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Friday, April 07, 2006

Parking Etiquette

Here's a scenario:

I was circling and circling today, looking for a parking spot so I could take care of some errands. The main drag out here, Central Ave., was absolutely hopping, and I was not having much success. Finally, I used the tactic of following a woman laden with packages, hoping she was heading to her car, and lucked out. As she loaded her packages into the trunk, I motioned to her in universal body language for: "Are you pulling out?". She nodded. She got into the car, turned it on, hit her blinker to indicate she was pulling out. Then, I saw her suddenly wave out her window. She had apparently spotted her friend. She then proceeded to motion to her friend in what is obviously universal body language for: "Come over and stand by my car window to chat with me while cars furiously honk the woman who is double parked, waiting for the spot I told her I was pulling out of".

I know that it's her spot until she sees fit to give it up. I know that she owes me nothing. I know that she has every right to abort relinquishing her parking spot on a whim. But somehow, the fact that she decided to chat for five minutes when someone was clearly waiting for her spot just irked me. (In all fairness, it didn't irk me quite as much as the cars behind me who were putting their horns into heavy rotation.)

I ended up circling a few more times, just to get the ringing of the car horns out of my ears. The first two times I went around the block, she was still chatting with her buddy. The third time, a ginormous silver SUV was just pulling in to the spot that she had obviously finally vacated.

I see both sides here. I understand that she owed me nothing, least of all her parking space. But does anyone agree with me that she was just the teeny-tiniest bit inconsiderate?

52 Comments:

Anonymous jerusalemom said...

Uh, I'd say that's more then a teeny bit inconsiderate. I'd say it's downright obnoxious, especially as she knew you were sitting there waiting for her spot.
I believe there is such a thing as common courtesy which obviously this women lacked entirely.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Yes. (Parking. One of the best reasons *not* to live in NY. :) )

What's worse - that, or circling the hospital with your brother and his family who have a limited time to see your new baby, finally finding a spot - only to see a guy standing there, "saving" it for someone. At first, you think it's the car right in front of the spot which is trying to back in; then you realize that they, too, are being waved away, which means that he's saving the spot for a car that is not in sight - while 2 other cars circle endlessly. [Grrr...]

6:23 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

She does not owe you anything perhaps but she does owe basic menshlichkeit a big explanation!

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who leaves in the Five Towns knows how bad that one strip of street is...from Maple to Cedarhurst Avenue. Its worse than Avenue J!

People double parking like crazy! Even leaving their cars unattended while they run into a store! The cops need to be out more ticketing these violators!

7:57 AM  
Blogger Ayelet said...

two sides? Hers is a vey weak position, let me tell you. Such behavior is totally obnoxious. The only thing you should have to wait for is buckling kids into the car, warming up the car on a cold day, adjusting mirrors, etc. What she did is totally unacceptable. I think I would have said something before moving on.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

What a total jerk. An absolute total jerk.
(and her parents are probably jerks, too.)

8:08 AM  
Blogger MDmom said...

oh my goodness. the exact same thing happened to me over here. except, as i have learned, it's perfectly acceptable on this side of the pond to call them out on it. so i did in my very american accented hebrew. it felt great to tell these rude individuals that their behavior was "ma-mash lo yafah." and i thought it was just an israeli obnoxiousness. well, since my town has been called the "israeli 5 towns" i guess the two are more similar than i realized...

8:12 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Completely obnoxious.

8:19 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anyone who leaves in the Five Towns knows how bad that one strip of street is...from Maple to Cedarhurst Avenue. Its worse than Avenue J!

People double parking like crazy! Even leaving their cars unattended while they run into a store! The cops need to be out more ticketing these violators!


Hmm. Having been on Avenue J numerous times, I have to call you on that. As inconsiderate as people might be on that stretch of Central Ave that you mentioned, it does not come close to Ave. J. First of all, there are meter maids constantly walking around with ticket books in Cedarhurst. It's like the meter maids (and men) out here have some kind of radar that allows them to zero in on a meter the millisecond it expires. The kind of actions you are describing that definitely does occur in Brooklyn, really is not tolerated here. Thank God.

8:19 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

mdmom:
it felt great to tell these rude individuals that their behavior was "ma-mash lo yafah."

Now THAT'S what I should have said. It sounds so much more satisfying than anything I could have said to her in english!

8:23 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

ezzie:
What's worse - that, or circling the hospital with your brother and his family who have a limited time to see your new baby, finally finding a spot - only to see a guy standing there, "saving" it for someone

I've encountered the spot-saving a few times when trying to park in the City. It seems to be somewhat accepted over there. I think it's obnoxious.

8:24 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Wow. I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt here, but I guess I was way off, according to every one of you. She was wrong.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very rude, but very typical. I just have to mention the women who get into their cars and see you pull over and signal, then proceed to get on the phone and sit there and chat as you wait, wait, wait. I guess it's better than driving and talking, but I just want to scream as I pull up parallel to them to motion them "Are you EVER leaving?" only to have them pretend they don't see me.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

"two sides"?? Your writing has obviously been tempered by your recent commenter. Don't be afraid. Say what you really feel! This was an opportune time to roll down your window and call her on her behaviour.

