Unexpected Closure

Wednesday when I arrived home there was a truck parked in my driveway. I rolled down my window and said to the guy loading his car up with furniture, “Hi. That’s my parking space.” His reply? “Oh. I’ll only be about ten more minutes.”

Wha?

“Yeah, no. You can back your car out and I can pull up so you can park behind me but I’m not parking on the street.”

“Oh okay.”

Seriously?!

I live in a very busy neighborhood just blocks off a main drag of restaurants, stores and bars. Parking is a real bitch to find (trust me, I hear about it from my friends who drive around and around the block looking in vain for parking when they visit me). That driveway parking spot of mine is earned, damn it. Being an Apartment Manager is a lot of work!

Then last night as I was running out the door to meet my sister at water aerobics, I saw that someone had blocked my car in my driveway. They had parked lengthwise along the sidewalk where there was no way my car could go around them. Not to mention this is ILLEGAL. I furiously called the tow truck company number and they told me I had to call the cops. I called the cops and the rude bitch they connected me to said I had to call the tow truck company. When I tried to explain I had already done that she said to me, “Ma’am if you would stop interrupting me…” so I hung up on her. Fuck her. Don’t call me “ma’am” and don’t tell me I am interrupting you when you aren’t listening to me in the first place.

I was pretty mad at that point. Can you tell?

My sister texted me that she was on her way to class and when I wrote back explaining the situation, she said she’d come get me. We’d be late to class but at least we could both still go. Thank God because if I didn’t get to work out, someone was going to get their face punched in. While I waited for her, with still no sign of the driver of the illegally parked vehicle, I wrote them a note.

My first attempt was too mean- when I re-read it even I couldn’t stomach it. It served no purpose except for me to spew out my frustration. The second note wasn’t much better and looking back on it, I’m none to proud that I left it on her windshield. I was just so angry and frustrated and had had a very long, stressful week with work and apartment building bullshit and therapy and I just wanted to go to water aerobics! I basically told her that she was parked illegally and that because of her selfish assholeness (yes, I used that word), she had greatly inconvenienced me. And then I threatened to tow her next time.

When I returned home from class there was a note on my car.

It was a rather long, apologetic note that said things like, “I can only imagine how angry and frustrated you must have (legitimately!)Β  been when you came out to go to your class and were stuck due to my dumb ass parking.” She thought she was up enough that I could get out. She repeatedly apologized, recognizing her mistake and promised not do it ever again. Then she told me she is 9 months pregnant and 5 days over due (the car had a car seat in the back- I had noticed when I thought about throwing rocks at the windows during my rage fit) and her “brain is seriously out to lunch.” She included $3 for a coffee and said she liked my “Yes We Can” sticker on my car.

Well I’ll be.

I was not expecting that. I honestly thought that letter would be a rude response to my angry note. It made me stop and think. Not because I suddenly felt remorse because she was pregnant (I did though) but because I didn’t even stop to give her the benefit of the doubt. I was so consumed with how inconvenienced I was that I couldn’t see straight. Anger gets the best of me sometimes and I wish it didn’t. It’s rare that someone counters your anger with understanding. Maybe next time when someone is angry at me, I can pay it forward.

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60 thoughts on “Unexpected Closure

  1. Oh man Sizzle! This is a great one for me to read today, when I feel like there is a ridiculous amount of anger bubbling inside me. I’m with you- anger can really cause me to put on my blinders and focus only about myself without recognizing what is going on in the world around me. This is a great reminder to be more aware.

  2. Wow. I was not at all expecting that. What a classy way for her to resolve it. I’m glad that you had that resolution. I think we all have moments like that when we are tired and frustrated and just can’t take it anymore. I know that I would have responded exactly like you did.

    Then again as an east coaster I do sort of chuckle at the thought of someone leaving coffee money to someone in Seattle to apologize for bad parking skills.

  3. That was such a positive post πŸ™‚ A great reminder that we have to try and remember people might not be total assholes all the time. I would’ve expected to see my window smashed in or the air let out of my tires if I left an angry note.
    I wonder if she was visiting one of your tenants?

  4. I used to have an annoying neighbor that blocked me in my driveway on a weekly basis. I pretty much told her that I was going to tow her car and then punch her if she didn’t cut it out. She never stopped. And I moved (not because of her as it happened but a win-win nonetheless).

    I think it was fine to get pissed off and I think it was really cool that this woman admitted she was wrong. I think people these days don’t know how to say they are sorry. It sounds like she was actually very cool and we can all admit that we do some dumb stuff when we aren’t thinking. If I were that pregnant, I would just walk around with orange cones around me!

    PS. I must know about water aerobics. It sounds radical.

  5. As I was reading, I actually thought she was going to leave you a nasty message, but her note definitely caught me by surprise. Sometimes we are just so consumed by everything negative that is happening around us that we can’t see straight anymore. It happens to all of us. At least she was super sweet though.

    Thanks for this post! It reminds me to breath and count to 10 before I say anything (I have a terrible temper).

