On Friday I did something that I’ve done before and has previously caused a raucous.
At about 1 o’clock I drove to the nearby shopping center to pick-up a sandwich for Bill and myself. Being that it was Friday afternoon and still summer, it was a bit crowded. In fact, there was 1 parking spot left behind the sandwich shop. Next to that open spot was a crookedly parked Audi sedan that went over the line in such a way that made getting in and out of my car difficult. I was instantly irritated by that fact but I parked there anyway. I knew my trip would be quick as I had pre-ordered the sandwich.
In moments of irritation or anger, my imagination turns me into a self-righteous vigilante. At first, I imagine swinging my door wide open with absolutely no care. In doing that I completely ruin the passenger side of the Audi. As I walked up to the sandwich shop, I imagined writing a scathing judgmental letter and placing it on the owner’s windshield.
Segway to my actually having done the latter before. When I lived at home with my mom and stepdad, a guest who would make weekly visits to someone who lived two doors down would always park in front of our house, which is where I would typically park my car. It was not permit parking on the street, so she was “allowed” to park there, but it always seemed rude to me that I had to park across the street because she couldn’t park in front of her guest’s house (who often had available parking). Upon returning home from work one afternoon, irritated by my day, by the hour of traffic in which I’d just say, and then by the fact that “my” parking spot wasn’t available to make my life just a little easier, I was fed up. I wrote the guest a note about how she should be aware that she was not a resident in our neighborhood and the way she consistently parked far from her destination in front of other neighbors’ houses was rude.
The guest got the message, apparently. She also wrote a letter; however, she placed it on my stepdad’s windshield–who she’d assumed to have written the message for her. My stepdad found it and was in disbelieving confusion and was also furious. He came inside the house, yelled about it to my mom and ripped the letter.
When I think of it now, I laugh. It’s as though we were playing a made-up game of Bad Karma Telephone. I didn’t want to have that effect on the driver of the Audi.
But I still wanted to take action.
I picked up my sandwich and grabbed a napkin on my way out the shop.
I sat in my car, turned on the air conditioner and tried to imagine the least possible offensive message I could write, but one that would potentially be effective–like a parent educating a child.
I wrote, You would be considered a kinder, courteous person if you took more care with the way you parked. 🙂
The real issue behind my anger in that situation was that I’d taken personal offense toward a person who could or would not care about how their action affected other people. Satisfied with that message, I got out of my car and looked around. I lifted their windshield wiper, left the napkin message down, got back in my car and drove away.
That message wasn’t bad karma. That message was a little wake-up call, no matter who was on the receiving end and what their situation. You are not alone. I acknowledge that you might feel like you are, but someone noticed you for better or worse. You could be noticed for more positive things.
Though I couldn’t stand by my previous message, I can stand by this one. Humans can be hateful when we’re surrounded by loss and sadness. Lack of self-awareness implies a disconnectedness from oneself, and from others. I’m okay throwing it in someone’s face that they’re not alone. I know what that feels like. I waver in that feeling sometimes. But we all have to live on this planet together, and it would be nicer if we could share it rather than fight over it.
May good things come to you always.