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.
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.