My very first post “Parking Lot Etiquette”
In our society we are taught from an early age that laws must be obeyed and rules must be followed. Failure to do so results in consequences befitting the infraction. What then of the unwritten rules of etiquette, the code of polite behavior. What happens when someone breaks these rules? What is the consequence of their actions? This question leads me to the story I’m about to share with you.
This past weekend my wife and I decided to do some Christmas shopping at Victoria Gardens. When we arrived we found the parking lots jammed. It seemed that most Southern Californians had the same shopping idea. We drove around and round the parking lot for quite sometime looking for a parking place. “It’s all in the timing,” I kept telling myself.
To my left I spied a car (#1) with the trunk open and a woman putting packages into it so I stopped and waited for the car to pull out. In front of me several cars were slowly moving down the row searching for spots. The first few drove past me knowing that I was waiting for the spot but the third car (#2) stopped short, just as the woman began to back up. As luck would have it car (#1) backed out to her right so that she would be driving away in my direction. By doing so she not only blocked me from turning in quickly but gave the driver of the other car ample opportunity to steal the spot. All the while my wife was saying “she going to take the spot, she’s going to take it.”
Undaunted by my wife’s concern I waited for the woman to pull away, certain that the other driver wouldn’t dare break the rules of parking lot etiquette and steal the spot, after all, she had seen me sitting here waiting from at least a dozen cars away. In fact when she turned down the row I was already stopped and waiting. She wouldn’t be that thoughtless, would she? Well when car #1 finally finished backing up and pulled away I discovered the woman driving car #2 was indeed stealing the spot from me. She was nearly two-thirds of the way in, but in her haste to get the spot first she had pulled in at a ridiculous angle and would have to back out of the spot to straighten her car. I just couldn’t believe it! Had she no scruples! How dare she!
Now you have to understand I am not a vindictive man, at least I never thought I was. Without thinking I instantly pulled across the row right behind her and pulled in so close that I actually nudged her vehicle so that she couldn’t straighten out her horrible rush, park job. I opened my window and called out to her, “Excuse me lady, this is my parking spot I’m sure you saw me waiting for it.” No response. “Excuse me!” I called again. She finally turned around. “I had my directional on,” she said sleepily, as if turning her directional on half a block away magically made what she’d done okay. “Ah I really don’t care,” I answered, “I was sitting here waiting long before you even turned down this row.” “I had my directional on,” she said again.
By this point I was getting more than a little perturbed. Just who did this woman think she was. “Listen lady I want you to move your car out of my spot now!” “You hit me! I’m going to call the police,” she replied. “By all means call them,” I responded. “I’d love to hear what they have to say.” She just sat there.
Funny but during the entire altercation which probably lasted no more than a minute or two, not one horn sounded, even though I was blocking traffic and there were several cars waiting to get by. It seemed like the other drivers knew that the parking lot rules of etiquette had been violated and I was not letting it go unnoticed. I was dealing with it. I sat there for a few more moments looking around at the traffic jam I was causing. At that point I knew I wasn’t going to win this battle, but I was determined that if I couldn’t have the parking spot neither could she. I leaned out the window and in my best bad ass, slightly crazed voice, said to her,
“Okay lady, I’ll tell you what’s going to happen here, I’m going to drive away right now but believe me I’m going to come back by here in a few minutes and if your car is still parked here, (I paused here for effect) I’m gonna fuck it up.”
I don’t know why, but yeah, that’s what I said. I stared at her for a long moment, grinned menacingly and drove away.
Yes, I know I crossed the line. Up until that final statement I had managed to keep it civil, calling her ‘lady’ instead of what I really wanted to call her, and though I had no intentions of carrying out my threat, I suppose I shouldn’t have made it, but I was frustrated by her lack of respect for the parking lot rules of etiquette and I was simply standing up for myself and the countless others who simply shake their heads and drive on when this happens to them. Besides, when all was said and done I was able to leave Victoria Gardens with at least some sense of satisfaction, for when I drove back by the parking spot a few minutes later her car was no longer there. She had moved.