Parking Spot

It’s my day off and I need a new pair of black shoes.

My old waiter clogs are getting ratty. New Year’s Eve will soon be upon us. I need to look my best. So I decide to drive over to the mall and buy a couple of pairs with my newfound Christmas loot.

Of course the mall is packed with people converting unwanted gifts into iPods. Parking spots are scarce. Now, I’m not a lunatic with parking. I’ll look for a spot close to the store, but if I can’t find one I’ll settle for a distant spot and walk.

But today’s my lucky day. A car pulls out just in front of the entrance to the mall. I flick on my turn signal, wait patiently for the soccer mom to maneuver her four wheeled tank out of the way, and glide right in.

I get out of the car and double check to make sure I haven’t parked in a handicapped, pregnant mother, or otherwise differently-abled spot. Nope, I’m legal. I can’t believe my good fortune.

As I start to walk towards the mall I hear a shrill voice cry out.

“THAT’S OUR PARKING SPOT!”

I turn around. Sitting inside a late model Mercedes are two old ladies. And they look pissed.

“Excuse me?” I say in disbelief.

“THAT’S OUR PARKING SPACE” the harridan driving the car screeches.

“We were waiting for that spot!” her blue-haired companion adds. A patent lie.

“Madam,” I reply politely, “No one else was waiting for this spot.”

“It’s our spot!” the driver says, “It’s ours!”

“We’re old!” her companion shouts, “We can’t walk very far.”

Goddammit.

I’ve always considered myself a gentleman. I believe in the value of the strong protecting the weak. These ladies are old and I’m not. They probably need to park in my spot. There’s a value in respecting your elders – even if these particular elders are rude cantankerous old hags.

“Very well ladies,” I reply, sighing. “I’ll move my car.”

The ladies smile at each other. Of course they don’t say thank you. But Dad always said virtue is its own reward.

Losing my choice spot I end up parking on the other side of the moon. From my new vantage point the mall seems like a city on a distant hill. Oh well, I need the exercise.

I walk over to the mall, go to the shoe store, and pick up a couple of pairs of Rockports at 50% off. Happy with my purchase, and proud of sticking to principles even when it was disadvantageous to me, I decide to treat myself to a Cinnabon.

I go over to the food court and purchase a sticky caloric disaster of cinnamon goodness and a cup of coffee. Grabbing a plastic seat near the water fountain I dig in. Yummy. I love Cinnabons.

Then, two old ladies wearing track suits power walk right past my table. They’ve got hand weights and are moving at a pace that would wind an Olympic sprinter.

It’s the old ladies from the parking lot.

“Those bitches!” I say in amazement, “Can’t walk my ass!”

A mother with two small children at the next table looks nervously at me.

“I’m sorry,” I say quickly.

The mother returns to shoveling French fries into her toddler’s mouths, telling herself she didn’t hear a thing.

I can feel my face getting red. I was conned by two old ladies. I resist the impulse to run them down and give ‘em a piece of my mind. But somehow I think mall security would take a dim view of me yelling at senior citizens.

Suddenly I remember what my old sociology professor once taught me, “A value doesn’t become a value until you suffer for it.” He wasn’t kidding. I adhered to my values. These ladies suckered me. Now I’m pissed. I’ve suffered.

And now I’m eating a Cinnabon.

Now, you might think I’m being vain glorious here. You might say that people suffer, really suffer, for values everyday. Think of human rights activists imprisoned in Burma, soldiers fighting in Iraq, hunger strikers starving to protest governmental oppression. Those people are really suffering for a value.

But most of us aren’t peace activists, soldiers, or revolutionaries. We’re just well fed people trying to stumble through life the best we can. It’s in the little struggles, like giving up your seat on the subway, writing a check to the Salvation Army instead of buying a gadget you don’t need, or biting your tongue when a friend says something stupid, that we suffer for values everyday. Character is forged in the smallest of struggles. Then, when the big challenges come, we’re ready. Or so I like to tell myself.

But, having said that, I still can’t stop fantasizing about running those old ladies down with my car.

I finish my Cinnabon, get up, throw my garbage in the trash, and walk towards the exit. I see the old ladies again. They pretend not to see me. When I get outside I resist the impulse to slash their tires. I get in my ride and, chuckling to myself, drive home. If those old biddies are the worst people I ever encounter I’m way ahead of the curve. Besides, I got shoes at 50% off and a Cinnabon. Lots of people are happier with much less.

And yes, I do look at the world that way. Sometimes a good sense of perspective is all that stands bewteen me and insanity.

You can start the proceedings for my canonization now.


Comments

Parking Spot — 26 Comments

  1. I get some kind of cognitive dissonance when I hear about your reaction to that situation. I simply don’t understand how you can stop yourself from getting extremely upset over something like that. I do it all the time. Seeing as how you still sort of want to run them down, you must still be angry inside, but you seem so pleasant. When I walk around with that kind of anger, I find it destroys me from the inside out, and confronting the old ladies and calling them on their shit would be the only way to make myself feel better.

