Last week I was crawling the streets of the CBD, engine lowly running, stalking pedestrians like an interstate businessman in the red light district, hoping one of them would hop into a departing vehicle. With no car parks forthcoming, except for those in the multi-storey carparks (that ironically only tell one narrative –the ode of the overcharge), I turned to higher powers. I bowed my head with one eye on the road. This was more to keep an eye out for cops policing the new anti-prayer while driving laws, rather than for safety. I then did it. Prayed 2013’s third most requested prayer (behind weight loss and the cessation of banjo-fuelled rock). I asked God for a carpark...and on the third day (it was a Wednesday night) a park opened up between a Mazda and a Honda like Moses parting the imported small-to-medium-sized-vehicle sea.
I am not a Catholic. I don’t pray to Saints, however my recent run in has me curious if there is a Patron Saint working the carpark prayer hotlines. Afterall, who would the Pope call on when parking the pope-mobile during the Christmas shopping rush?!
Let’s say there is one and let's call him Saint Alan. Scholars, Theologians and Historians you ask will probably differ on his story. Some will say he once worked for Henry Ford, going ahead of the great man to reserve a parking space in close proximity of his destination. Often lying face first in mud to reserve a spot until his arrival.
Another popular tale has Alan as a modern saint, holding the fort at an Edinburgh inner-city church carpark during the 60’s and 70’s. He would volunteer his time to park cars during the days and weekend nights, raising valuable funds for polishing the Church’s organ. He tragically lost his life trying to protect a VW Kombi van from a gang of soccer hooligans.
Some Catholics will even tell you he was a well meaning, roller-skating parking inspector in post-Cold War Berlin, who would often top up citizens nearly expired meters.
We don’t really know if Alan was a real man, or if he is even formally recognised by the Catholic Church. All I do know is God seems to help those who help themselves to after-hours loading zones.