Parking Duty Often Requires Anger Management


So here’s the deal: I was running an event where parking was going to be an issue. Knowing this in advance helped, because I had time to get signs printed that read: “No parking on this side of the street. Park on the next block.” There was plenty of room on the next block, but that meant, you know, that people would have to walk. FitBits aside, I knew walking was still going to be an issue. So I went over to the police station and told them what was going on, so they had a heads-up.

On the day of the event, sure enough, someone parks where he is restricting access to one of the neighbor’s driveways. He was on the correct side of the street, but he just could have lined his car up better.

We didn’t realize this until the neighbor came out screaming — I mean screaming. My staff and I frantically canvass the event, desperately searching for the owner of the car to be moved. We find him. He’s 80, hard of hearing and evidently not a very good driver. One of my guys, Gary, accompanies him out to his car, anticipating trouble. I follow, a few yards behind.

I come up just as the neighbor is ready to crush the 80-year-old. He is visibly shaking. Gary is talking to them both in what he hopes is a soothing manner, and eventually the neighbor puts down his fist, which had been hovering dangerously over the old man’s head.

The man moves his car; the neighbor goes inside; big sigh of relief from me.

“Wow, Gary,” I said. “That was close.”

“Well, the little old man started it,” Gary replied.


“Yeah. He went out to move his car, but first he just had to go up to the neighbor and say, ‘You wanna make somethin’ of it? What ya gonna do?!’”

Cripes. Some people will risk their lives over anything.

Round Two: I see a guy with a pommel horse in the bed of his pickup pull into the same spot. Do you remember what a pommel horse is? Gymnasts, like those in the Olympics, leap up onto this leather “horse” and use its handles to spin themselves around in death-defying feats of strength and skill. He has one of these in his truck, and he looks like he knows how to use it.

He strolls over, and I head him off at the pass, explaining the events of the morning and suggesting nicely that he move his truck.

“I’m only staying a minute,” he said.

“But you might want to move it anyway,” I replied. “The neighbor is kind of a loose cannon, and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.”

He thinks for a moment, then said, “Look, I’ve had a very bad week. I’m going to move it — for his sake.”

Crisis averted times two.

Later in the day, the neighbor came over to apologize. “My wife says there are a number of ways I could have handled that better,” he mumbled. “The louder I get, the more right the other guy gets.”

Sounds like a phrase he learned in an anger management class. But least he’s trying. I’m not sure about the 80-year-old.