Saturday, May 5, 2012

To Wanda?

You arrive at the public library with all five kids in the car with you.  You have to turn in books and figure that you might as well check some out, so you need to park to go inside.  The public library is next door to an elementary school.  Today is Saturday and it's soccer game day, and there are about four soccer games happening on the elementary school field.  The parking lot between the library and the school is full.  You circle around once and finally find a spot.  Actually, it's two open spots, right next to each other, only a few rows from the library.  You go to pull in only to have a car pull into a spot right before you can.  No biggie, right?  There were two spots.  But then, you notice that the person has parked in such a crooked fashion that about 1/3 of their car is hanging into the empty parking spot, a considerable amount over the line dividing the spaces.  What do you do?

Here is what I did.  As the woman got out of her car, I rolled down my window and said, "Excuse me.  I don't mean to be rude or anything, but that is the only spot near the library.  You've pulled your car in over the line so I can't possibly fit my van in the space next to you.  Would you mind just straightening up so I can park there, please?"

I felt like I was polite.  I felt like what I was asking her to do wasn't unreasonable.  When I park, I'm always careful to make sure my car is not hanging into another spot.  Sometimes I get a little close to the line, but if I'm over the line, I always straighten up.  Not necessarily because I'm trying to be this super-polite person, but mostly because it really, really irks me when I am in a FULL parking lot and the one and only empty space is half taken up by the person the next space over who didn't take the extra 20 seconds to straighten up their vehicle.  Kind of a "Golden Rule" thing--treat others as you want to be treated.

The lady did get back in her car and straighten up, but all the time she was muttering and looking very cross and angry at me for even thinking to ask such an insane thing of her.  So I thought about what I would do if the tables were turned and it was someone else asking me to move my car.

If they yelled at me or were rude, I'd probably be a little ticked off.  But I was as polite as I could be, asking nicely if she could straighten up after presenting the problem and even saying "excuse me" and "please".  And I thanked her afterward, even though she looked like she wanted to strangle me.  I think, I hope, that if someone asked me kindly to move my car, I would move it and be apologetic to them for being in the way in the first place.

What do you think?  Was I entirely in the wrong?  Or is it okay to politely ask strangers to do such things?


Jana Perkins said...

Towanda is my hero! I love that part of the movie. I think you did the right thing and that her rection is her problem, not anything you could have changed. I'm pretty stickler about parking completely straight to as to not bother the side cars. Totally justified in what you did.

Life as a Convert (Khourt) said...

I dont think you were rude at all. I havent ever had to ask somebody to move before and I dont think Ive ever had somebody ask me to move. I have had people give me very dirty looks for some of my park jobs though. If I cant find a handicap spot up front (to unload my sons wheelchair) then I will "double park" in the back of the lot, but I make sure there are plenty of open spots close to the stores and that Im not going to be a problem.

swedemom said...

I think you were completely within your rights and you weren't rude at all. Parking so poorly in a full lot is rude.

Scott Lazarowitz said...

Times are different now than a few years ago. People give dirty looks (and do worse!) for the slightest things.

There are some people who have been having a difficult time just making ends meet, or who have had their homes foreclosed. However, these days, many people are very self-centered, and to them it is a HUGE burden on them to have to move their car (even though it is they are in the way!).

America has become an extremely narcissistic culture, thanks in large part to the growth of government and widespread dependence on it, in my opinion.


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