Who Me? Territorial? Nah.

Never let it be said that humans aren’t territorial. Otherwise, why would we have legal property lines and build fences? Why would we hang signs that label “our areas” as such? Why would we get irritated if our neighbor decides to park a GINORMOUS camper next to our driveway, obstructing our view of the street and making us feel like we live on a Hollywood set, or we’re in prison or we’ve been relocated to Big Arbs campground!?! Huh?

The following is a little internal narrative I wrote down about 2 years ago when a grumpy old fart just up and started randomly TAKING my parking spot… EVERY. DAMN. DAY. I’ve since left that place of employment for a different place … with better parking.

_______________________________________________________

My eyes narrowed when I saw him pulling into the spot.

THE parking spot. MY parking spot. I’ve never seen him park there before. Why did he decide to start now? Everyone should know by now that THAT is MY parking spot. I’ve been parking there for months ever since the layoffs started and a “prime” spot became available just outside my office window. My window. My spot.

And I heaved a heavy, aggravated sigh.

Alright. I guess I’ll just have to take the spot next to it today… and hope that this doesn’t become like a regular thing. I mean, I’d hate to have to start cutting my lunch hours short just to safeguard the spot. If I don’t… and HE starts parking there… before you know it, he’ll think it’s HIS spot. And then what will I do? I’ll have to find another spot. This really does annoy me.

So I glared at him the entire time while he squared up his car and shut off the engine and gathered his things and walked into the building.

That will show him. My iron stare. WHO does this guy think he is? I don’t even know this guy. Does he even WORK here full-time? I think maybe he’s an engineer. Oh! Look at me! I’m an engineer! I’m better than you! I make more money than you do! My job requires a lot more brains and skill and responsibility than Marketing does… I can park wherever I want to!

And I slide into the second-rate spot right beside him. Meanwhile… one of the retired guys enters the parking lot, returning from lunch, and he glares at ME!

What is YOUR problem?!? What the #@%* are YOU looking at? Why are you even here? You are retired and supposed to be coming here on a part-time, consultation-only basis. But instead, I think I see more of you NOW than I did BEFORE you retired! What is up with THAT?!? Do you have a problem with me? You don’t even KNOW me. We’ve never even spoken. Stop looking at me. Jerk.

And then it dawns on me… I just parked in HIS spot.

_______________________________________________________

Listen… when it comes to territory… the only difference between us and the animal kingdom is the fact that we don’t “mark” our territories with bodily fluids. Then again… maybe there are a few of us who do.

If there are… I really wouldn’t want to know.

The Finger

I got the finger from an 80 year old woman on my way to work this morning. No… not the finger you’re thinking of. This was worse. It was the angry, jabbing, pointing index finger instead. You know… the scolding you’re-being-a-bad-girl-and-you’d-better-behave-or-else-you’re-really-gonna-get-it finger that your mother gave you if you were taunting your sister while she cried or you so much as glanced at the cookie jar 30 minutes before dinner. The one that apparently STILL has the power to reduce an independent, 36 year old woman to a puddle of shame.

I guess she was cranky because … OK … maybe almost sort of pulled out in front of her this morning when turning off my road and heading to work. I wasn’t actually going to pull out in front of her. Of course I was going to stop. Or at the very least pause. Due to the disparity between parking spots and automobiles in my neighborhood, many people are forced to park on the side of the road, leaving a driver no other choice than to pull a little further out into the road in order to see around said vehicular visual obstructions. This is allI was doing—checking for traffic in the middle of the road—in order to proceed safely and merrily on my way.

And she freaked. And the finger came flying out with great gusto! At first I was shocked by the overt aggression in her appalling gesture… then a fraction of a second later extremelytempted to give her the index finger right back. But then I thought better of it, given that I most likely reside within a 2-block radius of this woman. If the saying goes that you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, then I would venture to go one step further and say that you ought to keep your neighbors right under your nose… and remain squarely in their good graces.

However… I would also say that this whole unpleasant situation could have been avoided if only she had stayed in her house and off the road until the regular morning commute was over. See, I have this theory. Do you want to hear it? If not, I suggest you stop reading this right now because of course you know I am going to share it.

Here goes: People who are (for lack of better words) retired and unable to drive at least the speed limit should NOT be on the roads between the hours of 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. I feel this should be a law. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. they can have at it. As far as I’m concerned—the roads can belong to them. Here is my reasoning… many of these people aren’t fond of theI’m-in-a-hurry-and-need-to-get-where-I’m-going-NOW-because-my-5-yr-old-had-a-meltdown-this-morning OR the I’m-exhausted-from-cramming-my-non-work-life-into-4-hours-every-evening-so-I-overslept-this-morning-thus-causing-me-to-rush-around-to-get-to-work-on-time dilemmas that 8 to 5 commuters have. In fact, they often perceive the aforementioned rushed drivers to be “annoying” or “threatening” or “dangerous” or “insane” or “scary.” And it is because of this conflict that—when on the road at the same time—things can turn ugly in 0 to 60 seconds.

So to my neighbor and her guilt-wielding, road-raged appendage I say: Either stay off the road or I suggest you holster that finger. Because next time… I might just fire one right back at ya. Have a nice day.