Don’t Ever Steal My Parking Space Again, Fucker!
A True Story
It was sometime in the mid 1970s. I was backing into a parking space in Harvard Square. Do you have any idea how difficult it was and still is to find a parking space in Harvard Square? I was in a mid-sized Audi 1000, a sleek Jag knock-off that weighed about 3,000 pounds. All of a sudden I glanced in my side mirror and saw it: a chic little orange Triumph had pulled up and was blocking my parking space. A dapper man sat behind the wheel, arms folded across his chest, smug smile on his face. He shook his head at me and pointed to the parking space. “I’m taking it,” his gesture meant.
An intense Rage came over me. It had happened once before and I’d driven away, anger churning inside me all day, doing god knows what to my body and internal organs. All this flooded over me in a slow-motion instant while the man smiled and a crowd gathered on the opposite sidewalk. It was high noon at the O.K. Corral, or like the running of the bulls at Pamplona, Cambridge style. Who was going to make the first move?
He did. He pulled into the space, right in from of me and my car which it happens was perfectly angled to pull in. I didn’t hesitate a moment. As he slipped in – a perfect fit – and the crowd watched, I popped the clutch and WHAM! Three tons of Audi hit him smack in the center of his teeny-tiny, very expensive sports car. I’d cracked it in half. A ROAR and APPLAUSE went up from the crowd.
Asshole got out, screaming. I was pleased with myself as the crowd dispersed, knowing he’d have no witnesses to anything except his extreme assholeness. I smiled up at him, not knowing at the time that I’d hit a critical beam and totaled his car. We exchanged information. Then he did an odd thing. He dashed off saying he had to make a phone call, taking my driver’s license with him.
Late for my appointment with my psychiatrist, I parked elsewhere, went into my shrink’s office and calmly announced, “Excuse me. I have to call the police.” I used his phone to call them and report the man for “stealing my driver’s license.” The police sent an officer to my therapy session. He came in and took the report there, writing down the offender’s name and address from the information I’d gotten.
My shrink was highly amused. It turns out this jerk was the head of Mass Mental Health, the largest psychiatric hospital and mental health facility in Massachusetts. Asshole also lived in Gray Gardens East, the most expensive mansion-laden neighborhood in Cambridge. I guess he was home when the police car, blue lights flashing, pulled up in front of his house and the cops got out and knocked on his door. He avoided outright arrest by surrendering my driver’s license.
Later that afternoon I got a call from the police telling me they had the license and I could pick it up at the police station. I was pissed because they were on Green Street… and it wasn’t easy to park on Green Street either.
I wasn’t done. I knew I had to cover my ass. I tried to press formal charges against him at the police station but they told me it was a matter for the Registry of Vehicles. Undaunted, I pressed on, filing charges against him for “Aggressive Driving” with the Registry in downtown Boston. The best defense is any offense, I felt, and this one fit. I could defend it. I should mention here that no insurance company was involved so far and my three ton Audi didn’t have so much as a scratch on it.
Anyway… a hearing date was set for months away. On the day of the hearing Asshole showed up with a handsome man in a three-piece pin-striped suit and perfect Armani shoes—his lawyer. The guy must have cost a fortune. We were shown into a seedy room: metal desk, metal chairs, linoleum floors, no windows, institutional green paint and florescent lighting.
The Examiner, a heavy man nearing retirement sat behind the metal desk with the paperwork in front of him as the three of us filed in, me with long hippy hair and worn blue jeans.
After a while the Examiner looked up and spoke gently to me.
“Young lady,” he said, “If I were your father, I’d tell you to forget about this and go home.” Asshole and his fancy lawyer breathed a sigh of relief as I shot back:
“Well, you aren’t my father, and if I had a father, people wouldn’t take advantage of me the way this man has done.”
The Examiner signed and shook his head. “What do you want?” he asked at last.
I sat up straight. “I want an apology.”
At this, the Parking-Space Thief got up, walked over to me, and stood before me. With a truly apologetic, even sad look on his face, he said:
“You have no idea how very sorry I am that I stole your parking space.”
I studied him. He meant it. I reached out, took his hand, and we shook.
The examiner beamed and pronounced the case closed. Then plaintiff, defendant and defendant’s very expensive lawyer thanked him and left the hearing room.
Justice had been served.
Blanche would have been proud.