  2. What, yelling at two old ladies about what amounts to nothing? Making a scene? The Waiter has seen enough of that bullshit. Getting upset that you had to walk from the parking boonies? Small beans. No matter what everyone says, letting EVERY scrap of anger out isn’t good for you. It just makes you into a self-righteous dick.

    And to be honest, two old ladies probably SHOULDN’T be walking in winter weather through a potentially slick parking lot.

    If confronting every person who, whether on purpose or accidentally, ticks you off is the only way you can sleep at night you need to see a therapist. Pronto.

  3. It wouldn’t bother me that I had to walk further, but it would bother me quite a bit that these ladies lied to me. I probably wouldn’t have made a scene, but I would have approached them and asked for an apology for lying to me.

  4. Call me what you want, but I wouldn’t have moved my car. Old or not, they weren’t waiting first. If they’d asked nicely, I would’ve moved, but not if they acted the way they did to you.

  5. I would say your ultimate rationalization was a good one, sound and likely to let the anger fall away. It’s interesting to see how differently people react to this sort of idea…

    Myself I think I would have looked at them initially and said to myself “What kind of person would ask me, when I’m already out of my vehicle, to move and then obviously lie to me about waiting for my spot? Someone who would lie to me about needing my spot in the first place.” And then likely, I would nod politely to them, smile, and add “I’m sure another will open up soon.” before walking inside. I’m sure their reaction would confirm which nature they truly had.

    To quote: “Actions speak louder than Words, and are more to be regarded.”

  6. If you go up to them as you’re leaving and say, “Don’t worry, I remember where you parked and I’ll check on your car for you.” Your statement is a positive one and if they chose to misinterpret it then that’s their choice.

  7. Apparently many of the above have not dealt with militant old ladies.
    Experience is on their side, folks. He did the right thing.

  8. Wow…I’ve read all the archived entries since the very first entry and it’s amazing how SHAMELESS people are….*sigh* I LOVE you’re blog!!! I resisted commenting until I read about these two old ladies!!!

  9. Inhibitions be damned, you needn’t slash tires, merely deflate them at the stem with the stem cap. Little old ladies have AAA. Since they wanted that spot so badly they were willing to lie for it, they can have it for several hours longer than they anticipated. Just leave a note so they don’t drive off not noticing until it’s too late….

  10. Good for you. But I don’t fucking care– I would have keyed their fucking car. Actually that’s not true–I wouldn’t have moved my car in the first place. Maybe if they had asked nicely, but unless you’re a blood relative, being an old hag doesn’t give you the right to be disrespectful to me, not to mention dishonest. Fuck old people. Aging is God’s way of telling you to DIE. So let’s just cut to chase, shall we?

  11. Had something similar happen to me and the wife once. Followed a coffin dodger around a car park looking for a spot and we came across a couple together, only for the old witch to park across both spots. My wife winds down thw window and asks “How are we meant to park there?”, to which the witch replies “that’s just to bad tonight isn’t it”.
    Of we go into the club and we spent the next hour and a half informing reception that the old bat had left her lights on. Four times the demented bitch got up to check.

  12. Your dad lied. I’d have slashed their tires and broke their windows. Maybe they’d have learned not to lie and con people, the old fuckers.

  13. Wow….

    There seems to be a lot being spent on the revenge scenario in this one. I have been trying to take a page from my wife’s book and choose carefully the things I want to spend that type of energy on. It just takes too much to get that mad at such a small problem.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I live in L.A. where the traffic is as bad or worse than most of the country. But I have learned (trying to learn?) that the little things done on the spur of the moment in anger never lead to helping the situation.

    And if you need to feel better because someone has wronged you…..Go get a Cinnabon.

  14. Respect your elders? Yes, but only if they show the same respect to you. It’s amazing how crotchety old people are. I work in a restaurant and older people can be some of the rudest people with no manners, no please or thank you or anything, only bitching. You’d think they’d have better manners since they were taught to speak only when spoken to by their parents. Discipline was more common back then and having good manners. Really though people no matter what age need to learn a lesson and not get away with pulling that kind of stuff, otherwise they’ll do it again.

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  16. To those of you who say they would’ve just kept the parking spot, keyed their car, or yelled at the ladies — those are the kind of decisions that can haunt you for days or even years.
    Sometimes, taking the higher road is better for you than the person you’re helping!

  17. You’re a good man. I’m Southern and was taught to respect and indeed, even cater to my elders. You did the right thing even though those ladies showed poor manners. You sir, are a gentleman.

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  19. I would have handled things a little differently. I am a gentleman to old women. I was raised by a grandmother who retired, then got two jobs to make sure she could take care of me when no one else wanted to. Mad respect for sweet and strong old ladies. But my Granny was Ms. Manners. She would have said thank you. The second I offered to move and my statement was met with a smug grin and no thank you, I would have let them know I changed my mind. If I HAD received the thank you, and later saw them doing their lil power walk…I would not make a scene, just remind them that death can run and catch up to them any minute. Walk away. Scene.

  20. I would like to say you got conned but that was not what happened. I would have moved if they had told me they needed the space because they couldn’t walk that far, and then I would have been the one conned. However, they lied and that would have cost them the space and I would have let them know that.

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