How absolutely apropos it was to finish an article on preparing to move away from my family home of nearly 40 years, to then experience a slight muddle with the novice neighbor next door shortly thereafter.
As a bit of back-story, the former neighbor to my left lived in the house for well over twenty years. The matriarch of the home who served as our neighborhood “block captain”, was a public high school teacher, and raised three beautiful children on her own after her husband passed away from a brain tumor nearly a decade earlier. The children had all since grown up and moved on to college, while she later fell in love, remarried, and sold the house next door just under six months ago.
So yes, it would be a tough act to follow, but the young 30-something couple next door had already invested quite a bit of time and money into the house that included a freshly painted exterior along with entirely revamped landscaping in the front yard showcased like a spread out of Martha Stewart Living.
But there was this one activity I’d noticed from our new neighbors that was a tad disconcerting: for whatever reason they’d decided to randomly park their cars anywhere other than their own 3-car-length driveway, or the 2-car-length curbside parking space in front of their home.
It was a late Sunday afternoon and I’d just returned from running a quick errand to notice that the neighbors had parked their mint-black BMW just off-centered enough to prevent me or anyone else from parking in front of my house. Normally this wouldn’t phase me other than the fact that I have a 12-foot-storage container parked in my driveway in preparation for the haul to Nova Scotia in three weeks.
I’d be street-parking until it was officially time to depart.
I’d actually attempted parallel parking my car in front of their home, however a visiting guest (my new neighbor’s mother) parked haphazardly the same way (park-hoarding you might say) in front of their home. I was baffled. While I don’t exactly have legal entitlement to the space immediately in front of my house – this was becoming a neighborly etiquette thing right?
Slightly irritated, I finally ponied up and made my way over to their front door. The young man was extremely receptive to my request to simply move their car a foot or two and said they’d take care of it immediately – no problem. Relieved, I returned to my car, restarted the engine, and waited. My young female neighbor and her mother approached the BMW several moments later as if approaching a crime scene and avoiding the yellow tape…
Was there a problem?
“Hey, thanks again…” I began, attempting to break the ice. “I just can’t fit my car into my driveway given the storage container, so if I could get you to simply back up ever so slightly? As you can see my front bumper is hanging over into my driveway…”
It felt sort of silly to make the request, while at the same time it pinched me that I was in the predicament in the first place. I diplomatically left out the part about her entirely empty driveway and a staggered parking job between her and her mother taking up four curbside parking spaces on the street in front of our homes.
The look on her face was that of sheer bewilderment. You’d have thought I was asking her to elaborate on the origins of Quantum Theory, provide me with the exact GPS coordinates of the Holy Grail, or decide whether to go 50/50, ask the audience, or phone a friend. She wasn’t rude, she was simply stumped. Was she for real? I wasn’t asking her not to park in front of my house, I simply wanted to park in front of my house ALSO.
“Well, it’s just that my sprinklers will go off soon. And I really don’t want to get my car wet.” Pin-drop moment. “Yes, and she did just buy the car. As you can see it’s brand new“, her mother chimed in.
Wait…hold up. So she’s not parking in her own driveway, or in front of her own home because she’s trying to avoid the sprinklers, which by the way weren’t even on during this exchange. We are talking about nano particles of “hydro MIST” that may hit her BMW if she’s not parked far enough over and in front of my house. I felt my inner Samuel L. Jackson rising to the surface.
Inhale…exhale…I wasn’t about to budge.
“Uh, I suppose I’ll go ahead and move it,” she conceded.
“That would…be…great.” I responded with a facetiously Stepford smile plastered to my face.
What puzzled me more was what happened next. She then proceeded to get into her brand new BMW, drive it entirely around the block, returning a minute or so later to park directly behind a construction dumpster four houses down.