Many years ago, my husband and I lived in what at the time was a brand new apartment complex with tennis courts, pools, and a fancy management office. We had one assigned parking space adjacent to our unit, which happened also to be quite close to the tennis courts. To our consternation, we often found that precious assigned space filled by someone else’s car. On occasion, the person wasn’t content only to take our space, but parked across two spaces, taking our space and some other tenant’s as well!
The first couple times, we left notes on the windshield. These notes failed to change this person’s behavior. So, my husband stormed over to the fancy management office to complain.
The twenty-something young woman responded with a giggle and a dreamy look in her eye. “Oh,” she said, “that’s Ron.”
My husband responded with something along the lines of, “Yeah. So?”
“He likes to park close to the tennis courts,” she explained, seemingly thinking this was a perfectly reasonable excuse for parking across two spaces that belonged to someone else.
Ron was a very inconsiderate person. Unfortunately, these people are all over the place. We all have to deal with their behavior and stand up for ourselves. But what interests me in this is the reaction of the young woman in the office. She was clearly charmed by this Ron person. He probably flirted with her and made her feel cute and pretty. She thought he was so cute that he was entitled to our parking space (plus the one next to us), because it would be asking way too much to expect him to actually walk from his unit to the courts, having to carry with him a tennis bag, with his racket, some balls, and perhaps, a jacket.
My husband managed to set her straight, and as I recall, Ron parked elsewhere after that.
That guy–Ron–has stayed in my mind all these years, not because I’m still angry, but because I envy him, just a little.
I don’t want to be an asshole. I don’t want to take other people’s parking spaces. But I do want, occasionally, to be given a pass. I want to be pardoned when I screw up. More than that, I want to be given special privileges on occasion–not at the expense of someone else, I hasten to add. But I want to be special.
And I don’t want to feel guilty about it.