The Parking Chronicles VI: A Variation

Posted March 13th, 2011 by June O'Hara and filed in The Parking Chronicles

10183612-6-floor-on-elevator-buttonsFirst, let me say that I’m a neurotic person of Irish and German descent. Thus, as one might predict, I’m highly averse to intrusions into my personal space zone.

Last week my zone was violated in a deplorable incident involving my next door neighbor, E6 (a.k.a. “The Mouth”) and her family.

I wage perpetual, if silent, protests against several of E6’s behaviors. Allowing her door to slam behind her at all hours, the “Boom!” a concussive blast that shakes the building to its core. Constantly screaming “FUCK!” — especially in the presence of her autistic child. But most of all, I resent the fierceness with which she guards her huge handicapped parking space.

As previously noted, despite having a car-length, unoccupied space behind her, E6 parks at the tippy-top of hers. This leaves no room for anyone to squeeze into a tight spot in front of her, lest she call the police complaining someone’s parked half an inch over her line.

This bugs me.

A lot.

So. Last week I was entering my building through the back door. Hearing people walk through the front entrance, I called, “Should I hold the elevator for you?”

No response.

Again: “Should I hold the elevator?”

Nothing.

Slightly irritated, I pulled the gate and got on.

Just as I went to push the button, E6, her husband, and two children rounded the corner, dragging huge bags of laundry behind them.

They’d ignored my question, but felt no compunction about piling into the elevator after me.

By the time three of them got on, we were smooshed in like a hundred marshmallows shoved into a small plastic sandwich bag.

Viewing the conditions, E6’s husband said, “I’ll take the next trip up.”

“Okay,” I answered.

“No!” The Mouth barked. “There’s room for you! Shove over, kids.”

The kids, doing what little they could, sucked in their stomachs. The husband, toting a gigantic bag of laundry, squeezed through the gate.

Now I was bodily pinned into the corner of the elevator.

Respiration was no longer an option.

A fireball of rage swelled in my stomach, shooting sparks throughout my neural pathways.

As the elevator began its ascent, here were a few of my thoughts:

If I call these people classless, inconsiderate low-lifes right now, do they have enough room to assault me? Because I know The Mouth would. And I’m too cramped to defend myself.

If human combustion is a real phenomenon, I’m at risk. However, if I go up in flames, so will E6.

But wait! I’m not the asshole here. Do I really want to make that kind of sacrifice?

No, I conclude.

Jesus Christ, do these people have to breathe through their mouths? Because, unless I happen to be the person I’m fucking, I don’t want to smell your breath.

Stop. Fucking. Breathing.

I don’t like to say I hate anyone, but. . .I think I hate these people.

My plan of killing them with kindness?

It’s not working out.

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The Parking Chronicles VI

Posted March 10th, 2013 by June O'Hara and filed in The Parking Chronicles

I’ve now been contending with a wretched parking situation for ten years. (Low rent, nice apartment. The golden handcuffs.) Ten years of. . . No! I refuse to re-regale you with the details. Suffice it to say, I’d take a driveway over a cure for herpes any day. Sweeten the deal with my own washer and dryer and God knows what I might do.

Presently, I’m at odds with my neighbor, E6.

E6, if you recall, lives next door to me. She has a handicap sticker — for, I’m told, the safety of her autistic son. A boy who does, in fact, exist, but around whom questions still remain.

That’s all I’ll say about that.

Like a previous tenant with a handicap sticker, E6 parks at the tippy-top of her space, leaving yards of room behind her, ensuring that nary a soul can park a split inch over her line. As a result, intimidated drivers park half a car length ahead of her, fearing they’ll get a $200.00 fine for encroaching on her space.

Yes, E6 would call the police to set those wheels in motion. Had I been aware of that, I’d have known my request would not be well-received.

Last week (a particularly brutal parking week for me) I worked up the nerve to approach E6. “I hope this isn’t obnoxious to ask,” I said, ever so politely. “But would you consider moving back in your parking space, just a little tiny bit?” I made the universal hand gesture for “little, tiny bit.” Then, meekly, I added, “You’re so close to your line, other people are parking a half a car length above you. . .”

“Don’t tell me how to park,” E6 cut in. “That’s my fucking spot. If other people park like assholes, that’s not my problem.” She went into her apartment and slammed the door in my face. Then she began to scream.

As tirades go, hers was impressive. It continued for twenty minutes, and was rife with the terms fuck, bitch, goddamn asshole, harassment and police. Also notable was her repetition of the phrase, “It’s not my fucking problem!” Given her volume and the thinness of our shared wall, she might just as well have been in my kitchen.

