Telling the story of my life in my home - Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Post in Which I Use the D-Word For Bad Parking in Fort McMurray


 
It’s become so endemic that I don’t even bother taking photos anymore, because it’s the norm and not the exception. I encounter it in every single parking lot and on every single street, and it seems to be getting worse, not better. Even the Intrepid Junior Blogger comments on it now, her observant eye often spotting them before I do. The epidemic? Well, as the IJB would term it, “parking douchebags”.
I don’t think I have to explain the term to you, but for quick reference it’s just people who cannot seem to grasp the concept of parking between the lines, not parking on the sidewalk, not blocking driveways, and not parking like jerks. I mean it’s quite the impressive feat when someone can stretch their mid-size car across three parking spots (I’m glad I don’t share a bed with these jackasses, can you imagine how often you’d end up on the floor as they spread across the entire king size trying to claim as much territory as possible?), but it’s more offensive than commendable.

For awhile I was taking photos of them all, but honestly I was finding my photos app on my phone filled with lousy parking pictures, which was getting a bit depressing. And, well, there was that day when someone busted me in the grocery store lot taking a photo of his truck and didn’t respond well when I informed him I was taking pictures of vehicles parked like they’d been abandoned in a tornado (well, and I might have made some reference to the intelligence of those who park this way, which might have been pushing my luck just a wee bit).
The question becomes: why do people feel it is their right to park in ways that infringe on others? My friend Nolan Haukeness refers to them as “Fort McMurray royalty”, and there is a whiff of entitlement going on with those who choose to park like this. More than that, though, I think there is a plain lack of thought and consideration going on, with people not thinking about – or caring – what impact this has on others.

And what is the impact of bad parking, you say? Perhaps you think there is none, and you are one of the ones who parks this way. I will share with you a story from a few months ago.
One day I was in a large parking lot, and when I found my car I realized that the person next to me had wedged their vehicle in so tightly and so close to mine that I could not get in my driver side door. And believe me I tried, opening it and trying to slither in, but there was no way, which left me climbing in through the passenger side door. I won’t go into details about how I was wearing a dress and how climbing over my gear shift was an incredibly unpleasant experience, and how the subsequent bruises lasted for days – but when I finally found myself seated in the driver’s seat I was seething with rage. I felt so impotent, right until I spotted the bag of garbage on the floor of the passenger side. It was a few days old, coffee cups and banana peels and such, a bit ripe-smelling and certainly overdue to be tossed. I looked at it, and I looked at the truck beside me...and then I quietly rolled down my window and tied the bag of garbage to the truck’s passenger side door handle. I felt much better almost instantly, my message – garbage attracts garbage – abundantly clear I thought. I drove away (after extricating myself carefully from the parking spot) smirking over how this individual would likely drive off not even realizing they had garbage tied to their door handle, discovering it later and puzzling over how it got there. So, if that was you and you are reading this – that was me, and I don’t apologize.


So, as the IJB says – don’t be a douche. Stop parking like you own the lots and the streets, and start acting like you share these areas with others, because you do. A long time ago your parents taught you to share with others and colour between the lines, so smarten up and give it a try – or risk finding garbage tied to your door handle, too. Or maybe one of these cards, which I am thinking of printing up and providing to friends – because frankly I am far from the only one tired of this. So, the next time you are in a parking lot and thinking about parking like a jerk – or aren’t thinking at all – remember this post and ask yourself “Am I being a douche?” – and if the answer is yes then ask yourself if that’s how you want others to see you, too. Because trust me - we do.

 
** Disclaimer – I am not a big fan of the word “douche” or “douchebag”, but as the IJB has explained to me on numerous occasions this is perhaps one of the most descriptive words for behaviour that defies explanation or logic. I defer to her wisdom on this point.

16 comments:

  1. It boils down to stupidity, which is the active pursuit of ignorance.
    Egocentric fools who care little about their fellow humans.
    I feel better reading your rant, as I, too, have faced such.
    For me, it is great big vehicles sitting idling in parking lots.
    Cheers from Cottage Country!

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    1. I think the author is the egocentric one. Tying garbage to someone's vehicle? Are you a teenager? Squeeze in to your vehicle and move along already. Just because someone parks like a jackass does not give you the right to be a jackass in return.

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    2. Had I been able to "squeeze in" I would have simply driven away - the point is I had to crawl in through the passenger side door because they parked mere inches from me. I'm not a teenager, but thanks for the compliment - and for choosing to reply anonymously, as it is always nice when one backs up their comments with their name. Such courage you've displayed! ;D

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    3. So what if the person parked like an idiot? Stuff like that happens to everyone at some point in their lives. My point is that I'm surprised you would choose to react in such an immature manner then blog about it s though it is justified.

