Connect the Dots (#195)

You’d think that the most annoying thing about living by a middle school would have been kids sitting on your steps, or littering, or trampling your flowers.

It wasn’t.

It was their parents.

There were BMW/ Mercedes parents who dropped off their own children and immediately blasted through pedestrian crosswalks. Other school kids, crossing guards, and dog-walkers scramble for their lives.

There were parents who ate fast food while waiting for school to end. They picked up their kids, but left their trash behind.

Then were parents who blasted Def Leopard while idling, or had their car’s Bluetooth system so loud I could hear their conversations in my kitchen.

There’s the mother who moved my trashcans up onto the curb before parking right in front of them, blocking all access for the trash trucks. When I told her a) parking within 6 feet of trashcans is illegal, b) the trash hadn’t been picked up yet, and c) she’d have to move, she angrily complained, “But where am I supposed to park?”

My biggest battles with the parents, though, involved my driveway. Unlike many Americans, Andy and I actually parked our cars in our garage.

There was plenty of street parking around the school. Yes, parents and/ or their progeny might have been forced to walk a whole half block to get to the school’s gate, but our Los Angles county neighborhood wasn’t pressed for parking like New York or Boston.

The view from my driveway on a regular basis.

And yet, parents regularly parked their cars across part or even all of our driveway. Sometimes, the drivers were still in their cars. Instead of giving me an apologetic wave and moving their cars when I opened the garage, they often ignored me.

If I was in a hurry, I’d mutter and glare and squeeze my little car past them.

If I was in a bad mood, I’d yell at them to move.

One afternoon, I opened my garage and found a car parked my driveway. Some dad backed straight up to the garage door, taking up the entire driveway. Engrossed in his radio, his burger, and his phone, the guy didn’t hear the garage door open. I rapped on his window, hard. The startled dad shrieked, dropping his burger in his lap. I glared, gesturing at him to move. He immediately complied.

I hoped he got grease stains on his pants.

Having parents in my driveway was bad enough. But some parents would park across my driveway before disappearing into the school.  My car and I would be stuck.

If I called the city’s parking enforcement, I might have to wait an hour before they sent out tow trucks. By the time they arrived, the cars were gone.

More than once I stormed into the school with a license plate number, demanding to know which jerk was blocking my driveway. None of the parents in the office ever confessed, but as soon as I was back in my house, calling parking enforcement, the car would disappear.

I did not understand these parents. Barring a life and death emergency, I would never block someone’s driveway, nor would I park on private property without permission. Because:

1) It’s just wrong.

2) I don’t like being yelled at, especially when I’m in the wrong.

3) I might get a ticket.

But there’s a 4th reason. It’s the most important reason of all, and it applies almost exclusively to parents. It’s also the one they never seem to think about.

Witness the Entitled White Mom. This woman parked her car halfway across my driveway at 2:55 PM. I figured she’d be gone by 3:15 PM. I didn’t have to leave until 3:30, and so I ignored the car.

At 3:30, the car was still there, along with two tween girls, chatting and playing on their phones. I approached, trying to control my temper, because obviously the girls weren’t responsible for the dickish parking job.

I asked where their mom was. They pointed across the street, where Entitled White Mom was gabbing with another mom in front of the school. I waved at her. She either ignored me or didn’t see me.

Down the block and across the yellow cross walk I went, seeing red.

“You!” I yelled, pointing at Entitled White Mom. Various other mothers scattered, hoping to avoid a scene (or at least watch from a safe distance). “You’re parked halfway across my driveway, get over there and move your car now!”

Entitled White Mom turned to me slowly. “Can’t it wait a minute?”

“It’s been waiting thirty minutes and I have to leave. My God, woman, what is WRONG WITH YOU?! Get over there and move it!”

She sniffed as she followed me across the street. “You need to calm down.”

I whirled around. “Are you fucking kidding me? You parked illegally, you’ve made me late, and instead of even saying you’re sorry, you’re trying to blame me for being legitimately angry!”

She took a step back and mumbled a half-assed “Sorry.”

I snorted. “No, you’re not, you’re only sorry someone called you out! Which is bad enough, but you know what’s worse? You’ve set a terrible, entitled example for your children. You’re teaching them that rules don’t apply to them. You’re showing them that other people’s rights don’t matter. You’re teaching them that it’s okay to break the law if it inconveniences you so much you might have to walk a whole half-block.”

