This past Friday night I had one of the strangest encounters of my ten years of living in Albany. Coming from the mountains, folks tend to have a dose of skepticism when it comes to city dwellers. Whether its city people are rude, antagonizing, violent, or just plain bitches; there is always the belief that the worst is going to happen. Yet in the decade I have lived here I haven’t had a problem with anyone. Then Friday night came around.
Between work and moving, I had been right out straight for almost three weeks in a row. I was looking forward to a weekend where I had nothing to do but set up the apartment and watch college football; and it was a three day weekend at that! After stopping at Lowe’s and Target on the way home from work, just so I wouldn’t have to leave the apartment if I didn’t feel like it, my fiancée and I returned home to find a parking spot right in front of our new apartment. What luck, given we had loaded her vehicle with boxes of things for me to put together for the apartment.
After settling the vehicle into its spot, I hopped out of the care prepared to unload and finally relax. As I got out, there was a man and a woman sitting on the stoop of the building two doors away from ours. The woman I had not seen before, the man had been perched on these steps over the course of the past few days as we were moving; usually with an acoustic guitar, attempting to serenade the people that walked by. He looks like the bastard love child of James Lipton and Stacy Keach; though I would deem that as an insult to the two of them. As I got out and turned to head for the rear of the vehicle, paying no mind to the two, the woman chimed in that if I moved forward or backward a little more, another car would be able to fit. Since I have lived in Center Square for the eight of the ten years I have resided in Albany, I consider myself to be a pretty accurate judge of what will or will not fit in a parking spot. After hearing her and deciding her special recognition dubious at best, I told her that I didn’t think it would matter if I moved one way or another. The front of the vehicle was about a foot and a half away from a driveway and the rear of the vehicle was about five to six feet away from the car behind us. It should be noted that the car behind us was about five to six feet in front of the truck behind it, not helping matters in the amount of cars that would be able to fit.
This was when the guy piped up that maybe next time I would be the one who was gypped out of a parking spot, then what? Having grown accustomed to city parking, I am always prepared to not find a spot and having to deal with walking further than anticipated. Also, I don’t mind walking. Good exercise. So my retort was that I would just park somewhere else. I have no idea what the guy thought I would say. Perhaps he thought he just dropped a truth bomb on me and with this epiphany I would run over and shower him with praise while at the same time wondering aloud where had he been all my life with his profound insight and wisdom. Needless to say, he didn’t appreciate the matter of fact answer I gave and abruptly shouted out, “you just don’t get it, do you?” What the fuck does that even mean? Get what? Having been completely caught off guard by this exchange, having never dealt with anything like this in my life, my only reply was, “I’ve only lived here for ten years, so you’re right, I don’t get it.” My fiancée and I hopped back into the vehicle and moved it to a spot on the street our apartment sits on the corner of.
After we moved everything inside, I paced and paced. Teeming with anger and frustration, “you just don’t get it” playing on a loop in my head. Who the hell is this guy to be calling out how people are parked? Is he parking enforcement for this thirty foot of curb? Plus, this guy watched us move into this apartment a week ago, was this his alpha dog move? Is he king of the stoop? I snatched a beer from the fridge and proceeded to head out to the patio to puff on a cigar and drink. This should calm my nerves. But as I railed on about what I should do, my fiancée reminded me of what I tell her, kill them with kindness or just ignore them, it’s not worth it; not worth the frustration. Hopefully this mantra won’t slip my mind the next time I see him parking.