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Who cares about parking tickets when we can all come together for a common goal

Opinion

Sometimes the most stressful part of airline travel is finding somewhere to park you car at the airport, writes Rebecca Levingston.

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I was anxious about the flight. Not about flying, I was worried about taking off on time.

So many reports of plane delays and flight cancellations had me on edge, so when I swung into the airport carpark, I was already nervous about finding a spot.

Snaking through the packed concrete spaces, I started to sweat. I was like a shark looking for prey. Every bay was full.

I did that thing where you think you’ve found a spot and it’s just a little car hiding. Bugger. I regretted not taking the train. I wondered if I’d be stuck roaming through the grey jungle forever. I started talking to myself, “Come on… is the entire state flying? Nope, nope, where’s my park?”

I got desperate and resorted to something I’m still unsure is legal. I parked on the other side of the concrete pillar in the middle of the carpark. You know the “spot” where technically there’s no bay outlined, but desperate people have to pull on the hand brake eventually right!

And if you don’t block any cars crawling through the carpark, is it ok? I counted at least five other cars doing it. Your honour, I’ve seen people do it for years in busy carparks – not just at the airport – at shopping centres too.

Drivers see a space big enough for a car and nab it. You just hope that a dirty big tow truck doesn’t arrive and drag you away.

Can you tow a car from a high rise carpark? I spent the whole flight wondering if my little Holden would be there when I flew back into Brisbane. More sweating.

The reason I was airborne last weekend was to make my annual flying trip to Townsville to host a fundraiser for The Cure Starts Now. It’s a charity that supports research for children’s brain cancer.

It really does put life (and parking) into perspective. Brain cancer is one of the deadliest childhood cancers. It causes more deaths in children than any other type of cancer. And that’s something this charity hopes to change. I’m humbled to play a very small role in helping their cause.

The gala dinner was a great success and my co-host was former North Queensland Cowboy and State of Origin second rower Gavin Cooper. Coops, as I called him by the end of the night.

He parked a mini Mack truck in the ballroom last Saturday night and promptly auctioned it off for thousands of potentially life-saving dollars. Such a generous community. I love going back to my hometown. Rugby League and reminders of my childhood are everywhere.

I kept running into people I went to school with and we caught up on decades of life. Then, naturally I found myself at a Sunday morning netball carnival. My high school mate Jen is now a netball mum and I was happy to be heading to the competition to see her daughter play.

We pulled up at the courts where we’d played as kids in pleated skirts and ponytails and for a moment it felt like the world slowed down. Suddenly, not everything seemed like it had modernised or digitised or raced by. The whistle blew, Centre passed to Wing Attack and the Goal Shooter scored. The girls clapped. Simple.

Hundreds of parents and supporters turned up to watch the games and the carpark outside was packed. You guessed it, cars were roughly arranged side by side on the grass. No need for painted bays, just someone who takes the initiative to park parallel and the domino affect takes care of the rest. Not a parking inspector in sight. All too quickly my NQ trip was over.

I flew back to Brisbane, took the lift up to the airport carpark and was relieved to find my car waiting patiently. Several more cars were cheekily parked like mine so perhaps there’s a little leniency given. Don’t worry, I’ve already been berated by several nosey parkers who say I broke the rules and should be in parking prison. Others reckon it’s fine.

Speaking of fines, I did get a parking fine this week. I knew that I’d overstayed my welcome in a city street park and was relieved when I returned to the car and couldn’t see a little ticket flapping on the windscreen.

Smugly, I thought the parking fairy was on my side. Turns out she was just back in the office sending me a digital copy of the ticket. Complete with photo, infringement timing and $107 dollars worth of reasons to respect the rules of parking.

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