would likely be in excess of €1,000.

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There were four long days to wait before I would find out my fate. I spent time mentally practicing the Spanish for ‘I am afraid that I’ve had a little accident’ and ‘Next time I will hire a smaller car or find a bigger car park’. All the time still wondering whether I could get away with saying ‘My wife did it’.

The non-English speaking but kind lady at Hertz was very nice about it, as though it was the kind of thing that happened on a daily basis (and it probably does). She surveyed the damage, tapped away at her computer and then informed me that she’d be taking the princely sum of €361 from my credit card, a card which she didn’t need as worryingly they already had the details.

Now we’re back in England I think that I have all the documents I need, and there are many, to jump through the hoops imposed by my ‘Annual Excess Insurance’. Hopefully I’ll get my money back within a couple of months and all that it will have cost me is a huge dollop of pride!

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3 Responses to The Car Park of Midgets

  1. Ian says:

    Car parks in Spain are simply badly designed. The concrete posts are placed in the most stupid positions, as if they civil engineers cannot design decent spans. The bays are smaller than the UK. Which begs the question is there a stand design in Spain? There is in the UK.
    Admittedly cars have grown over the to meet safety regulations.
    Try the open air car park just the otherside of the wall along the Rúa Montevideo.

  2. rebrites says:

    Sorry to see the damage. I empathise completely, having seen the depths of Hell itself one morning in a hotel parking garage in downtown Valladolid. The garage was quite literally a concrete pit, a helix of 20-degree ramps with parking spots like pie-slices spinning off them. I drove the rental car up up up, hoping the bad clutch would hold, praying no one else would decide to leave. At the very top I had to stop and touch a button to open the street-level garage door. I set the brake, stalled the car, touched the button, saw the door rise slowly over the bonnet… the sidewalk was swarming with pedestrians. I re-started the car, eased off the brake, slid in the clutch, inched forward… The pedestrians would not give way! I laid on the horn, but no. I laid on the horn again when that steel door of course started to descend… right onto the roof of the car.
    The man in the car behind me was laying on his horn, too, when I abandoned the scene.

    • admin says:

      Ouch! I am beginning to think that cars and I don’t mix. When I move to Galicia full time I will be getting an old banger that I don’t care about.

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