Thursday, September 17, 2009

Parking Rage

I'm going to go back to school. I'm going to earn my Ph.D in Psychology and I'm going to write my thesis on "Parking Rage" and I'm going to publish it in all the leading psychology journals and I'm going to become famous for my theory on its cause and how to solve it. I'm going to become known as Dr. Parking.

In my small apartment building (12 apartments), each apartment is assigned one space. One apartment, who has crowded a family of anywhere between four and seven depending on the week it seems, has at least three cars in its possession and has blatantly hijacked at least one of the spots in our rear driveway. I'll call them the Smiths. They can only get away with this because one apartment is currently vacant. That, and they're yellers. Trust me, I've been on the receiving end. That's a random story for another time. I'll call that one "A Day Late and a Holler Short". Anyway, with each apartment having one parking spot to itself, it would seem there wouldn't be much room for confusion here. And yet there is. The people I mention above are the worst consistent offenders. But the tenant who irritates me the most is the Christian man upstairs.

Folks, I mention his religion for a very specific reason. My understanding of Christians include that they are to act like Christ; i.e., be loving, kind, show compassion, etc. So I expect a man who evangelizes to all new faces in the building the Lord's Message and tried hard for almost a year to get me to attend his church (where he informed me they 'don't hug or do anything weird like that') to be particularly kind and patient. Unfortunately, I also know there are many "people of faith" who have become so blinded by self-righteousness that they lose sight completely of what real faith and love for God is and become awful, Christ-less versions of religion. Feel free to slap me if you ever see me becoming one of them. This man, since he is advanced in age and though feisty, could be my grandfather, is not someone I can slap. So I am left to quietly seethe while he starts regularly parking in a non-space in our driveway: the area opposite my car, against the building's wall. And while I am usually able to get out well enough, pulling in is always a challenge when someone is parked there. And my friend visiting me right now spent 20 minutes the other day trying to get out of my parking spot, poor thing.

So today I decide no mas. Today I spoke with him, kindly and sweetly, and asked if he would please not park there, that it is not a parking space, and it is difficult for me to get in and out. He hesitated - he was silent for a good ten seconds - and then said "Sure." About ten minutes later he came downstairs and brought up the topic again to me, trying to explain that he'd worked out an arrangement with Mr. Smith to park there (opposite my car) only during certain hours of the day, when Mr. Smith is home from work. I held my ground, quite firmly but as nicely as I could muster with my waning patience. He acknowledged that it is illegal to park there. (Duh. That is why he was almost towed from the back driveway about a year and a half ago. He bribed the tow truck to leave without taking his car. He told me that night that it had happened because he'd broken his promise to God - his promise not to park back there ever again. I did not bring up this bit of history when speaking with him today. But I doubt God's forgotten it.)

The driveway is clear of extra cars, for now. I have a clear path to take when I leave here in an hour. I hate to say it, but I feel the odds are in favor of him parking there again. The thought of it makes me seethe...

My thesis, when I am Dr. Parking, Ph.D, is that our parking spaces become extensions of ourselves. When someone tries to take advantage of us by abusing our parking setup, we take personal offense to it. Men have been killed over less. Me, I plan on moving to a nicer apartment just as soon as I can swing it. It will be in the country and everyone will ride horses everywhere. There will be a barn out back where everyone has his own horse stall. And if anyone tries to squeeze his horse into my stall, so help me God-- I'm going to dump a load of horse shit on his front stoop.

As for the misguided Christian man upstairs... I will pray for him!

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