This letter is directed to Mahoning and Trumbull County drivers. I guess nobody ever told you this, but I think it’s now time you learn it: Neither you nor your vehicle are special.
I’m talking, more than anything, about parking.
See, the white — or yellow — lines are painted on the asphalt for a reason: to ensure that everyone has equal space and opportunity to park their vehicle.
Here’s how you park: When you pull in, you do so carefully and you make a good-faith effort to ensure that you leave equal space on either side of your car between the wheels and the parking lines.
The lines are there so that just about any passenger vehicle can fit comfortably inside the space and leave room in the one or two spaces next to it so the next person can comfortably park or, say, open their door to get in or out of their vehicle without damaging their vehicle or yours. I have often gotten out, stepped back and looked, if I was at all unsure. In, fact, I’ve often gotten back into my car and straightened it out if I somehow parked haphazardly. It took a horribly long time to correct the mistake and let me tell you, the pain of the experience traumatized me for months thereafter.
I hope you recognize sarcasm, and if not, that last sentence was a good example of it.
Back to parking.
When you pull your car in diagonally with your wheel over the line, or you pull completely over top of the line, or you pompously back in over the line so that you have two spaces, what you are saying is that you and your car are special, and therefore you have more rights than other drivers.
You are wrong.
You have precisely the right to one space and one space only. No more or less than the jalopy next to you. Your behavior is nothing short of ignorant and arrogant.
But I’ll give the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t have to be arrogance. If it is not arrogance, it is carelessness, and if not carelessness, it must surely then be incompetence.
See, parking is part of driving. If you cannot handle parking, then you cannot handle driving. If you are careless at parking, it means you are careless at driving and, therefore, you are a danger and don’t belong on the road. If you are arrogant about parking, it means you’re probably an aggressive driver and, again, dangerous and don’t belong on the road.
Your car or SUV is just too big, you say? Well, guess what, sunshine? If you can’t handle properly parking a vehicle that big, it means you’re not competent to drive it. Are you starting to catch on? If you just can’t handle parking, guess what? You can’t handle driving. So give up the keys. Now, I know some of you BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and obnoxiously-large-luxury-pickup-truck drivers engage in this selfish and ignorant act because you don’t trust the rest of us to not ding your precious car with our door. But let me riddle you this: Have you not considered that when you do this, you royally “irritate” (EUPHEMISM ALERT!) other drivers and you actually put your vehicle at greater risk of damage? I promise you, friends, it is only a matter of time before someone pulls a Carrie Underwood on your Beamer in the interest of impressing upon you how not special you and your car really are.
We’re all in a hurry. We’re all busy. We’re all trying to get where we’re going and do what we’re doing as efficiently as possible in this no-time-to-waste world we live in. A little bit of courtesy for your neighbor goes a long way toward making everything better for everyone. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true.
So don’t be a jerk. Park it properly, and fairly and squarely. I assure you it’s not just your neighbor you’re looking out for. Karma has a way of finding us all, in time, regardless of what car we drive.
If you want goodwill for your Lexus, show a little goodwill for the compact and jalopy drivers of the world.
The parking spaces are for us too.
Dan Pompili Youngstown