Friday, April 17, 2015

Urban Etiquette: Parking Wars

We open on a busy San Francisco thoroughfare.  The time is earlier this morning.  Our protagonist, ME, is just returning to his street from dropping off his adorable daughter at day care.  (Or, as she would put it, "day tare."  She can't do hard c's or k's yet.)

Our Protagonist rolls up to his block and LO AND BEHOLD there is a parking spot not 3 buildings away from his building.

[BRIEF INTERJECTION: I am #blessed enough to live on a street specifically, and a neighborhood generally, where parking isn't that hard.  You can usually find a space within 5 to 7 minutes.  On weekdays during the day, you can find a space basically anywhere you want.  I USED to live in North Beach and no fooling one Sunday night I once spent almost an hour looking for a space and finally found one on Bay Street which if you're familar with the area is NOT REALLY in North Beach at all.]

O.P. pulls into the spot and parks.  BUT WHAT'S THIS.  There's a pickup truck up ahead with its backing up lights on.  Let me illustrate our relative positions with a diagram.

I love trolling with Comic Sans. Someone is going to feel COMPELLED to say something about the Comic Sans.  The yellow thing is a bike lane BTW.
As you can see, Pickup Truck is double parked at least 3 cars up ahead.  O.P turns off his car and then sees Pickup Truck backing up towards him once the traffic clears.  Pickup Truck has his window down and is saying something.

Pickup Truck is staffed by a maybe early to mid-20's kid with a an attempt at a beard.  "Hey man," he says.  "I've been waiting for that space.  I was waiting for traffic to clear so I could back up."

"What, from all the way up there?" O.P. says.  Notice that O.P did not shrug and say "Tough shit, kid."

"Yeah," Pickup Truck says.

Now, at this point, O.P has two options.  He's already IN the space, so he could get out of his car, lock the doors, and walk away.  Like everything else in life, it's like that scene from Seinfeld.


O.P., however, chose Option Two: Roll Eyes So Broadly It's Visible From Heaven, say "Fine," get back in the car, and park around the corner.

HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN.  Was that right?  Did Pickup Truck have any sort of viable claim on the space from 3 cars ahead?  If he wanted that space so bad, why wasn't he waiting, say, RIGHT NEXT TO IT?  Did someone pull out just as I arrived, when P.T. was already way ahead and he saw it in his rearview and decided to impose a Retroactive Space Save on a space he had absolutely no entitlement to?  What is right?  What is the nature of justice?

In a related humorous story, when The Sister lived in the Lower Haight she was getting ready to pull into a space when an angry woman pulled up next to her and yelled "YOU SAW ME TURN AROUND BITCH" implying that if you see someone turn around to get a space you lose all rights to that space.  I don't even think she saw her turn around bitch in the first place.  Life is complicated.

14 comments:

Tom Howard said...

You have to read the odds of how likely he is to key your car when you leave it parked and walk away.

GG said...

Villain was clearly in the wrong. If you're waiting for a space, you wait directly BEHIND the space (so the person has room to exit the space), then pull directly IN FRONT OF the space and back in IMMEDIATELY. On the upside, you gave up the space even though you were entitled to keep it, so you have earned yourself some valuable parking karma from the universe, which will be redeemed when you need it most.

Stoney said...

I probably would have done the same, TK. Especially in your neighborhood, where other spots can be found. You made your point by saying "really?"

I can sort of understand why the guy was waiting so far up. I had to go to the pet hospital on your thoroughfare yesterday morning, and pulling over to park was sort of fraught, thanks to an unbroken stream of bikes and cars.

Stephen said...

I agree with Stoney that one may find oneself in the position of Villain, eyeing a space and unable to maintain ideal position. HOWEVER, Villain should accept the maxim, "hope for the best, expect the worst." He should not expect the rest of the world to either perceive or respect his desires and intent. If he can get it, great. If he can't, he needs to move along. Are you supposed to be looking in all directions at all distances, assessing the validity of your claim to a space? Fuck that.

Morgan Driver said...

I think you are a much better person than I. You were right and Villain was delusional. My other crazy-maker is when a person stands in a space to save it. Um - no - a human cannot save a place made for a metal death machine (sorry, been on Streetsblog today to aggravate myself)

Stoney said...

In re Sis' Lower Haight tale, I've been the Turner Around-er bitch, and I have been frustrated, but I did not blame the person who got the space.

Jef Poskanzer said...

Never argue over parking. Regardless of the merits of the respective cases, whoever ends up in the space runs the risk of getting keyed. Actually some would argue that you had a moral duty to return and key Villain's vehicle, so he learns this valuable lesson.

Andrea Lepire said...

It's nice to live across the street from a church parking lot in the way Outer Sunset. No real worries about finding parking where at best is right in front of my house, and at worst is not in front of my house but I can see my car from my house.
I once had a neighbor who was about 105 years old who rang the doorbell at 9pm to tell me he parked in front of my house for me so no one else would. I told him that I was parked in my driveway and it's a legal spot for anyone to park in, and his reply was, "but I parked there so nobody else would."

FineWashable said...

You left out a key piece of information for me... did the guy seem like a good honest dude? Or was their any air of entitlement and douche-baggery? Because that would inform my decision.

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