Posted by: stillironic | May 21, 2010

People of Baltimore, Park with a Little Consideration. Or Else.

My neighborhood’s a short walk from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the ballpark, and the football stadium. Residential parking’s at a premium. People need to park with at least some consideration for their neighbors. My rule is to try not to leave more than two feet between cars. Violate my rule, and you’re dead meat. Or not. I’ll settle that when I figure out exactly what dead meat is.

I also treat violators to a severe tongue lashing, employing such phrases as:

“So, penis breath (substitute “vagina mouth” for female drivers), think you can take up three spaces with your precious SUV? Well, think again.”

“This is an urban neighborhood, you chuckle-headed mofo (or “cheap-ass ho”). If it’s dent-free fenders you want, move your fucking ass to the ‘burbs.”

I deliver these barbs using a silent but deadly approach. Kind of like a fart.

These discourteous parkers could take a lesson from car owners who live in the parking hell known as Manhattan. New York drivers park with consideration, leaving only six inches max between cars, to allow for the greatest number of parked cars per street.

In my neighborhood in Baltimore, the streets are never cleaned. The downside is streets so trashy you want to vomit; but the upside is you don’t have to move your car unless you drive it somewhere.

In Manhattan, the streets are cleaned two times a week on each side. Alternate side of the street parking laws mean your whole life revolves around finding a different space to park your car three to four times a week. Even if you don’t have to drive it anywhere.

All this and you almost never see an open space on the street. You have to drive around till another car pulls out of a spot. And you have to grab that spot as if your life depends on it. Half a million new parking spaces and the murder rate in Manhattan would plummet.

Some interesting peculiarities about having a car in Manhattan: You learn the skill of parallel parking in a space smaller than your vehicle. All it takes besides desperation is a little cautious angling. You also develop a lifelong involuntary reflex upon noticing an open parking space in Manhattan, even if you no longer have a car—even if a zillion years have gone by, you don’t live in New York anymore, and you’re just visiting.

You say: “OMG. No way. It can’t be. But it is. A parking space!”

You hear: Music from a dozen celestial harps.

You see: Fireworks and shooting stars if by night. A lunar eclipse, at least, if by day.

You feel: An overpowering urge to visit a car dealership.

You see, if you live in Manhattan and own a car that you have to park on the street, a good space is the holy grail.

If you find a good space it’s a good day. If it’s a bad space—too close to a hydrant, extending beyond the end of the curb—or your car has broken down and you can’t move it, it’s a bad day. A day you’ll find a ticket on your windshield when you get home from work. You love national and religious holidays more than you love life itself simply because alternate side of the street parking regulations are suspended. Any weekend becomes an automatic holiday if on Friday you find a spot that’s also legal on Monday.

Sometimes it becomes a question of quitting your job so you can stay home and double-park the car during street-cleaning hours. And then find a new space during that window of opportunity when spaces are as easy to find as fish flying out of a barrel after the dynamite explodes. Of course the loss of income leads to homelessness and hunger. But the consolation is you can move into your car and devote your life full time to your quest for the holy grail.

If a good parking space in Manhattan is the holy grail, the gods control the spaces. That’s why kids, spouses, partners, roommates, and pets of car owners are never safe. The gods, who must be appeased, demand sacrifices. (Sometimes you run out of strangers, squirrels are hard to catch, and rats, though plentiful, bite. And who wants to risk getting rate-bite fever.) Those smells you think are coming from a restaurant or someone’s apartment kitchen; they could be the smell of burnt entrails. Just sayin’. Personally, I didn’t dabble in vehicular voodoo when I lived in Manhattan and drove a VW bug. Too messy. But that was then.

This is now. People of Baltimore, you have it so easy. Park with a little consideration. Or else.



  1. I seriously hate asshole parkers, makes me want to key their cars.
    When I was in school there was a girl who drove a sweet little mg midget. She could have put the thing in her pocket, instead she chose to park over the lines thereby taking up 2 spaces. You know, so her car wouldn’t get hit. A parking space was as you say the holy grail and she fucked everyone doing this. One day a bunch of us girls talked some of the bubbas from shop class into moving her car. They picked it up and turned in sideways between two cars so that she couldn’t get out UNTIL the other cars left. She was there for a good long time and never asshole parked again.
    It was pure evil that made us do it…….. it was awesome =]

    • She deserved it. Pure evil? You were also meting out justice. Frontier justice, but justice nonetheless! For some people, it seems, cars become an extension of themselves.

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