Do you ever have those moments, small insignificant moments, that bother you throughout your day? Just something stupid that happened that make you wonder what would have happened if you’d done something differently?
The other day, I was driving through the first floor of a parking garage trying to find a spot (as one does in a parking garage) when traffic got a little held up because about four cars ahead, someone was pulling out of a spot and someone else was waiting to take their place. Proceedings as usual. I know on busy days that how I find my spots; I usually get lucky enough to be about to pass someone who’s ready to leave, but I don’t actually pass the opportunity by, and then cars may end up waiting in line as it takes forever for that person to get out of their parking spot. Anyway, there was nothing I wasn’t already bored with before the situation started.
Then, immediately to the right of the car in front of me, as in perpendicular with that car’s front passenger door, those bright white rear lights sprang to life. As soon as traffic began to move, that should have been my spot, right? The car in front of me clearly can’t make enough space to steal that spot.
He tried anyway.
I kid you not, there’s four (maybe five) feet of space between my front bumper and the back bumper of the car in front of me. You know, it’s that courtesy space you leave when sitting in traffic. I’m not typically an asshole driver that tailgates (not that thing with the barbecue and the alcohol, riding a car’s bumper for absolutely no reason other than your own impatience).
The guy in front of me (and make no mistake, it was a man, unless it was an especially male formed female, because the silhouette I could see through his windows was particularly masculine (this isn’t a slam against male drivers, I swear, this person just happened to be almost surely male, and a jerk)) puts his own car into reverse and starts backing up. Slowly. Inching closer and closer to my car. By this point, I’m yelling at him through my windshield, “I can’t go anywhere!” Because I really couldn’t. By this point, traffic had backed up enough that I had at lease five cars waiting behind me (just another day in an overcrowded parking garage). But did he care? Hell no. He just kept backing up.
As he got even closer, and then closer still, I honked my horn. That’s what that thing is there for, right? Of course, we were in a cavernous (except for all the parked cars) parking garage, so while my car has a significantly louder than average car horn, it was made ten times worse by the echo. There’s no way this guy didn’t hear it, and yet he didn’t even flinch. He just kept backing up slowly. I guess he figured if he did hit me he wouldn’t do any damage, but I would argue that that’s not the point.
I know that if I had been the only person there, and he was going to be dick enough to want to back up to take this spot even though he’d already almost passed it and therefore forfeited the spot (as are the unwritten rules of the parking garage), I would have just backed up and let him have it, because it’s just a parking spot. But that’s just it, it’s just a parking spot, and here this guy was tempting fate and pushing all of these buttons that could result in me having a horrible day. Granted, this already wasn’t making for a great start, but still. And I wasn’t the only person there. He was potentially making the days of every person in the cars behind me, waiting for him to stop being a dick, at least a little unpleasant. Chances were that though I was in no rush, someone else behind me might have been. All because some guy has to have this parking spot on the first floor of the parking garage. Laziness is making people stupid. I’m not going to lie, I’d rather park upstairs near a staircase (not even the elevator) than in the middle of nowhere on the first floor because that’s actually less of a walk for me. My laziness hasn’t made me stupid, yet.
I’ve thought about it, and my storyteller mind can’t help but play through scenarios where I get out and start yelling at the guy, or if I even honked my horn more than once. I don’t generally get any kind of road rage because I don’t feel it’s worth the waste of energy (once again, not a stupid lazy person, but a smart one), but what if I’d given into it just this one time? What if I’d decided to let some energy loose? Would the guy have gotten out of his car and started yelling back at me? Would he have just looked guilty and decided to drive off? Would this have turned into some ridiculous romantic comedy where it turned out this jerk was the love of my life? (I promise, I really wasn’t rooting for that last one)
This is the shit I think about. This is where that potential road rage anger energy goes. I find it to be some much more fun.
In the end, I didn’t yell at him. I got a little angry, but I’d let it all go by the time I was done climbing down the stairs after find a parking spot three floors above. And he got the parking spot, but not before the poor girl in the car had to spend five minutes (no joke, I actually watched those minutes tick by on the clock on my dashboard) backing in and out of the parking spot to maneuver her car into a position in which she could finally drive away. And the windows of her car were a bit more clear, so I could tell she was clearly annoyed with this jerk as well. I like to think we were very much in the same boat at that moment.