No Parking

Life is full of tests. Some are huge, leaving you wondering how you made it through. So many, however, are little tests—quizzes—that act as goal posts to show you how much you have grown in a particular area or to point out that your character is not quite perfected in a certain area. Today’s test was the latter.

I know it’s better for the environment to carpool, but I must admit, I like driving alone. I sing badly and loudly to my heart’s content, which distracts me from traffic, bad drivers, and the list of tasks and meetings on the day’s calendar. I was later than usual today; changing one’s mind at the last minute about what to wear will do that. With the temperature being only in the 70s rather than our usual warmer 80s at this time of year, I had to dig around for a more suitable top for the weather conditions. By the time I steered my car out of the driveway, I was a few minutes later than planned. I would have to just make up the lost time on my walk from the parking lot to my office to arrive on time. No leisurely stroll for me this morning. The chilly air might just come in handy since now I have to rush.

After a pleasantly uneventful commute (I use that term loosely; I live in a very small place), I entered the car park, rounded the corner to pull into my space, but a little grey Kia was already parked there. Imagine my surprise. The whole purpose of paying for a specific parking space is so that, especially on those days when one is late, there is no need to stress out about where to park in a crowded city. Your parking space lies at the end of your journey like a loyal pet dog eagerly awaiting your arrival. Not today.

After a few enquiries, the owner of the car was finally tracked down and directed to move his offending vehicle. A slight, sheepish man appeared in the now deserted parking lot, since all of the conscientious workers are at their desks doing important stuff while I’m sitting in my car waiting for the person who has now officially made me late for work). When I move into my vacated space, he approaches my car and sticks out his hand (hey, one point to the sheepish man for having the nerve to face the pit bull driving the little white car). I shake it.

His story: he works with my husband who is on vacation. Since he was able to park in Hubby’s space last time, he assumed he could do the same this time.

Me: Well, I was with him last time.

Him: You’re not [company] staff; I thought it would be okay.

Thinking can be SO dangerous for some people!

Me: He may be on vacation, but we’re still paying for the space.

A few more moments of banter, none of which included an apology, led me to believe he was expecting me to say, “Aw, shucks, Mister. You take the space. I’ll be glad to pay $10 to park elsewhere today.” I’m not amused.

Before he walks back to his car, he endangers his life by asking, “So . . . are you going to be here all next week, too?”

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