Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Palm Trees Ahoy !!!
I rushed to the front door and there outside our house was this huge truck, with an even more huge crane on the back, un-loading a truck full of fully grown palm trees ready planted in big concrete containers. I quickly asked my wife if she had ordered palm trees from the Internet and she denied it. I always start on neutral ground by blaming someone else first.
This truck was full of palm trees; about twenty at least, all swaying to and fro in the light breeze which was soon to rise to a full storm as my blood pressure increased. The driver was standing in the street and operating the crane which picked each tree by the base concrete container, lifted it off the truck, and gently lowered it onto the sidewalk. He carefully placed each tree side-by-side on the sidewalk regardless as to whether they blocked peoples' driveways entrance or not. He had already un-loaded four trees and blocked my driveway with my car trapped on my property.
I went to the driver in my pyjamas ... I'd better rephrase this ... the driver was not in my pyjamas. He was by the truck. I was in my pyjamas, and I was the only one in them to be precise.
As I was saying, before your thoughts interrupted me ... I went to the driver and shouted over the noise of the crane machinery to ask him what he was doing delivering all these trees and blocking peoples' driveways. By this time, I hasten to explain, he had un-loaded about seven trees and had blocked my neighbour's driveway too.
He switched off the crane and explained that he knew nothing about it. He was only the delivery man and had been told to un-load the trees side-by-side, as close to each other as possible, on both side walks on both sides of the road. He explained that there were another six or so other trucks on their way to unload their trees in our street.
The trees were heavy and in their concrete base it was impossible to move them once they were parked on the side walk.
I decided to go in and phone someone in authority, whilst a few other neighbours came out to complain and another two trucks arrived with their loads.
Who do I phone in such circumstances? I can hardly phone the police and say there are some palm trees causing a disturbance outside!
I decided to phone the mayor's office and, to cut a long story short, I was transferred from one department to another, each disclaiming responsibility for trees, road maintenance, potholes, noise disturbance, and everything else to do with everything else in this universe. Why do they employ so many people in so many departments if none of them deals with palm tree deliveries?
Eventually I was transferred to a surly sounding man appropriately named Mr Gardner, would you believe.
He asked abruptly, "Name?" I gave him my name.
"Not your name," he said, "what's the address?"
"It's a garment worn by women," I replied, "what's that got to do with the palm trees situation?"
After a few seconds' silence whilst he digested the information he asked again, "Where do you live?"
"In a detached house North of town not far from the park and golf club ..." I explained when he interrupted me.
"Look madam ..." he said, "I haven't got all day to deal with this. I also have fifty flamingos to despatcth today ..."
"How dare you call me madam" I exclaimed in as manly a voice as I could muster, "I am a HE!"
"A he what?" he asked.
"A he man," I said, "how dare you insinuate I am a woman just because I am wearing pink pyjamas!"
"I am sorry ... I have a cold ..." he apologised.
I felt sorry for him and tried to suggest a remedy. "What are the symptoms?" I asked.
"They are yellow cartoon characters on TV," he replied, "what has that to do with my cold and your palm trees?"
Anyway ... years later ... after a phone conversation which lasted a lifetime, it transpired that the trees were destined for the Avenue Park in the South of town and not Park Avenue where we happen to live.
He promised to have them re-directed, but in the meantime we had six trucks delivering about one hundred trees blocking all the driveways on both side walks all along our street for at least three days, before another load of trucks came to take them away.