Friday, December 10, 2010

Common Courtesy...Isn't!

Whatever happened to good old common courtesy? I see some people doing things now that I would never even dream of doing! And much of it happens right outside my front door.

You see, we rent our home and the landlord has a huge shed in the back, with a driveway leading to it. We are not supposed to park in the driveway, so the only spot we have to ourselves is the one in front of the house. We also live next door to a daycare. Many of the patrons of that daycare (NOT the employees), seem to think that my parking spot and driveway are there for their convenience.

Believe me, it's not!

Most times I don't care if my spot is taken. I can either wait for the person to come out (most times it's someone leaving or dropping off their child), or park somewhere else- but I can't park in front of the daycare. The last time I did I received a thirty dollar ticket. Most times I can find out whether the landlord is coming that day, and use the driveway on his off-days. He's a pretty nice guy, but I feel bad when he has to come to the door and ask me to move my car.

For the past ten years things haven't been too bad- most of the time people are pretty understanding when I explain the situation and they park somewhere else. But this year seems to be the Year of Idiocy. People not only park in my driveway when I'm out, they park across my driveway, blocking me in! One time I had to take my sister-in-law to the ER and I was blocked in by one of the patrons. I yelled for the woman to come back (and why) and she had the guts to tell me she would 'only be a few minutes'. My sister-in-law has type 2 diabetes, so a few minutes could cost her her life.

Some days it's really hard to be a Christian.

Yesterday was one of the worst. I had a bunch of Christmas gifts in the back seat, with about ten minutes to get the stuff in the house, hide it, and get my daughter from school. I don't normally run late, but you know how it is when you are out Christmas shopping!

I returned home to find not only someone parked across my driveway, but someone else had double parked right beside him! Even if I'd found the first person, he couldn't move his car because of the second car. I'd had enough.

I walked into the daycare, asking in a very loud voice who the manager was. With me shouting the entire time about having asked people not to park there, we found the people involved and they moved. I gave the manager a piece of my mind and walked out, getting into my driveway as fast as possible.

But the story doesn't end there- not by a long shot!

I took the stuff in the house and ran back out to see... another car had blocked me in. This time it was someone dropping something off at the thrift store across the street. Why did I think living near businesses was a good thing? I yelled for the person to move (Hey lady, can't you see I'm parked in the driveway?) and this older woman came out of the passenger side seat and yelled- 'Just a few minutes'! By this time I had totally lost it and began yelling about people making me late to get my kids from school and the rude people who think I have 'Just a few minutes' of my time to waste.

"Where's your sense of compassion?" she yelled back. "Where's your sense of courtesy?" I retorted. "I don't park over your driveway, so please stay out of mine!" She waved me off and she and her friend took their time unloading.

Sometimes it's really, really hard to be a Christian.

I prayed for patience, because if I had prayed for strength, I would have hung this woman by her coat on the nearest flagpole.

Finally, they moved.

I jumped in the car, threw it into reverse, and started backing out- at least until another car parked across the driveway!

Okay, I'm taking a deep breath right now.

The guy sees I'm trying to back out. He sees that I just yelled at someone else for parking there. Yet he still parked. Then he backed up a few feet and waved me on, like everything was hunky-dory. Are you kidding me?!?

He left me just enough room to get out of the driveway at a really tight angle, and without another word, I sped off to go get my daughter. My hands were shaking. It was below freezing outside yet I was sweating. I had not been this angry in years. African bees would have been scared of me. I had to calm down.

Did you know you can pray with your eyes open? God doesn't always require you to keep them shut- especially when you're driving at the time. Nor does He mind if your teeth are tightly clenched- just as long as your praying to Him.

When I got the the school, I parked and prayed a bit more before getting out. No sense scaring the kids.

I wasn't exactly feeling peaceful, but at least I had stopped shaking. And I'd parked a block away so I could walk off the rest of my anger. By the time I reached the schoolyard I was fairly calm and felt I could talk to people without barking like a drill sergeant.

The driveway was clear when I came home, and my parking space was available. So I parked, then waited for my son at the bus stop. After he arrived on the school bus, I told the kids to go into the house- I had to make one more visit to the day care center.

I was buzzed in and went to the main desk. And I apologized for my yelling at the manager- after all it wasn't her fault these people were idiots. In fact she agreed with me about the situation! She has also warned the patrons not to park in or around my driveway, as well as leaving a space for their own school bus. She said she was going to alert the parking authority about the situation, as well as the problem times (dropping off and pick-up), because many people would double park and block the entire street.

I really hate the idea of people getting tickets over this- I know people are hurting financially, and I've been warning people wrongfully parking for a long time. They should know better. There are signs posted by the day care itself, warning of parking violations. The drivers just don't care, and to be honest, I'm tired of telling everyone.

It's hard being a Christian. Sometimes being nice isn't always the answer- On occasion, tough love is required to get the point across. And these people are in serious need of a wake-up call.


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