9:22 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Just Passing Through said...

"two sides"?? Your writing has obviously been tempered by your recent commenter. Don't be afraid. Say what you really feel! This was an opportune time to roll down your window and call her on her behaviour.


LOL. Actually, I really can see the other side. I myself have been the recipient of an angry glare or two when someone waiting for the spot I am vacating is frustrated at the amount of time it was taking me to buckle my kids in or load my groceries. This, though, is a little different.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Buckle your kids as they wait?? How inconsiderate of you.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous essie said...

Move "out of town". This phenomenon you call "double parking" does not exist.

10:08 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Just Passing Through said...

Buckle your kids as they wait?? How inconsiderate of you.


Can you believe? Really, what I should have done, is throw the kids in the trunk with all the groceries. That would have been the considerate thing to do.

10:09 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

I would agree with the rest of the people here. There are no "two sides" here at all.

In general though, the parking really is pretty crazy, so the wife and I have created certain "rules" of suggested behavior for parking (especially since it was revealed in a recent special talents post by Jack that I always find the parking spot furthest from my ultimate destination):

- Shop at odd times. I do my shopping right after davening while the lots and stores are empty. When my wife needs to shop at Brachs, she goes before 9:00.

- Park off the avenue. Not only is this less stressful, it's shorter. I've found that it takes shorter to walk an extra block or two than to try to honk and weave your way through all of the double parked cars. To say nothing of nearly hitting all of the people who run across the street with their kids in tow. And the extra exercise you get by walking (and shlepping back to the car) can only help. Especially if your kids enjoy shlepping (and if they don't, they should learn).

10:14 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

Really, what I should have done, is throw the kids in the trunk with all the groceries. That would have been the considerate thing to do.

Now THERE's an activity to do with the kids... LOL

10:16 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

"Can you believe? Really, what I should have done, is throw the kids in the trunk with all the groceries. That would have been the considerate thing to do."

Not a bad idea. NO need for seatbelts there and you'll save on car-seats. Just be sure not to place them on top of the eggs.

on a side note, how do you italicise in the comments?)

10:19 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

JPT -- you need a short lesson in HTML...

Attributes are designated using tags, and each atttributes contains an open tag and a close tag. Open tags comprise of a less-than sign (<) an attribute (b for bold, i for italic, etc.) and a greater-than sign (>).

Close tags are the same, but you place a forward slash in between the less-than sign and the attribute.

Here's an example:

This is an example of < B > bold text < / B > and this is an example of < I > italic text < / I >.

Note that in the text above, I added spaces between all of the characters in the tags, as otherwise, they would become invisible and woudl instead alter the text, as I've done here:

This is an example of bold text and this is an example of italic text.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Momo, I am not talking about the expired meters...I am talking about the double parking. There are always multiple cars double parked up and down that stretch. There are not enough of the 'meter hawks' to catch them.

Don't you love it when one of these double parked cars starts to slowly drive as you go to pass them?

Cedarhurst is a joke...it took me almost 15 minutes to get from Prospect to Rockaway Turnpike last Friday. The streets were so crazy, it was like the end of the world was coming.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing...maybe the meter maids are scared to write more tickets in fear of rioting similar to what happended in good 'ol Boro park.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

I have to remember always that it is not my own cleverness that provides me with parking spaces, but HaShem's goodness.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could have given her a taste of her own medicine-- double-parked next to her, shut your engine and catch up with reading your newspaper (though the better image would be to then run into a store, waving an open hand at her as if to say 'back in 5!')-- ahh, revenge is sweet but unfortunately halachically unacceptable.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Must: Thank you! but couldn't you write it in plain english??

Anon: Rioting in the 5-Towns. Now there's a funny mental picture.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

aha!

11:29 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

I have to remember always that it is not my own cleverness that provides me with parking spaces, but HaShem's goodness.

Reminds of the story of the guy who is in a rush and is looking for a spot and looks heavenward and exclaims "Lord, if you would help me find a parking spot right away, I will return to your ways!". Suddenly a car pulls out right in front and the guy sees the spot. He looks up and says "Lord, never mind, I found a spot"...

but couldn't you write it in plain english??

What's English?

11:38 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

Rioting in the 5T???? LOL Oh MAN what a visual. You see, it would start out because a woman was ticketed for talking on her cell phone but the officer will have accidentally stepped on her shoes and the woman would shreik "YOU STEPPED ON MY GUCCI SHOES!!!" and then all hell would break loose and rather than fire, people would throw food at eachother from all of the zillions of restaurants. It would be like one huge foodfight actually...

11:41 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Naah. We're too civilized for that type of naarishkeit. We'd just take out full-page ads in the FTJT against each other.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the woman who was in the car that you were waiting for.

I am sorry you feel that I was obnoxious but the way I see it my husband and I are Young Turks who are on the Country Club track and well the world revolves around us -so tough luck sister! .

