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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why, in fact, sometimes you SHOULD go off on people

Arriving at my teachin' job yesterday at the insanely early hour at which this is required, I was lucky enough to grab a parking space on the street outside my building (the fact that I have an insanely early class is the only reason this is possible and even then it is tricky).

As I parked, I sat in my car for an extra minute (don't know -- probably staring into space [see: hour, insane earliness of] ). I noticed another -- large -- car pulling in behind me. Wanting to make sure I allowed the car enough room, I pulled up respectably close to the car parked in front of me. As space is at a premium, I wanted to make sure we all took advantage of it. I was surprised and annoyed to see the car in back of me park while leaving a solid four/five feet of room between my car and their's. Getting out, I couldn't help but feel annoyed (assisted, no doubt, by hour, insane earliness of). At least one more, maybe two more, cars could have parked along that stretch; now, it was maxed out. I thought about saying something, but the man was an older gentleman in a suit and for all I knew he could, like, actually be my Dean or another instructor in my department or something. Plus, I hate those people who are so obsessed with efficiency that they feel entitled to yell at others if someone else doesn't conform to their exact idea of the best way to do things. I myself am not the world's best parker or driver, and I know I piss people off without meaning to all the time. Glass driving, don't throw verbal stones, etc.

As I walked towards work, I noticed the man meet up with another man and they each started routing through a cardboard box. As I walked past them, one man offered me a New Testament in small, vomit-green color. I said "no" instinctively and then muttered an incoherent "and tell your friend to...park...mutter....room..." and kept walking.

As I took a few small steps further, comprehension started to dawn. Okay, not only were these men NOT in fact employees, students, parents of students, etc., they were FUCKING PROSELYTIZERS. And A FUCKING PROSELYTIZER TOOK UP NOT ONE, BUT TWO, PREMIUM PARKING SPOTS AT THE PLACE WHERE I WORK.

And as I walked, I got madder and madder. And more mad and more mad. And I decided, fuck it. See hour, insane earliness of. And so I walked back. I tripped on my heels a bit as I walked over, and the men saw me. But luckily this was walking to them, not walking away.

"Hi," I said to them. "Me again. Are you affiliated with the university?"

Just wanted to check that they weren't, you know, part of a student faith group or something, which would be a bit different.

The man didn't answer the question (evasive, changing the subject -- confirmation of my suspicions), saying, "We're from the Gideon society."

Okay, hotels, Gideon bibles, got it, I think.

"See your car over there?" I say. "See how's it four feet behind MY car, the purplish/bluish one? You're left all the space and now no one else can park there. That's a spot that students or people who actually work here could use."

The man gets all cutesy and condescending to me. "Well you see," he says, "little lady" unsaid but hanging in the air, "if I'd parked as close as YOU parked to the car in front of YOU then you wouldn't have been able to get out."

"I could get out just fine!" I say, for a moment not quite understanding him.

"Have a nice day," he says, once again employing the "let's condescendingly change the subject and not actually address the subject" tactic.

I stalk away.

I wish I'd ended the exchange in a more dignified way, explaining that no one who isn't disabled/disturbed would have trouble backing out of a space with a QUARTER of the space he had "politely" left me. And that it's actually polite to park a little tightly and make sure the maximum amount of people can use an area where demand is really, really high. ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON'T WORK THERE. AND ARE THERE ESPECIALLY TO SPREAD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ON A CAMPUS THAT IS PUBLICLY FUNDED.

What I really wish I'd said was this:

"Oh, I'm sorry. Am I annoying you? Is it annoying when someone comes up to you while you're trying to do something else and forces their opinion on you? Yeah. Think about that."

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