If you've read my blog for awhile you might remember a very early post where I wrote of my frustration with discouraging folks from parking in our rented private space. We've put up cones and had 5 of them stolen. I've also stated we really don't like towing people who refuse to read the signs posted and park there anyway.
Every time we leave our space to go somewhere we pray when we return no one would be parking there. It's true! Our landlord and others in the building renting adjacent spaces have told us the only alternative is to tow them. As I mentioned above, we honestly don't like doing that because it's $135, plus storage fees at $25 per hour. We know folks come into town to shop, have a meal, visit one of the pubs, or go to a concert. They're just looking to have a nice time out. I get it ... another reason why I don't relish towing them.
But recently, I've soured any leaning toward compassion in the matter. A couple of months ago in the afternoon we were coming home from some sort of errand and there ensconced in our parking spot was a car. All the other parking spaces adjacent to ours were empty. Grrrrr. So, we know the routine and called the towing company who've become very familiar with us (since March, the need to tow has picked up substantially because McLadden's Pub just opened right around the corner). A few minutes after they called, we spotted two young men in their 20's walking to the car carrying what looked like cake boxes. Just as they were about to get in I said, "Hey guys, you're parking in our private space and were about to get towed." The young guy on the driver's side smirked and said, "Yeah, like that's gonna happen. GRRRRR." I retorted, "You think we're kidding? Why don't you just sit right there for another 5 minutes and you'll see how much we're kidding!"
The kid on the passenger side looked surprised and said, "what are you doing that for? We just came to pick up some cakes." I replied, "That might be true, but why should we have to wait for you to do that when it's our space? We don't where the owner of the car is or how long they'll be there. Like you, people give us all sorts of reasons why we should let them park there 'for just a minute.'" He gave me a "that's BS" brushoff." They got in the car and left.
Don't you just love attitudes of entitlement!!! I know I do.
The second encounter was more upsetting because of the person's quick and self-righteous judgment of people she doesn't know.
Last week we were coming back from somewhere and, once again, someone was in our spot. All the adjacent parking spaces were empty. We summoned the tow truck which showed up in about 7 minutes. The driver hooked up the car, and was done in about 5 minutes. We pulled into our space, got out our stuff and started to leave when this petite women in her late 40's or early 50's walked up and offered, "Well that was a pretty a__hole thing to do, don't you think?" "No, I don't," I said back. "You didn't need to tow them," she responded. "Yes, I did because it's our space and they have no right to park there!" She looked at the adjacent spaces and shot back, pointing, "You could've parked in any one of those." I said, "No, we couldn't have because they're private too, and would tow us. It happened before with our daughter." I continued, "Look at it this way: if you go home tonight and someone you didn't know just decided they're staying in your house for the night, you wouldn't respond, "Oh, sure, I'll just get a hotel room." When I said that, she nodded slightly and gave me a subtle facial gesture suggesting, "You got a point there." But, then she turned slowly and as she was walking away left us with: "Well, as long as you can live with yourself." I was annoyed and surprised by her words so I snippily retorted, "We do that quite well, ma'am."
I'm not proud of saying that last thing, but I have to say I was confused and angry at why she felt the need to say anything at all to us. We don't know each other. It was as if, to her, we were in the wrong and just needed to let people park there whenever. To tow them was over-the-top, or unfair, or un-neighborly, I guess.
As I thought more about it, I realized my frustration with the two young men, and then with her was that the folks who ignore the signs, steal the cones, and park where they please have no responsibility to the people who pay for the spaces. The latter are supposed to yield to the interlopers who feel entitled to use that spot because it was empty and for the taking - first come; first served, I guess? In both situations we were judged as being unreasonable and unkind. We needed to yield, period. Our small inconvenience did not match what towing would cause them. That's true, but if we did nothing people would park there all the time. We've tested it, especially since the pub opened.
The reality is: we pay for the space. It is ours to park in or not. We need no one else's permission to do so, especially someone who just decides they're going to take the space as they please. By the way, it is clearly marked that the space is reserved parking, and non-compliers will be towed at their own expense. You takes yer chances if you ignore the warning.
As I said, we don't enjoy towing, but we also don't like being taken advantage of, or being summarily judged by someone who knows us not. No one likes either of those two injustices.
So, we'll continue to pray no one parks there, and continue to tow if they do. Sometimes people need to say, "No, you can't."