  6. All too often people that do those unthoughtful things really are rude and have no excuse, but sometimes they are nice people who just are not being mindful, good idea to give everyone the benifit of the doubt just in case. However, I would have been just as mad as you had it happened to me.

  7. That was a great response. Bet it made your day. (By the way, I could use $3 for coffee. Think she’ll come down here to park behind me and block me in?)

  8. One of my huge pet peeves is someone parking in/blocking my spot. The last person who did it left their truck unlocked. Foolish in so many ways (not the least of which because I live downtown/ghetto-adjacent), but none quite as stupid as leaving her cell phone in the bucket between the two front seats. After I parked behind her so that she could only get out if she knocked on every apt door, I took her cell phone, downloaded some new songs, and set “SexyBack” to be her new ringtone. She turned out to be a mid-50s crunchy granola-type, whose musical tastes appeared to be more Indigo Girls than JT…

  9. Oh my goodness! When we lived at our apartment between houses, I parked in the parking lot and my cars wheel was about a millimeter on the white line dividing the spaces. Some guy left me a note similar to yours (but without justification because I was in no way impacting his way out). I don’t know if I could have been a big enough person to write the note she left you even though I try so hard to be that kind of person, and I also don’t think he would have been a big enough person to have it even register that he might have been not so nice. I ended up doing nothing and still smiling and waving to him every day despite his scowl when he looked at me. My point being, you can’t always be perfect, you are learning from it, and being human means making mistakes or jumping too quickly to anger when it isn’t necessarily all about what you think you are angry about. I think it is awesome that you are thinking so much about this. That shows what a good person you really are.

  10. Wow. Her letter would surprise me too.

    I am reminded of a lovely post written by a very smart woman **cough** YOU ** cough** a few weeks back called “Book Of You”.

    Yep. Those books would so good to hand out to others because life would be just THAT more awesome.

    I’m just saying.

    πŸ™‚

  11. Hmmm even if you’re pregnant and distracted, I’m not sure that’s an excuse to park like an imbecile.

    Her note was very, very nice and if I acted like a moron, I would hope I’d be just as nice to the person I’d upset. That is a great way to respond.

    As far as I’m concerned, you paid it forward by allowing the moving truck to park behind you after you pulled into your spot. Driveways are driveways and laws are laws. You were very nice to do that and you shouldn’t feel so bad for getting angry when you got blocked in again.

    Sincerely, the bitchy girl from LA πŸ™‚

  12. I think you were justified in your anger, never fear, but I also think it’s that sincere response and your feeling of “pay it forward” that keeps the world spinning in a good way.

  13. As someone who accidently/absently blocked a driveway and got towed (and I even checked before walking away) I would be extremely grateful and apologetic to you too. $3 and a note is much better than the couple hundred it would cost to free my car.

    The funny part to me is that you did rightfully try to get her towed.

  14. I absolutely love this story!!!!!

    I don’t think you were really wrong to leave that note and get mad — we all get mad! And leaving an angry note (and a LESS angry note than your first version!) is an okay way to deal with it — MUCH better than slashing her tires or throwing rocks!

    And I’m absolutely in love with the fact that she recognized her mistake and made good.

    Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

  15. What a great, great story. Usually in those situations the person does that because they are inconsiderate (I’d be raging too)

    It’s nice to see that there are still some good people out there who take responsibility for making mistakes πŸ™‚

  16. Good thing you didn’t leave the original note! πŸ˜‰ I would have done the same thing. You made a well-founded assumption — this is just another inconsiderate person who doesn’t care about anyone else but their fleeting convenience. In this case, the sweet girl felt badly and did the right thing.

    It’s amazing how a sincere apology and accepting responsibility really disarms us. We all have our “dukes” up for a fight, yet immediately appreciate and retreat when cooler heads prevail.

    Something to remember

  17. im so glad you shared this, and really glad i read it today.
    i would have been just as irked as you. it’s nice to have been met with such a surprising response from her.

  18. OMG this is something that I am totally working on right now…I tend to go straight to anger. I want to stop this. I don’t know who said it, but it goes something like, don’t be quick to judge or anger, because everyone you see is fighting some kind of battle. I am trying so hard to remember that everyone else is having their daily struggles and that maybe my smile instead of my insult or criticiem might just be what turns it around for them.

    my motto this week: “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain”

    I have it written nice and big in my office to help me to remember…..

    πŸ™‚ Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone!

  19. I would have been furious too. But seriously she is probably glad you left her an angry note instead of having her towed.

  20. Well, praise Jesus– you actually DO get angry!! Hah! I hate to say it, but it’s a relief to hear that. Seems it’s always me emoting…and then feeling bad about it later, cuz, you know, we aren’t *supposed* to ever get mad. Right? sigh.

    I consider what happened with the lady’s note back to you to be a sort of message from the universe. It’s good when we get those reminders, that there really can be another side to the coin. Maybe you feel bad about your reaction now, but consider just a friendly reminder from the forces watching. πŸ™‚ You are a very good person; we all lose it now and then. (You less than most)

  21. Oh, I think you had a right to be mad about the parking job. People who are pregnant deserve some special treatment, but parking illegally is still parking illegally.

