Have you ever walked out to your car, only to find that the person next to you parked like a complete and total asshole? Of course you have. Did you ever get to meet that person? No? Well, yesterday, I got to meet one of these trolls, and I got to hear their incomplete reasoning for their offense.
It was a normal day at Target with the family…wait. No. That’s a lie. It was the Saturday before Halloween at Target, which apparently means that Target is as busy as Black Friday. I took my wife and two kids out to this inner circle of hell unwittingly, thinking only that it was a good day to get some basic groceries.
We had no idea.
When we got inside, we were distracted from how busy it was by the need to wipe the year’s first non-committal flakes of snow from the cart while we struggled to keep the little boy and girl to within arm’s reach. The lack of carts should have been a sign. Then, we marched over to Starbucks, because my wife was graced with a gift card a few days earlier. The endless line after we ordered should have been another sign. Coffee in hand and kids in cart, we started our shopping. The fact that people kept dodging our cart at the last moment and looking disgruntled whilst doing so, despite us driving rather predictably, should have been another sign as well. But we ignored all of the signs until it was too late. Cart full of children and basic human needs, we were approached by a woman dressed up like a slice of pizza.
“Do your kids have their buckets?”
“No buckets? We must have run out of buckets.”
“Oh well. Here, you guys can have some candy anyway. And keep looking around our store for other extra goodies today!”
I looked down at my 17 month-old son as he gripped a wrapped piece of candy and stared up at me, silently pleading for any instruction as to what to do next. My wife and I started processing the situation. We looked away from our happy little family and realized that Target was swarming with people like so many flies to a turd.
“Why is it so busy today?” I asked the slice of pizza.
“Well, it is the Saturday before Halloween!”
My wife and I looked at each other, trying to decide if this was a thing of which either one of us was aware.
“That’s a thing?” my wife asked.
The crowd all around seemed to confirm that yes, the Saturday before Halloween at Target is, indeed, a thing. A terrifying thing. And we stood there at ground zero.
We struggled and elbowed our way through the crowd and around the other stations trying to push high fructose corn syrup goodness wrapped in impossible wrappers for my toddler to get into, finally making our way to the cash registers. We paid. We made it to the parking lot. We survived.
And then, just as we felt sure we escaped, we got to the car only to find that the person who parked on our driver’s side literally parked within a foot of our car. I had to get myself and my daughter in on that side, and it wasn’t going to happen without dinging the shit out of the car.
“I’m going to have to ding the shit out of this car,” I said aloud. I intended on doing so. We were not going to wait in the parking lot, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to climb in from the opposite side to strap my daughter into her seat.
Then, a voice rang out.
“Hey! I’m standing right here!”
It was the guy. The bastard parker. The person who decided that it was appropriate to park within a foot of the car next to him. And he identified himself. To me.
I still can’t believe that he sounded so offended, as though I were talking about his looks or his mother. No, I was actually stating fact. I was going to have to ding the shit out of this guy’s car in order to get into mine, and he got offended.
“Hey! I’m standing right here!”
“OH GOOD!” I said. “Because you left roughly a foot between your car and mine.”
My wife even giggled at the fact that this buttchugger thought he had a reason to be offended.
“Well, the person next to me barely left any room to park here!”
Then he just grumbled all sorts of stuff and we grumbled stuff and he just got into his car and drove away, making sure to speed through a busy parking lot to express his annoyance with us, as well as reinforce the fact that he lives a total horse douche existence. My only regret is that I didn’t say what I wanted to the guy before he got into his car. It was one of those situations where the best line came to me immediately after the exchange. Here’s what I wish I would have said:
“The person next to you left you no room to park here? That is a sad tale. Lucky for you, I’m a magical wizard!” Then I would have made some grandiose hand gestures toward the back of the parking lot. “Behold! I have created literally hundreds of other parking spots available for the next time some inanimate vehicle bullies you into parking next to it! I have done all of this just for you, my friend! Now make haste! Get in thy car and drive away, lest I have to DING THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR CAR SO I CAN GET MY DAUGHTER IN MY CAR AND OUT OF THIS DANGEROUS PARKING LOT!”
Opportunity lost. Oh well.
But why is this a plague? Why must we all clamber for the nearest parking spot? Why don’t we walk at all? There is a parking deck at a shopping center not too far from my house. The bottom of the parking deck is filled with spots that are reserved for the Trader Joe’s grocery store right across from it. This makes sense, as these people are all pushing shopping carts, which usually become inefficient on stairs. There are three more levels above this first floor of the parking lot, but the first floor is always busy, flooded with people vulturing for the closest spot, and it’s not because there are so many people shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s because there’s also an LA Fitness gym right across from the parking deck. It’s these people who are vulturing for the closest spot.
And this is the strangest, most comical damn thing to me. These are people who have committed to exercising at a gym, but apparently not for practical purposes. They will go inside the gym and literally run on a treadmill for miles, going absolutely nowhere, but all of this intense training has not prepared them to walk a single extra flight of stairs for a different parking spot. They have to park as closely as possible, ignoring signs clearly saying the spots are for Trader Joe’s only, just so they can go get fit without having to walk too far to do so.
What is it about parking lots that make us unable to function unless we park as closely as possible? Why is “The person next to me left me barely any room to park” considered a valid argument for pinning in the car next to you? And why are people dressed as pizzas trying to give out candy to children who can barely talk and don’t have all of their teeth yet?
And since when has “the Saturday before Halloween” been a thing?
I’m not sure I’ll ever get answers to these great life questions, but there is one thing of which I am sure:
If you park like an asshole to the point of preventing me from getting my kids in my car, I’m going to ding the shit out of your car.