Thursday, November 26, 2009


if Jesus had not used the metaphor of Gehenna to call upon to describe the antithesis of fullness of life he surely would have used Southwark's Parking shop to make his point..

She looked at me bemused if not a little affected. I looked around at the now silent room caught momentarily within the eye of the storm I had caused. People backed away from me in the 'I wonder if he has multi personality' kind of way. There was no two ways about it I had caused a drama.

An hour before I walked into 264 Old Kent Road and if Jesus had not the metaphor of Gehenna to call upon to describe the antithesis of fullness of life, he surely would have used Southwark's Parking shop to make his point. The atmosphere was tense, fraught as individuals paid their parking fines at one window with an incessant tirade of abuse to the girls on the other side of bullet proof glass. Individuals caught for all kinds of traffic offences vented, screamed, cried, wailed before paying anything up to £180 to get their vehicles back. The rest of us sat waiting to pay for our residents parking permits not really knowing who was next.

I sat in my uniform aware that in addition I had a fluorescent safety jacket with THE SALVATION ARMY across my back, I knew that I needed to me the model of patience! After nearly an hour I was beckoned to the window with an aggressive and bureaucratic "next...!". My form was correct, my proof of identification in place, I was getting out as soon as my permit was ready at the printer.

It was then that hysteria hit the lady behind me in the queue. "That's it ... I've had it ... I can not do this anymore, I've been patient up to now but I can not do it any more...!" her voice getting quicker, her breathing shorter her panic spread through the room like wild fire.

OK I may not have done this if my defences were not down -amazing what a bit of man flu can do for you really, I turned around and I found myself saying:

"Yes you have been patient and you are such a better person for it... aren't you ....well?"

I then heard my volume increase above all the shouting and cursing in the room.


In the silence of the moment I had caused I turn to the attendant who seemed to be reaching for a panic button, you need a chaplain in this place! She didn't even look up but said "Yeah problem being they would get beaten up as well!!"

1 comment:

Matt Elsey said...

Thanks Gordon,

Only today I had to go thorugh the pain off drive through "the school traffic" when picking up our staff from the school run. There are a lot of people in a hurry and every person for themselves. The irony is that it is usaully busy people that miss out on stuff. For example, on BBC's life show a team had to wait days(12 hours a day) in a make shift shelter to film something that had never been filmed before. There faces were alight when they had captured it.