We had a date at the Woodland’s pavilion recently. A comedy show that deserves its own post at a later date. The show started at 7 or 8, we arrived at 4 or 5 with the intention of having dinner and drinks and then leisurely making our way to the pavilion.
For those of you that have not been to the Woodlands Pavilion, there is a parking garage immediately beside it that is also used by the movie theater patrons, and a whole slew of retail and dining patrons going to shop or eat in the fancy Woodlands shopping center. Needless to say, the parking garage is usually packed.
After our food and drinks, we made our way to the pavilion and, since we had more than an hour before show time, we decided to just take a quick spin through the garage and see if we got lucky.
On level 3 we hit the jackpot. We were perfectly positioned with no need to back up or anything for a space a woman was about to pull out of. Huzzah! So my man put his blinker on and we prepared to wait.
However, the truck in front of us, that had driven PAST the soon-to-be-open space, suddenly slammed into reverse and tried to back up to take the spot.
We were both so stunned at first that we couldn’t believe what was happening. We thought: surely he is just kind of bad with spatial relations and will realize that a.) there is someone already waiting to take the space, b.) he already completely passed the space physically so backing up would be incredibly rude with someone behind him.
But nope. Neither of these realizations struck the person in the truck as he slowly edged himself backwards clearly expecting us to not only sit tight and allow him to do so, but it would actually have required that WE back up as well, AND the person behind us would have to back up. SO this guy expected two cars to back up so he could back up a full two truck-lengths in order to get this space…that he had passed already.
My sweet, patient, kind man did what any one would do in this situation. He hurried to drive up as far as we could go (without passing the space ourselves) to not allow the truck any delusions about us backing up for their obnoxiously rude behavior. You can’t reward people for rudeness, they will just think it is OK and do it again.
Now, let me be clear. The Man and I are pretty nice, generous people as a rule. We have the luxury of rarely being in a hurry and we are willing to walk a long way from the car to the door. We will often give up parking spaces, places in line, and other things that most people consider as their “right” because, well, who cares? If it is that important to someone else, then by all means, have it.
But for some reason, this blatant disregard for common courtesy boiled our blood. It was so clearly coming from an attitude of “I have a bigger truck and this will force you to yield to my rudeness and since we don’t know each other, it doesn’t really matter how rude I am to you.”
If it had been like, a foot or two they needed to back up, maybe. If they had seen the space and realized they were ABOUT to pass it and needed just a bit more room to make the tight turn in their big vehicle…SURE! But all but the last three feet of their bed was beyond the space!
What happened next was the strangest thing I have ever encountered in a parking situation.
The truck continued to threaten to back up with its reverse lights and tapping menacingly on the brakes inching back further and further over the hood of our much closer to the ground vehicle.
We were sitting in “park” by this time.
Then, they started honking. Long, loud, angry horn blowing.
I began to imagine the kind of person in the truck. Maybe a big sloppy, balding 40 something wearing camo and a stained t-shirt. Maybe he was missing teeth. Maybe a cheek full of dip. So many maybes.
But then the passenger got out and came to our window…to scream at us.
She was in her early twenties, caucasian, cute as a button, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, looking every inch the intelligent, plucky college student she probably was. She was in good shape, she was wearing relatively expensive name brand clothing and shoes, and had clearly been well cared for her entire life. At least physically.
In other words, her mama raised her better than what she was about to do:
She began screaming things like “Bitch! Just back up!” “Just back the fuck up stupid bitch!” (mind you I wasn’t driving) and “What the fuck? The spot doesn’t have your name on it!” To which we could only respond “It doesn’t have your name on it either!”
The man pointed out that not only would we have to back up, but the (now TWO) cars behind us would have to back up as well to accommodate their highly ego-centric attitude regarding this parking space.
By the way, thanks to the actual placement of the truck, the poor woman trying to leave was trapped. She finally got out and said “No one can park here as long as I am trapped.” Apparently truck-people didn’t seem to care.
SInce we had all the time in the world, we just sat tight. We had the latest episodes of The Joe Rogan Podcast and more than an hour until we had to be somewhere. They were probably there to see a movie, so they likely had a tighter schedule than we did. So we turned off the car (idling is so bad for the environment) and sat there.
For maybe ten solid minutes. TEN. That isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things, but it was an eternity for these people who continued to honk and sit in reverse inches from our car.
I kept thinking, we should probably just let it go. It isn’t our responsibility to teach these kids about proper parking garage etiquette. And really, like I said, we usually don’t bother with these kinds of silly things. We don’t like to spend energy on this kind of crap. Luckily we were genuinely amused by the situation and laughing and smiling the whole time.
We weren’t angry in the least. Although my adrenaline was pumping as I worried about these angry kids having a shot gun in their big ol’ truck and what Jacob would do if they were stupid enough to threaten to use it. Over a parking space. That they passed up.
Worried about how far it might escalate, I snapped a photo of their license plate and then, just to be safe, I walked up to the passenger side window and told the young lady to “smile!” as I snapped a photo. To her credit, she smiled beautifully and gave me two thumbs up. Granted she meant it sardonically, but I was beginning to doubt my original assessment of her as an intelligent, educated person and doubt she could spell sardonic much less define it as an intentional attitude. The driver, I discovered was a young man in his twenties also. He seemed far less animated than our new lady-friend, but equally determined to have what was owed him by his entitled reckoning.
Sadly, the woman behind us even backed up and hollered that we could just back up and give it to them. She was ready to just give up and let them have it. We weren’t feeling quite so “roll-over” about it.
Finally the idiots gave up and, tires squealing they sped off to try their luck elsewhere. The nice lady in the space had plenty of room to pull out without us having to back up a single inch. We took the spot and calmly went on our way.
I feared some kind of retaliation but, as Jacob pointed out, we had photos and video of much of the altercation, and knew how to find them if our tires were indeed slashed. Plus we have TripleAAA and could just get a free tow and a ride home. No biggie.
I occasionally think about these two kiddos and what the whole experience meant on a bigger level. I have often watched someone slip into a space I was waiting for. We have all laughed at that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes: ToWanda
I know this generation, which technically includes me according to the years, is the most lazy, entitled, and directionless group of people ever. And this surely illustrated the point. Maybe we were only adding to the problem by refusing to accommodate their reverse to let them have the space. But while most of the time we are willing to let the silly people have the silly things in an effort to avoid confrontation or even interaction, for some reason this time it just felt wrong. WRONG.
Yes a parking space is a silly thing, but that night it was the principle of the matter. And our baser instincts that desire “fair” to be a thing. I get that life usually isn’t fair, but for some reason that night, it needed to be. And by god, it was.