Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Parking Nazi

One of the questions I get asked a lot by my friends, family, and co-workers is "have you met your neighbors." Since I have been pretty consumed with moving, working, and fixing up the house I haven't really had much time to knock on anyone's doors and formally introduce myself and conversely no one has come over with a plate of freshly baked cookies to welcome me to the 'hood. The only neighbor I have actually gotten to know (who shall be known from here on out as the Parking Nazi) lives next door and we have spoken more out of necessity than friendliness because (unfortunately as it turns out) we share a driveway.

When I purchased the house I was thinking sharing the driveway wouldn't be such a big deal. The way it is set up is there is one drive that goes between the two houses and opens up into a larger space behind the houses. There is definitely room to fit several cars on each side and still be able to maneuver cars to get in and out so that no one is ever really blocked in. The fact that multiple cars can fit in the driveway is important because the section of the street that I live on is too narrow to allow cars to park on the street. That means if I have guests they either have to park in the driveway or further up the road where the street widens and just walk to my house. I realize this parking situation will be a pain for my future guests and I got my own taste of it when having to move into the house. Imagine multiple cars and a U-Haul all of which has to fit on your side of the driveway because your pain-in-the-ass neighbor has made it clear that she is not understanding at all.

Let me explain.

Before I moved in I went and knocked on the Parking Nazi's door to introduce myself and let her know that I would be moving in and would have multiple cars going in and out throughout the week as I brought stuff over, painted, etc. I jokingly said "yeah I guess we'll get to know each other pretty well and probably want to exchange phone numbers since we'll be sharing the driveway." She immediately got this worried look on her face and said repeatedly for the rest of our conversation "just don't block me in" even after I assured her that I wouldn't. I thought her behavior was a little strange but didn't really think anything else of it.

As I have noted previously I had a lot of help from various people throughout my move-in process. My mom had her car, Erik had his, my brother had his car, and Edward had his. That makes five cars including my own that were rotating in and out of the driveway (very carefully I might add to not block in my neighbor's car). On more than one occasion if one of our cars was even remotely on "her side" of the driveway she would immediately come out and say something to either myself or the owner of the car and make them move. Even her parents (hereby dubbed  the Parking Gestapo) who watch her son while she is working during the day had no qualms saying something to the contractors who were working on the house or myself if someone may be parked on her side of the driveway.  Keep in mind that in all instances she and her parents still had plenty of room to get their cars out and I had given her fair warning that I was trying to move in that week. It was annoying to say the least.

The boiling point came the day after I moved in and I was making multiple trips to Lowe's picking up cabinets, a dishwasher, a microwave, etc. I had pulled in right at the top of the driveway strictly to unload my car knowing I would be leaving in 5 minutes to head out again. Yes, I was blocking some cars (she was having guests that weekend and had squished 4 cars into her side of the driveway) but I figured I was leaving in 5 minutes so it wouldn't be a big deal. Literally minutes after I unloaded my car I get a knock on the door from the Parking Nazi asking "Um, do we need to sit down and have a conversation about this?". She then proceeded to note that she had very carefully parked 4 cars on her side of the driveway so as not to block me in and began to lecture me about how property deed clearly states the boundary of each of our sides to be these concrete blocks in the center of the parking pad. Oh and have I mentioned that she is only RENTING this house??

Needless to say with all of the stress of moving in the day before and still trying to get situated I was less than happy with her method of dealing with the situation.  A simple "Would you mind moving your car" would've sufficed. I mean give me a break--I just moved in!! I told her I was leaving again in less than 5 minutes and that was the only reason I parked where I did. I probably could've said a lot of other things but was so exhausted I just let it go.

Since that day there haven't been any problems because of course I haven't been trying to move into a house. Still, I have avoided speaking to the Parking Nazi any time I see her because frankly, she has made it clear she is no friend of mine. So please, if you come and visit me park on "my side" of the driveway. It appears that like Big Brother the Parking Nazi and the Parking Gestapo are always watching.

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