Annoying, it was. Still, up to that point, it all rolled off my back.

Then E6 shouted the question that made it all too real: “What kind of fucking idiot cares so much about parking?”

What kind of idiot, indeed.

I had an answer to that.

My letter was reasonable, respectful and mild. I knew that would make her crazy. The opening was downright conciliatory.

After expressing regret for any bad feelings between us, I mentioned how many tenants have moved out of our building because they couldn’t handle the parking situation. I then relayed my own trials. (Trudging two and a half blocks in cold, wind, rain or snow, lugging my overnight bag, gym bag, laundry, pocketbook and computer, accidentally dropping shit on the sidewalk as I go. Feeding a meter just to stay at home. That kind of thing.) Near the end, I implored E6 to put herself in my shoes.

Upon discovering the letter, E6 had a conniption. Even more satisfying, her husband took my side. Every time he spoke (his words were too low for me to make out) E6 shouted, “No! NO! Fuck that! I’ll park however the fuck I want!”

It was a sweet moment for me. Still, it’s nothing compared to what I have planned.

The next time I see E6 in the hallway, I’m going to bid her a cheery hello.

If her hands are full, I’ll offer to carry something.

Best, I’ll hold the elevator door open for her. Midway to the lobby, I’ll offer her a gift certificate for a day at the local spa.

That, my friends. That will be her undoing.

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The Parking Chronicles V

Posted August 26th, 2012 by June O'Hara and filed in The Parking Chronicles

Have I somehow failed to mention it? A month ago a second handicap parking sign went up in front of my building. Between that and the first, they take up almost half the block.

This would be fine, if I just had somewhere to park.

I cope well with the first handicap space. It’s occupied by an older gentleman named Walter. Walter parks to the far back of his spot, leaving the rest of us just a little extra room. Once, when someone parked slightly too far over Walter’s line, he went to court with her to fight the ticket.

Beside my boyfriend, Walter is the only human being I’ll allow to kiss me on the lips.

The second handicap space has elicited a markedly dissimilar reaction. I don’t like it; I don’t like it one bit. And I’ve not seen anyone in or near the car, so I’m curious as well as aggrieved.

Last week, when I bumped into the super, I felt fated to inquire.

“The handicap space is for the woman in E6,” the super told me.” Your next-door neighbor. Surely you’ve seen her with her son? A large, autistic teenager about this tall?” She raised a hand high in the air to illustrate.

I said nothing, just looked at her blankly.

“No?” The super shook her head. “Well, it’s sad. The woman had to get a handicap sticker because it was tough getting him back and forth from the building to the car.”

“Huh,” I replied. I paused, then said it again.

“Huh.”

Scratching my head, I padded dumbly back to my apartment.

Now, allow me to present the scenario from another perspective.

E6 has lived next to me for a year. Her apartment is catty-corner to mine. Our doors are two feet apart; we share a kitchen wall. She’s a yeller with a loud, piercing, voice; her language makes mine seem delicate.

I hear an awful lot of what goes on in E6’s abode. Far more than I’d like.

E6 and I both live at the far end of the building. We pass in the hallway and frequently share the elevator. 96% of the time, E6 is accompanied by a boy who looks between five and ten years old. 92% of the time, they are accompanied by a man who, judging by his clothes, is a security guard. I’ve always assumed that he’s E6’s boyfriend.

Faulty or not, these are my observations and impressions.

Noteworthy, I find it, that in the whole of this year, never once have I seen or heard anything that suggests the existence of a sizable, autistic man-boy.

Not one thing.

Ever.

Being a nosy-body with a persecution complex and nowhere to park, I find this objectionable.

My curiosity has evolved into an anguished obsession tinged with subtle overtones of blind desperation. Yesterday, hearing E6 leave her apartment, I cracked my door and peered out. As usual, the young boy was with her. Sensing my gaze, he turned periodically to look back at me.

Save for the hunted look in his eyes, all was as usual.

Where, where, where is this large autistic person?

I just can’t figure it out.

There are several ways I could glean information. I could spy on E6 from the fire escape, or impersonate a worker from the Census Bureau. Or scream “Fire!” in the middle of the night and see who comes running out. But I refuse to sacrifice my dignity and am afraid of going to jail.

As of this writing, I’m contemplating hiring a private detective.

A private detective. To track the movements of someone who lives two feet away from me.

This, too, I find objectionable.

Like I said, this would be a non-issue. If only I had somewhere to park.

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