Saturday, December 22, 2007

Really, now.

Dear Random Woman in the grocery store parking lot,

I know it was only a parking space.

Let me refresh your memory. The parking lot was so packed, that shoppers were being stalked by drivers who were waiting to park. You had one of those golden spaces right out front. In parking lot culture - you were the Queen. Remember, you were there with your husband and two daughters who must have been about 9 and 11? You only had a few bags left to unload from your cart. I stopped and waited for your space. I am sure you saw me put my directional on because our eyes met.

You had two choices: to hurry your family along and gracefully participate in this parking lot economics, or drag your feet and intentionally and methodically slow down progress. Predictably, and unfortunately for me, you opted for the latter. I saw it coming- it was as if my car blinker signaled your brain to move in slow motion. And then, what timing. Someone appeared out of nowhere from across the way, whom you hadn’t seen in a while (or at least you made it appear that way). You flagged her down to introduce to your whole family. You could really drag this out for a while now. You held me hostage, sort of. I know I was free to leave but the daunting line of hapless drivers was your ransom. Do you remember I rolled down my window and asked you nicely if you were leaving, reminding you that the traffic was like, excuse the pun, a parking lot??

Do you remember you acted surprised by the sound of my voice, but then assured me you were leaving? So I waited. Patiently. And then there was absolutely no correlation between your words and your actions. I noticed my fingers had started tapping the steering wheel, and I promise it wasn’t to the happy beat of my music from the car radio. I would have moved on if you told me that you wouldn’t be leaving - but you chose instead to play your version of a game of chicken. You knew as well as I did, that you couldn’t wait to get out of there - you probably couldn’t even stand this woman. You probably had a whole checklist of other errands to do before the holiday - oh yeah, the holiday, Christmas.

It’s also comforting to know that you found a mate with whom you share such common values. The game seemed so familiar to him and he played along so willingly. But your young daughters looked embarrassed. At one point, I thought I saw one of them even shrug helplessly at me.

Two young shoppers caught the gist of the scene when they saw my flashing blinker and the coffee klatch that had unfolded in front of me. They walked right up to my car and offered their space to me. With determination and kindness they quickly unloaded their cart and backed out and let me maneuver my car into the space. One of them even returned the cart while the other one moved the car. I hope your daughters were watching. Actually, YOU should hope they were watching so they could see that there actually are decent people in this world. They obviously aren’t going to be learning about decency from you.

I am writing now because I refrained from confronting you when I got out of my car. I didn’t even look at you. I was too embarrassed for your behavior and I was above the notion of becoming another story of crazy holiday parking lot incidents. Trust me, I had more than a few words to say to you.

I am perplexed by your blatantly selfish behavior. I am embarrassed for your children. I am infuriated by your rudeness. I am dumbfounded that any human being could feel so self-important. I am not sure who won our little game of chicken, and honestly, I could care. But I do know that I walked out of my car feeling like a winner because in the end I was touched by kindness. I would rather live in my world that embraces people like those two young girls than in your ridiculously selfish one. You, on the other hand, have to live with yourself everyday and to me, that seems pretty painful.


Don Mills Diva said...

How incredibly rude! I don't blame you for seething but you are absolutely right that they are the ones to be pitied for acting in that manner.

Julie Pippert said...

That kind of thing is so petty and annoying and it's a ridiculous power struggle on her part she didn't need to indulge in, but it fueled her righteousness and need for power. And I bet it didn't fill the holes, anyway.

Oh well.

I bet you have happy holidays anyway. :)

Using My Words

Leslie said...

I sometimes post my entries on another website called MotherTalkers. If you are interested there are many comments to this post -- fascinating - the range and reaction of the responses. Go to: if you would like to read them!

Otherwise, I had my rant and I am past the ridiculousness of this entire event!