It’s the holidays. We try to love our fellow man — except when they stink at parking.
What is it about parking that stirs the passions so profoundly? Perhaps it’s because parking is such a simple, commonplace, communal activity that we take it for granted, and when someone violates the basic societal norms that have long governed the parking process it shakes the foundations of our world in deeply infuriating ways and suggests that we may live surrounded by clueless, self-absorbed idiots.
Whether the disturbing scenario involves going to a crowded parking lot and seeing that some jerk’s bad parking job has effectively taken up two of the precious spaces, or parking at a meter and returning to find that the kind people parking in front of and behind have left you no room whatsoever to maneuver out of your spot, or shoveling out your standard parking place after a huge snow storm, marking the spot, and then returning to find it occupied by someone else’s car, bad and inconsiderate parking tends to fuel rage. And often the only meaningful outlet for the inward rage is a pointed, passive-aggressive note that can be hilarious to those of us who are only passing by.
Some years ago, BuzzFeed carried a story that displayed 40 great passive-aggressive parking notes. There’s even a website called passiveaggressivenotes.com that collects choice examples of anonymous signage in which angry people try to change the behavior of the thoughtless people in the world. And passive-aggressive signs aren’t limited to America; Richard and I saw the sign accompanying this post on our visit to Paris a few years ago. The lesson for those of us with passive-aggressive tendencies is: always have pen and paper handy, because you never know when you might see some jerky behavior that needs some gentle correction.