Friday 28 Oct 2016

Parking Clean Cars
Matt Seinberg

If there is something unavoidable, which we must endure when we are out driving and doing errands, it’s parking. Parking lots are one of the most dangerous places on Earth to the vehicle and your person, if you’re not careful

A friend that worked with me 3 years ago was doing some holiday shopping at the mall near her home. As she was walking through the parking lot, a car hit her. Her injuries included two broken legs, various internal organ damage as well as injuries to her neck and back. She will never work again.

A number of years ago I had to go to a stationary store for some supplies and I got there at 10 am, when it opened. I was the only car in the lot. I did not park near the door, but in the middle of the lot. When I came out, there was car parked right next me, with the driver side door so close to my passenger door that I couldn’t understand how the fellow got out of the car.

I saw the fellow walking from the car. I yelled at him, “With an empty parking lot, you had to park right next to me with hardly any room between the doors? Were you born an asshole or aspire to be one?”

He starts to yell back at me. I’m losing my temper so badly that my face is red and steam must be coming out the top of my head. I open my trunk, but my purchases away and grab The Club. I and told him if he didn’t get out of my face, this would be in his.

He ran away like the little girl he really was. Instead of inflicting damage on his car with The Club, I let the air out of one of his tires. I felt better.

This past Friday, I was in three different parking lots. I parked away from the doors, with spaces all around me. Every single time, when I got out of the stores, there was some moron parked right next to me, with hardly any room between the doors.

Don’t people care about getting dents and dings on their cars anymore, much less anyone else’s? I take pretty good care of my car, and even after three and half years of ownership, it still looks good. In the fall and winter, I’ll take it to the car wash, but in the spring and summer, I’ll do it myself and really do a good detailing job on it. Next spring, I’m going to do the whole shebang with a wash, compounding, and polishing. I have an orbital polisher to take off the stuff off, so my arm won’t be like rubber when I’m done.

Then of course the next day it rains or a bird poops on it.

I’m not a big fan of valet parking; you never know what they are going to do with the car. I try to watch them as they drive away to see where it’s being parked. I also turn off the radio and other accessories just to see if the valet touches anything.

I think men are more possessive of their cars than are women. We keep them cleaner inside and out; we always remember when to take them in for service. I won’t let my wife drive my car because of the mess she makes in her own vehicle. I don’t want what I call the “Pig Pen” effect to follow her from car to car.

You know the “Peanuts” character, “Pig Pen.” He’s the kid followed by a dirt trail, wherever he goes. That’s the inside of my wife’s car.

I had to get her new tires a few weeks ago, and as an added surprise, I took it for a car wash. The next day at dinner, she hadn’t said anything about her car, so I asked if she even noticed if it was cleaner. She hesitated a moment, said yes and thanked me. I gave her the look that said, “I will never do that again.” Her 2001 Altima used to be mine; I took very good care of it. Now it’s always dirty and I hate to drive it.

Here’s some advice to follow if you don’t mind.

Don’t park right next to someone in a parking lot. The dent or ding you save may be your own. Keep a bag in the car for garbage. This way you don’t have to toss that empty fast food bag in the back seat or, worse, on the street. When walking in a parking lot, make sure you watch out for moving vehicles: being run down is no fun.

Courtesy is contagious, so don’t fight over a parking spot if the situation arises. Just move on and be the bigger person. You never know, the person in the other car really could be much bigger than are you.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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