A Day At The Park

Yes, I'm back from a one month hiatus. Near the end of that time I was thinking about what my first article back should be about. I considered writing about fraud artists, or doing an email article, but then yesterday happened. There are some things that just come down to common sense. You don't wipe before you poop. If you can get the same product for two different prices, you choose the less expensive one. And if there's room for two cars, two cars deserve to go there.

Before I get in to what happened yesterday, let me set the scene by explaining the road situation where I live. I'm in a semi-detached, which means they built one very wide house and stuck a wall in the middle, and called each side a house. It's unfortunate that the neighbours have a completely undisciplined child who screams and throws tantrums every so often because they work, but what can you expect from a 13 year old anyway?

Since there's no space between our houses, there is limited road space. There is just a little more space than is required for two large cars. However, for some reason, whenever our friendly neighbours across the road (or anyone visiting them) need street parking, they of course put their car in the exact middle of the available space, preventing a second car from parking either in front or behind them.

This means when my girlfriend comes over, if she needs to park on the road and this is going on she has to park three houses down. Putting my car on the road? Four houses. It's even worse on our neighbours with the screaming monkey, because they're one of three families living there; we and our neighbours on the other side are just about the only families on the street living in all of a house, because every other property is being rented to at least 2 families.

Needless to say, this is a source of frustration for everybody involved. Yesterday we got about half a foot of snow that needed shovelling. This required cars to be moved, including on to the street. Imagine my surprise at discovering there was no room for my car in front of my house! So I parked two houses down, finished the one hour shovelling job with the driveway, and before getting in my girlfriend's car to go to the mall I wrote in the snow on the back of the errant car:

FUCK
YOU!

Sure I could have written something more benign, but that would have been easily ignored. "Please move forward" is what I wanted to say, but it would have been written off and ignored. FUCK YOU! carries so much more weight. It happens that the roads were especially terrible, and we were unable to get to the mall, so we came back home. The snow had been removed. We got out of the car, and the person decided to confront me.

Him: Why did you write that obscenity on my car?

Me: Because every time it's parked on the road it's in the middle, taking up both parking spots.

It's a one in a million shot that my wife gets home late and parks on the road. It's public property.

There are two parking spots there, and your car always takes up both of them.

Well my car is private property, you have no right to touch it.

It's about being considerate.

How about you never touch my car again?

The conversation wasn't over, but at this point I turned around and went inside. The only thing I could think of to say was "how about the next time you park on the road overnight I call the police and have you towed," and that could only have led to escalation and threats.

I don't want there to be any bad blood between me and any of my neighbours; I do live next to them, after all. I just want to be able to fit two cars in the two-car space on the road. What I probably should have said was "Okay, and how about you make sure that when you park on the road, you leave room for someone else to park in front of or behind you? That way we both win." Why is it we so often only think of the right thing to say after it's no longer relevant?

I honestly don't care if they're parked on the road. I don't really even care if they're parked on the road overnight and the plow has to miss doing the front of my driveway, because I can always shovel it myself. I care that there's enough room for two cars to park there, but they always park in such a way that nobody else can fit. And that's the point: be considerate of the fact that other people matter too.

He basically asked me to respect his car. My question is "Why should I?" After all, he made it quite clear that he doesn't have any respect for the fact others may need to park on the road too. The fact of the matter is that it is illegal to park on the road at night, and the next time he does it I will call the police and have the car ticketed or towed. And if he threatens me for it, I'll call the police again, because uttering threats is verbal assault. Don't you love it when the law is on your side?

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