“Happy Anniversary! “A Day in the Life – still crazy after 5 years!” / Parking Lot Etiquette

day-300x202This past Sunday  marked the fifth anniversary of my “A Day in the Life” website. when I began posting back on December 6th 2010 I had no idea I’d still be at it five years later. But it’s been both fun and interesting. Oh I’ve stepped on a few toes now and again but believe me that is not and has never been my intent. Sometimes it’s simply the byproduct of what I chose to write about.

I began “A Day in the Life” as a tribute to my good friend Brian who passed away back in 2008. Bri and I were friends for over 39 years and shared a very unique relationship. We had a blast together! We were the Lennon/ McCartney of the absurd, the Martin and Lewis of the inane and disciples of the likes of Frank Zappa and the Mother’s of Invention, Hunter S. Thompson, the National Lampoon, Monty Python, Donald Westlake and a host of other crazies. Doing my blog was a fun way to honor his memory. I’m certain if he hadn’t died we would both be blogging right now or he would at least have been a major contributor. I wish I could thank him for getting me started.

The second reason for beginning the blog was to help me become a more disciplined writer. Three years later I’m not sure I’m any more disciplined than before, oh I blog regularly, but still procrastinate about my other writing and have trouble sustaining a regular pace. I really cant believe it’s been 3 years already but hey, time flies when you’re having fun! And believe me I am having fun with it. I talked a lot about blogging for months and months before I actually got started. Something would happen or I’d see something on the news and tell her that it would be great blog material. She would always encourage me to do it, but true to form I wouldn’t sit down and just do it. But then that’s what procrastinators do isn’t it?

Then came that fateful day in early December 2010 that changed it all. While out Christmas shopping with my wife at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga an incident occurred in the parking lot that managed to push all my buttons at once. An incident so moving that I found myself talking about it the entire way home. This prompted my wife to bring up the idea of blogging about it and encouraged me to go home and write about it. And that’s exactly what I did.  I called my article “Parking Lot Etiquette” and thus my blog was born. My son helped me with the website and a few days later I posted my first blog.

Although my first actual post was an older piece of writing, I consider “Parking  Lot Etiquette” to be the post that started it all.  What follows is a reprint of “PLE”. If you have never read it I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Happy Anniversary to me!

JS                                                                                                                                                                     _________________________________________________________

      “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.

download-1 (1)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.

Imagine that…

JS

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