"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Parking Space to Die For

The picture below was taken this morning from my bedroom window.

See that parking space designated as # 736?  It's reserved.
That's mine.

See that orange VW GT1 parked in it?
That AIN'T mine.

I came home from work, late last night, to discover this.

This (bleeped-out) left me with the choice of:
 1) Become him, and steal someone else's space.
 2) Park in the unprotected Guest area at the front of the complex.
 3) Park on the @#$%^&* street.

Problems with:

1) I don't WANT to be like him. Besides, what if that someone else is in better shape than I am (most people are), and has MY grace and temperment on this issue?

2) The day before, we all got notices warning us to be careful, because someone's car was broken into in the guest parking area.

3) Do I really have to explain my feelings on parking on the street?

So, I took photos of that car, wrote down its' VIN number, and vowed to K*LL the SOB if anything happened to my car while it was parked in the guest area.

A talk with the apartment manager this morning disclosed that he knew the owner, that the guy just hit the wrong space (his was a couple of spaces over) and he would talk to him today and resolve it. Just stay cool.

This twisted set of priorities isn't new with me. Normally I am  a very shy, retiring sort of person, who avoids confrontation as much as possible (Too "chicken" to start a fight? Maybe so.), but when my parking space is violated I fall prey to thoughts that would cause Hannibal Lecter to seek therapy.

I mean, that reserved parking space is almost as sacred as the vehicle that it was meant for. ("What's more chickensh*t than f**king with a man's automobile?  I mean, don't f**k with another man's vehicle."  ~John Travolta, as Vincent Vega, in "Pulp Fiction")

How rational is that?  Maybe, just a little. That car of mine is a major investment; one I'd have great difficulty in replacing in my present circumstances. So, would losing it KILL me?  It just might.

But, I had the same feelings way back when my financial situation would have rendered such replacement as a nuisance rather than a catastrophy.

I cannot claim this feeling is "rational" (except in my present circumstances :-),  but I know for a certainty that I am not alone here.  Perhap's it's some primordial territorial imperative: Threaten my car, or my parking space, and "May God have mercy on your soul; I probably wont."


UPDATE: The owner of that car found a strongly-worded note from me on his windshield, moved his car and left a very gracious apology on my windshield (after I had reclaimed my space), and a bottle of wine with the apartment manager as further apology.

As he handled this incident far more professionally than I did, I sincerely apologize for what I called him earlier in this post, thank him for this, and can only say to him: "We're cool!".

This is still more practice at writing. I'm finding it easier to just let the words come, and I think I did a reasonably good job (this time) of staying on-point and not wandering all over the map.

Update - 17 Sep 2011 - This ancient post appears to have gone viral the last few days, mostly visited by people coming directly from facebook.  If you don't mind, I'm really curious about just what brought you here.  Thanks.



gcotharn said...

LOL. So, we know you can be persuaded with a bottle of wine!

re writing

What I love about blogging: you can just start typing and let the thoughts flow: you do not need to construct a formal structure before beginning. Blogging is informal structure. And it helps me improve my own writing, such as it is, b/c it is so easy to just start typing and let things flow out; so easy to discover what I think about something as I am blogging about it - as opposed to beforehand. Blogging is fun, not formal. I'm into the fun.

Paul_In_Houston said...

In truth, I swapped the wine for some other goodies that some tenants had left them. I'm not a wine person; had it been a twelve-pack of Coors, it would have been a different story. THAT'S what you persuade me with.

On writing, the biggest thing I'm fighting (and getting there) is overcoming the urge to go into something I've already written and keep changing it because I've thought of a better word than what I had used.

I'm slowly training myself to save that better word (or whatever) for the NEXT piece and not to do more than fixing typo's in the current one.

I'm not speaking of formality here; just to try, as much as possible, to say what I want to say THE FIRST TIME, and not have to endlessly revise it to get there.

Robert Heinlein, in a lecture to graduating cadets at Annapolis mentioned a course he had taken at the Naval Academy, "Order Writing".

A cadet was given a situation, and then allowed a brief time to compose an order to fit it.

Afterwards the whole class, and the instructor, would tear into it. If they found ANY way to mis-construe the order, he got 0 for the day; otherwise 4.0. As he said, it was a "wonderful" course.

THAT'S the standard I'd like to aim for.

gcotharn said...

A know what you mean about accuracy and aspiration. As I began to write, really, for the first time: I realized my speaking and writing was often incomprehensible. I would use adjectives which were inaccurate, I would think and write illogically, and more. I realized I rarely put my point at the top, but rather forced my readers to wade into the middle, or even the bottom, to find my point. Logic is hard. Truth is hard. Succinct is hard. Writing is hard - but fun. The hard part is what makes it great! And I have enjoyed seeing my writing improve. I feel a sense of accomplishment.

As a laugh, considering your comment above, a dissenter:


GW said...

As to your question of the rationality of your feelings . . . . they are wholly rational.

I have owned hounds all of my life. I love them, and I observe them constantly. One of the things all canines do is mark their territory by peeing along the perimeter. This serves as notice to all and sundry that this territory is claimed and that if you transgress, that will be a direct threat that may well result in a major ass-biting. That they do this is a survival strategy for all parties - and a strategy so successful that it is inate at birth.

The territoriality of a canine is, it would seem, of the same variety played out throughout much of the animal kingdom - and if you study history, you will see it played out on a regular basis even when talking about groups rather than individuals.

So, bottom line, I think your feelings wholly rational. As to how to acknowledge and act on those feeling, well, it certainly sounds as if you and owner of the car handled it with maturity. I would have peed in the four corners of my parking space and waited for the guy to come around so I could have growled menacingly at him. Then again, perhaps I have spent too much time around my dogs.


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