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    4. You don't really have much of a sense of humour, do you, anonymous? Such a shame.

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    5. Your behaviour is shameful. Why would I find it funny that you tied garbage to someone's door, making it possible for the bag to fly off and cause litter? It's embarassing. I used to think you were a great community leader...

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    6. For starters I made sure the bag was secured tightly and would not create litter. And my apologies that I do not meet your standards for behaviour but for the record I don't live to meet your standards or belief system, and nor have I ever self-proclaimed as a community leader. If you saw me that way (and no longer do) that is entirely your choice. It is unfortunate you lack the courage to actually attach your name to your comments, but then while I may not be perfect according to any standards at least I stand behind the things I say and do with my name attached.

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    7. Oh, and if you wish to continue to hide behind anonymity to take potshots at my character feel free, although I will reserve the right to choose to not publish them. If, however, you wish to actually say these things to me directly my email is mcmurraymusings@shaw.ca and I am always up for coffee, even if it is for a discussion of my "shameful" behaviour ;)

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    8. fucken coward hiding under Anonymity

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  2. While I agree 100% that there are a lot of self-entitled jerks in this town parking ridiculously, I will also admit that right now I am practicing for my drivers license and parking is my most problematic task with the gigantic truck I have to practice in. Don't be too quick to judge everyone before you know their story. It might not be that they're intentionally parking terribly- they might just lack the skill needed. Hopefully they are trying to improve, like me...

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    1. If you are practicing then you are aiming for improvement - which means hopefully if you park and realize you have done a poor job you are trying again, not walking away from the vehicle and simply accepting the poor job, right? I understand learning to drive, as I did so less than 15 years ago (for many years I didn't need a license while living in large urban centres). But if I was trying to park, and it went badly, I pulled out and trying again - and again - until I got it right, or at least very close to right. So I still don't see this as an excuse for the kind of parking job I describe, as even those learning should be attempting to get it done properly - or parking far away from others until they can.

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  3. Good point that people who can't park should be trying again and again, and practicing away from other vehicles- the sad thing is, aside from the empty parking lots in which we can practice, many important areas in town are cram-packed most of the time, and leave very little room for mistakes or out-of-the-way parking.

    I think a letter on a person's window is fine to let them know you're upset with their lack of parking skill, but I think something less bullying would be better. Remember that some people who lack parking skill might have just gotten their licence or might be a nice person who simply sucks at parking (and hopefully are trying to remedy the situation). Don't always assume a bad parking job is a self-righteous stab at others- it could be an honest mistake. By leaving "Douche" on their car, you could be ruining that person's day, whereas a matter-of-fact note could be helpful without the anger towards a stranger.

    Don't get me wrong- I get mad about bad parking too. I just don't think that leaving a note that says "Douche" on someone's windshield is the best way to make a point. It's hurtful. The ferret card is a much kinder (funnier) way to get your point across.

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    1. I think however it is likely that those who are new drivers are in the distinct minority in this regard (and frankly are often to likely be the ones trying harder to park properly, not sprawling across three spots). While there is some room for the "new driver" explanation I'm afraid it doesn't quite cover the convertible parked sideways across three spots, or the large trucks parked directly in opposition to diagonal lines. Let's be honest - the vast majority of these parking jobs are not being created by new drivers - they are being practiced by those with a callous disregard for others. Or, as the IJB would call them, a douche.

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  4. I also choose to be anonymous, not because I’m a coward, but because it’s my choice. I agree that there are some really bad parkers , but there are also a lot of speeders, lane hoggers, texters’ , people talking on their cell phones, eating, putting makeup on, people cut you off … shall I continue? What do you do to these people… through a banana peel from your garbage at them? Get on with your life, its too short to be so mad and unhappy. Good book I recommend is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. The first part of the book explain a Paradigm shift (a radical change in underlying beliefs or theory), try it, you will be wiser.

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    1. Actually you have the choice to remain anonymous because I have chosen to publish comments made anonymously, and I could quite easily as the author of this blog choose to not publish them, too. I do feel that those who truly believe in what they say are unafraid to attach their names to it and accept the consequences, whatever they may be.

      It is funny as if you knew me you would know I am one of the least angry and most optimistic, happy people around - but that day I had reached my limit on lousy parking, and I don't believe in allowing bad behaviour to go unchecked (which is why I also report speeders and aggressive drivers to the RCMP. My actions don't indicate an angry or unhappy person but rather one who had had enough that day, and made a statement in a fairly mild manner. I read Covey's book a very long time ago, but thanks for the suggestion - I don't believe I need a radical change in my underlying beliefs or theory as I am quite happy with them :)

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