(In case you haven’t figured it out, the above is Reason #4 why parents, especially, shouldn’t do illegal and entitled shit.)

“That’s a stretch,” she scoffed, pulling out her keys.

“You just keep thinking that, then. But some day, you’re gonna be old. And incontinent, and as inconvenient as fuck. And your girls here will be the ones deciding on your care. And if you’ve taught them to be entitled, rather than inconvenienced, what makes you think they won’t pull the plug as soon as possible and collect their inheritance?”

Entitled White Woman didn’t answer. She ordered her girls into the car and drove away. I never saw her again.

Probably she didn’t change her ways. Probably her girls now sport Trump’s red “Make America Great Again” hats.

But no moms blocked my driveway for a whole month.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

14 thoughts on “Connect the Dots (#195)”

  1. Woo hoo! Too bad you can’t make an arrangement with a towing company to immediately come and tow away cars. It would only happen a few times and the word gets out. Around here the businesses do that and it’s legal.

    1. Well, parking enforcement has to decide if the car is blocking my driveway enough to be towed. Because technically the car is on the street. I used to just tell them to give the car a warning, but now I’m like, “TICKET!” Like I said, usually the cars aren’t there long, but I do have parking enforcement on speed dial. One day the parking cop came down during morning drop off and videotaped all the parkings. Then he reviewed the tape and mailed out over 200 tickets for unloading passengers in the middle of the street, illegal u-turns, parking the red zone, parking illegally, not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk, making u-turns in a crosswalk, and a whole host of other offenses. I cackled like a vengeful witch when I heard about it.

      But the parents’ driving never changed. They’d have to videotape daily. Make the city a fortune, though.

  2. Hahahaha. Did you really say, “Are you fucking kidding me?” If so you are my new hero.

    I don’t know if I’d have the courage to present a fabulous rant like that one to a stranger. But last week in the Kruger Park I did yell out my window at a man who GOT OUT OF HIS CAR to try to get a better photo of a LION that was about 100 yards away next to the road. I must say, it felt really good.

    1. I think you had a more altruistic motive for yelling at the fool in Kruger park than I do at the people in my driveway! I’d have been tempted to let Darwin — and the lion — their work. Was the foolish tourist white?

      I am SURE my rants — because I’ve done them more than once — are never as good live as they are in my head after the fact. (Luckily, I’m also my own editor.) Probably they sound more like, “Wha-? Why are you– But– How– my God you are such a fucking idiot!” I’m always thrown into incoherence when I come across someone so blatantly entitled the first time. But when I’m mad, well, yes, there is profanity. I usually avoid scenes at first, which means that the resentment builds up and then POW! Both guns unload when I lose my temper. I even smacked a woman’s taillight once when she nearly ran over my foot while I was in a school crosswalk.

      1. Hahaha. Of COURSE the tourist was white. This is going to sound patronizing but it’s totally true: NO black South African would ever do that. Also the tourist was American (or Canadian) and his friend in the car was smoking a joint.

  3. How I hate such people…in our apartment block we had two underground car parks and somehow at least once a month some idiot is parking right at the entrance so no car can in or out. Luckily the towing service is here usually within 10 min but still it is so annoying.
    Wonder when we have our own house someday how I will deal with people parking right at my parkway. Probably I will be storming out with baseball bat and…well or just take some tools and take of one tire

  4. Bravo, amazing speech. Too bad your blood pressure probably went up by a few notches then. You could always put up a baricade of some sort or maybe spikes in your driveway and remove them before you have to leave…but then again, never fight fire with fire unless you absolutely have to.

    1. Luckily, I have low resting blood pressure! Or I’d have keeled over by now.

      I do have one neighbor who put a special trashcan in the middle of his driveway with a “no parking” sign. But then people started using it as a real trashcan and he had to put a sign on it saying “this is not a trashcan!”

  5. I hope your rant was as good as you remembered it. She deserved it.

    My daughter, the prosecutor, tells me stories the way my husband used to. He’d get halfway through his tale, and I’d stop him. “You didn’t really say that to your boss, did you?” Usually he ignored my question and continued on. Why spoil a good story?

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