The Stranger I Met Today

I received an early-morning earful about unauthorized parking. I should I have just smiled, nodded, and left.

“Yo, I told you before, you can’t park here. You’re gonna get towed if you keep parking here, you understand?” he yelled at me as I opened the door to get in my car. 

“Who are you?” I asked because I really had never spoken to this man who was pointing at me and my Subaru with a vengeance. 

“I own this lot and I told you before in the note I left for you, you’re illegally parking here. You better move this car. This is the last time I’ll tell you. Next time I’m calling the police and having you towed.”

“What note? What are you talking about?” I asked. I thought I was hanging in the conversation fairly well since it was 7:00 a.m. and I hadn’t had any coffee yet.  The man continued to scream about illegal parking, law enforcement, and my obvious selfishness that prevented others from parking. I was still a little fuzzy about why this stranger was shouting. 

“Hey! There’s no sign. How was I supposed to know? I’ve been visiting with a friend for a few days,” I replied.

I could hear the rising volume of my voice as I responded. The man, who had apparently been waiting for me to turn up at my car, ignored every word I said.  He just continued to holler, his arms flailing to emphasize the major injustice that had been committed against him and the other would-be parkers. I realized continuing this ‘discussion’ would be fruitless. So, I waved him off and moved to get into my car. But then, because sometimes I can’t help myself, I turned back to him. 

“You’ve come out here and started yelling at me about a problem I didn’t know I was causing. Instead of screaming at me, you could have done this a little differently.” 

The man paused for a moment and then continued his diatribe. Then, in a most unlady–like fashion, I wished him a “good day” and followed it up with a word not fit for print. I regret that. Mostly. 

Lesson Learned

Sometimes, people are only going to hear what they want to hear. I really should have bitten my tongue and left without engaging. I faltered and allowed myself to be as crude as he was. This man was not going to acknowledge my perspective at all and that was obvious from the time he uttered the word “yo”. 

I did feel better after calling the other two businesses that use that parking lot.  The yelling man claimed to have been acting on their behalf. I found out that a.) he was not the owner as he claimed and had no reason to approach me, b.) the parking spot was unmarked, so neither businesses faulted me for unknowingly parking in a spot I shouldn’t have, and c.) the two people I spoke with appreciated my apologies. One person from one of the businesses even advised me not to let an uncouth person ruin my day. 

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Debbie Shinn February 22, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Angela: Sometimes as ladies we are just pushed in that direction. As long as you provided the proper "pift" when you turned away, you can keep your lady card...hagd
John C. Vincent February 23, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Next time park where you should, which would exclude private property owned by other people. I mean really, I hope he tows your car next time. Maybe, you will like that better?
Angela Speakman February 26, 2013 at 07:12 PM
John, If the angry man decides to go that route, he can just introduce himself to the tow truck driver as the man pretending to own the property that has nothing better to do than stare at the parking lot full of spaces that he'll never own. I would like that better - I just love imaginary authority. Thanks for taking the time to comment and, don't worry, the next post will up later this week. Happy reading.
Angela Speakman February 26, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Ned, Thanks for taking the time to comment. I won't be parking in that spot anymore, despite your words of encouragement. I don't generally do the "wrong" thing; I really didn't know that my parking there technically should've been off limits (even though the businesses told me that I was welcome to park there in a pinch or after business hours.) That man was a bully and it was completely unnecessary and it's obvious you got that from my writing. Happy reading.
Angela Speakman February 26, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Debbie, I like to throw in a 'pift' and, when the situation warrants, a hair flip. Thanks for letting me keep my lady card and thanks for taking the time to comment. Happy reading.


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