    I do hate it when people are selfishly inconsiderate, but it sounds like she more than made up for it with the nice note, and the offer of coffee. And more importantly, that her reaction may remind you sometime to give someone else the benefit of doubt next time. And that is a nice thing! I too have the reaction to get mad first, and think later. Sometimes it is appropriate and serves a purpose, and other times it is just more angst for me to swallow.

  22. Wow! I did not expect to read that ending at all. Like yourself I would be extremely pissed to begin with but that note would remove all my annoyance. I can’t believe her response note, it makes you believe in good people again!

  23. I would have reacted the same way. But I would also be humbled by her note.

    The other day, someone actually apologized to me for being in my way on the walk to work. Two people actually. I’ve gotten so used to pushing people out of my way (because most ARE so rude) that I forgot there are nice people out there.

    I am trying to remember that now and give people the benefit of the doubt.

  24. Our driveway is at the end of our street and it’s not shaped like a cul de sac, it just stops. I’ve been blocked in many times by people parking there who think I can get out past them but there’s a big light pole on the corner and it’s a right angle turn so it’s impossible. I get so so angry it’s really infuriating so I can understand why you wrote your note. It’s nice that the woman was so apologetic. When I left a note on someone’s windscreen they just put in back on my car. I wanted to throw a rock through their window.

  25. Wow, what a great story. Things like this have happened to me more often than I’d care to admit.

    I remember as a kid reading a Sally Forth comic strip (remember that?) in which the dad said something about how every time a car cut him off on the highway, he told himself that they were probably rushing a pregnant woman to the hospital. That stuck with me so much that, to this day, I still think of it often. I think it’s a good approach to life.

  26. I admire the woman for acknowledging that she messed up and for giving you that coffee money, but I still think you had every right to get angry, as I think most people would if they were in your situation.

  27. Ack – I know I am very late to the party but for some reason, I don’t have you in my Google Reader! I had you in my other reader that I use on my laptop but anyway, sheesh.

    I find that the moment I get frustrated and pissy and start calling someone out, that is the moment that my eyes get opened to just how much someone else did NOT mean to screw me personally. I am glad I got to read your story to remind me that hey, it’s not always about me. Also? What a nice person!

  28. I like to remember this kind of stuff when people do jerky things driving, too!! Maybe they’re going to the ER or something.

  29. Wow, it’s so refreshing that someone can be accountable for their actions. Nowadays it seems like people frequently make stupid mistakes and then flip you off for being upset about it.

  30. Wow, wow, wow! This is one serious note from the universe. (I’m a big believer that we all get occasional notes from the universe . . . yours just happened to be written this time.)

    You were inconvenienced and frustration is an authentic response. Funny, though, how seeing the other side makes us rethink our own emotion. GREAT story and a good reminder for us all.

  31. Sometimes when you get really pissy with people they surprise you by admitting they were in the wrong. I wonder if she’d have been quite so pleasant had you left a nice note. People are funny like that.

  32. I just caught up with this and WOW. I would not have expected that either! Did you end up writing her back or leaving it alone?

  33. I kind of want to make out with that person. (At 5 days over due I would have probably not been NEARLY that amazing).

    It restores my faith in humanity.

  34. Whoaaa, that gave me a little life lesson. Thanks.

    On the other hand, I just wanted to share this little story that happened to me two weeks ago…

    It was a cold day, the parking lot had been filled with snow and ice. I drove to Babies’r’us to get a couple of things (I’m due in two months). I was driving around looking for a parking spot when I drove past a polished mustang parked in the FRONT ROW, taking up TWO spots. First of all, the Mustang wasn’t brand new, it was a polished 2004 or 5. Second of all, RUDE. Almost everyone entering babies’r’us are pregnant and can hardly walk. How DARE this person park in TWO spots in the FRONT row! I concluded it must have been a man driver.

    So, I wrote them a note… “Only A$$holes park like that!”

    Not an enlightening story, but I had to share.

  35. Way late to comment on this, but yay for the pregnant lady’s response. It seemed to make you feel better, and hopefully it made her feel better, too, as she obviously felt bad. πŸ™‚

  36. (Still catching up . . . ) This post hit me where it hurt. But in a good way. I’m so often the rushed, pissed off person in the scenario and too infrequently the gracious, understanding one. Thanks for the reminder.

  37. I’m also glad you shared this. Too often it seems to be the other way around and it’s so refreshing to hear that there are still good people out there. In all aspects of our lives, there are those out there that actually own up to their mistakes and those who are like, “Screw you! I don’t care!” It just goes to show that a heartfelt apology can go a long way.

  38. Having lived on Capital Hill I know the parking frustration of which you speak. I remember orbiting that blocks endlessly as I looked for a space. I’m also embarrassed to admit I’ve left some fairly nasty notes and called the police on several out of sheer frustration. The note I left of which I am least proud was for the driver of a car who had parked crookedly parallel and I couldn’t get my car out even trying to drive up on the curb. The note said something to the effect of “I sure hope you fu*k better than you park a$$hole, because if not, you’d never get it in and there’s no way anyone could have fun with this.” (hangs head in shame)

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