Go Red Shul!!

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The BP mentality has come to the 5T full blast.Oddly enough the women behave worse than the men.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It;s not the BP mentality.. it;s the religious mentality.

as long as I keep shabbos I can do treat people like sh*t.

it's the zeitgeist.
zsta

1:31 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

>Move "out of town". This phenomenon you call "double parking" does not exist.

Baruch Hashem for the big parking lots of suburbia.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous mochassid said...

it's a dog-eat-dog world out there; survival of the fittest. Stop whining :-)

3:25 PM  
Blogger Jewboy said...

Baruch Hashem sheloh asani New Yorker

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i do think there are two sides to this. This lady was very busy with pesach and all (just as busy as you) and she didn't have a chance to see or speak to this friend in a while and she wanted to speak to her. I assume there was enough money in the meter, either way she was parked there legally and although she signalled to you that she was leaving the spot, when her friend showed up she changed her mind. If she had suddenly remembered she needed eggs, she would have gone to the store, also leaving you stranded. Both types of mind changing are legitimate. She doesn't owe you anything. It is also very important that she didn't cause you to rely on her to your detriment. All she did was signal that she would soon be leaving. I'm sorry that you missed a good spot and got honked at, but that's life. I read the other comments and I just don't get them. It seems this blog attracts a lot of angry self-righteous people looking to call out people who aren't so particular about their middos. That's a shame.

6:14 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

In Israel, the Druse community does not permit women to drive except if accompanied by a male relative. That's one way to curb rude female driving behavior.

3:30 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:30 PM  
Blogger kasamba said...

You should have shot her with your taser gun.
That would've taught her a lesson.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Of limited relevance is a cute book called Tepper Isn't Going Out about a guy named Murray Tepper who made it his practice to hunt out parking spots in New York City, feed the meter, and simply sit in his car and read the Post until it expired. It doesn't at all answer your question, but thought I would point it out to your readers.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

ymedad: In Israel you have the druse, here we have the chassidim with the same rule -although I wouldn't say it's improved driving behaviour :-)

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom,

The woman was absolutely wrong and her behavior was horrid. If one doesn't have basic decency and compassion for someone else, as displayed by her, they are like an animal - plain and simple. What she did was pure chutzpah.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ditto that there IS another side to this. Especially IF she was still parked in her spot, had money in the meter, and didn't tell you "I'm leaving this second" but rather indicated she was leaving soon... it's not like she was double-parked or something.

I think it would have been "extra mentschlich" from her part to pass on talking with her friend and let you get to your spot sooner - but hey - that doesn't mean that NOT doing it makes her a Jerk, lo yafeh, lacking midos, etc.

All that said, I feel for ya sistah!

9:11 PM  
Blogger MDmom said...

according to OM, the woman got in, started the ignition and used her blinker to indicate she was pulling out, then saw her friend and proceeded to wave her over and begin a conversation -- all the while OM was waiting for the spot, after receiving an affirmative response from the woman as to whether or not she was leaving. this behavior was just rude. (and it's lo yafah, hitnahagut is feminine...)

6:01 AM  
Blogger storywatcher said...

The problem is there are way too many damn cars and people are way too damn lazy. Going to the corner store: Take the SUV. Only losers walk. That's why there's no place to park.
Whenever I go to my car from an errand I actually scout out drivers who seem to be looking for a spot and point to my car. Then I get out as quick as I can. WHY? The golden rule. If you know what it's like to cruiser for a spot you should empathize with the next cruiser. Do unto others ... Basic decency.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the other driver had a right to change her mind, but it was her lack of informing you of this that was inconsiderate.

If there was still enough time left on the meter, she was parked there legally. I think she could change her mind for any reason, whether to speak with a friend or to go back to the store or to sit and do something in her car. She should have, however, cut the engine so as not to waste gasoline and then shoould have undone her blinker and indicated to you (or have had her friend indicate to you) that she would be staying, or at least not leaving immediately.

It would have been much more gracious of her to have followed through on her actions, which had gotten so close to the point of pulling out. While I do not believe a person should be expected to exit a space simply because it appears to another that the person is ready to vacate, I do think that she led you on through her communication with you and her actions and that it would have been a bit ungracious not to follow through even if she had in fact indicated to you that she had changed her mind.

It's certainly understandable to be irked in the situation you were in. It would be understandable for you to have been irked even if she had informed you. We have the right to be irked by inconvenience or added effort caused by another even if the other person hasn't actually done anything wrong.

Still, if she had informed you, I would not think she had done anything actively wrong, and certainly not been rude or jerk-like, just not very gracious.

But you don't need to feel guilty for being irked at her failure to inform or acknowledge to you that she had changed her mind, or even for being irked at the situation.

If, however, you would be less upset with someone for changing her mind to go back to the store than for changing her mind to chat with a friend, I don't think that is fair.

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should have taken her picture with your cell phone and posted it here so that we can all shun her for life

9:09 AM  
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