There was a break in the routine yesterday morning. As I was going to my car, I noticed something on the windshield. I’ve managed to get an above average number of tickets because of forgetting to move my car for street cleaning, but I was confused. Wasn’t street cleaning over on my block until spring? No, this was a napkin, what the hell is a napkin doing tucked under my windshield? So I picked it up.
“You park like a dick”
Okay so I’d rather not admit it but my first reaction was anger. What kind of fuckweasel leaves a message like that for someone?!?! I was thinking about it the whole drive, and once the anger faded a bit, I began to analyze if I do indeed “park like a dick”. I did recall thinking when I parked across the street, because there were no spots in front of my house, that I was parking in a space large enough for two cars. There are no lines to differentiate parking spots on my street, and no assigned spots. I remembered pulling forward to try and make sure there would be room for another car to fit in behind me, but not getting as close as I absolutely could have to the car in front, because I like leaving myself extra room to pull out. So, I suppose it could be that I had not left enough room for a larger car or truck behind me, and that I could have parked a little more forward and given more space. Other then that, I was a good distance from the curb, I was parked straight, I hadn’t run over someones cat or a toy in the street. I hadn’t drawn a demonic summoning circle with rubber from squealing my tires. So?
I kept thinking on it the whole drive though, back to anger for a moment. I wondered why someone would actually take the time to write out a note like that? Sure I had thought something similar enough times, but when I’ve thought about how some obnoxious dick goblin had parked diagonally to take up three spots in a parking lot and what snarky things I would say, I haven’t actually left them a little token with my thoughts scrawled out. I reason out that I shouldn’t do so because it won’t actually fix the problem, their park job. By the time they saw it they would be leaving anyway, all it would do is piss them off. And if they’d had a good reason for parking that way, and I always try and imagine up justification for people to give the benefit of the doubt, then I would be ruining someones day, and not actually manifesting any positive exchange out of it either. I try and actually apply that to much of my life, thinking through before I criticize or comment, is this actually going to effect the change I would want to see? If so, at what cost, how will it effect the recipient?
My brain decided to pull up the signature one of my nursing professors attaches to every email, “Be Kind”. She repeats this message constantly, telling us day in and day out how there is not enough kindness in the world and we need to remember, especially as nurses, when we are dealing with the brunt of abuse from out patients, to be kind. We are seeing someone on one of their worst days, maybe at their very worst, remember that, and be kind. Well, that’s a funny thing to have flashing through my head, since I don’t actually know what particular fuckweasel left me such a considerate note. Is it possible to be kind to someone who I likely will never identify? I suppose I can tuck away that suggestion and bring it back up if they ever approach me personally about my parking and then consider kindness, instead of lighting them on fire or filling their pants with a thousand angry bees. I tried to foster kindness in my mind at that moment though, and to channel my typical instincts when I’m the one objecting to someones parking or general driving, to imagine justification for them and give them an imagined good reason for their lovely letter. But what justifies needing to take your anger out on a stranger over an issue you can’t solve because it’s already done and in the past? Okay, so that line of thought wasn’t very helpful, but I could at least foster kindness in myself and realize that sometimes people do act out in anger in ways that are unproductive and only serve to pass that anger on, and I could choose not to let it ruin my day, and not to pass it on by lashing out at anyone else. I could decide not to accept their gift of anger in that moment.
I took it all as a bit of a lesson, the cycling through thoughts and emotions and rationals. It reminded me that there are people who act in ways that are not meant to actually find a solution, but are just the venting of emotions. And that might be appropriate in some contexts, but I didn’t much like being the brunt of it when it really wasn’t appropriate or necessary. It reminded me to consider if an accusation thrown at me has merit, and not to beat myself up over it if it is merit-less and I had acted in the best way I knew how at the time. And it reminded me to be kind, to myself, and possibly even to fuckweasels with unknown motives, should I ever be approached by a person rather then an anonymous napkin-message.
I let it go by the time I got to my destination, because I don’t like to hold on to anger, or used napkins. And I’m glad to say that while I may park like a dick according to some, at least I don’t choose to act like one.