In a local small shopping mall with dozens of available parking spaces, you decided to leave your car in the lane for entering traffic. I could tell you were in a hurry because you noticed many cords were dangling from the door when you exited your car. Headphones and iPhone chargers, most likely. You paused for a second to think about that, but then locked your car and walked briskly into the store.
Clearly, you didn’t care that you were inconveniencing every person who entered the mall and had to maneuver around your very large SUV, waiting for cars coming from the other direction to pass. Obviously, it never crossed your mind that leaving your car there could cause an accident.
Here’s the thing. It was 10:15 am on a beautiful day. There were so many legal spots just a couple of yards away. And you were going into a sporting goods store to buy something that could not have been an emergency. You had no obvious handicapping conditions, but if you did, there was a space nearby for you. Clearly, you simply felt it was fine to leave your car there because you are more special than the rest of us who park legally. I know because I was the grouchy customer behind you who asked you why you blocked the entrance to the mall rather than parking in one of the numerous legal spots nearby.
You glowered at me and left with your purchase. You didn’t say you were sorry to have caused a traffic jam. You weren’t sorry. You were in a hurry and felt entitled. I know it wasn’t an emergency. You were fully made up and your hair was perfect, so you couldn’t have been rushing out to get something urgent. I’m left wondering what makes you feel so privileged.
As I drive around this summer, I see other versions of you. There was the driver who stopped in the middle of a narrow side street the other day waiting for someone to emerge from his apartment, for example. As I waited as patiently as possible, I couldn’t help but notice a parking spot just one car ahead of where you had stopped. I would have been happy to wait for you to pull in, but you didn’t.
My daughter lives on a narrow one-way street near the L. People park there all day to walk to the train, leaving no place for folks who actually live there and visitors like me to park. During the school year, a van picks up my granddaughter with special needs to take her to school. It’s clear she’s a student wearing her backpack. If other folks who got there earlier to park for the L had left room for a van to pull in, the driver wouldn’t have to block the street. And you honk impatiently while she gets in because you want to park down the block so you can walk to the train.
This past weekend, I attended a swim meet for two of my grandkids. It was a thrill for me to watch them, but scattered around a very nice and friendly audience, there were a handful of special folks. Thank you to the woman who felt somehow privileged and had to stand up to take a photo, blocking my view. And a special shout out to your compatriot behind me who felt entitled to scream at the top of his lungs “pull, pull” whenever his child was swimming. I doubt his child could hear him, but the rest of sure could. Your yelling made my hearing aid buzz and forced others to cover their ears. You, sir, were so loud that you drowned out the clapping and cheering of every other spectator rooting for a swimmer in that meet. I guess only your child mattered.
I know this is a rather grumpy Monday morning rant, but really folks. Please consider that you are no more special, entitled, or privileged than the rest of us who try to be thoughtful, civilized, and empathic to our fellow human beings.