Let me tell you what’s great about parking in a crowded city: Nothing.
Circling blocks endlessly for empty spaces that never materialize, parallel parking while impatient drivers honk from behind, spending roughly the GDP of a small country on garage fees and parking tickets are just a few of the indignities you suffer. Oh, and don’t forget the occasional towing nightmare — it’s especially exciting when you arrive just in time to watch your car being towed away and then attempt to breathlessly chase after the tow truck which, by the way, will NOT EVER stop for you even if you flash cash, a boob, or even a tasty cronut.
When I had children and moved to the sprawling, car-friendly suburbs — where even the parking lots come with their own parking lots! — I thought all that nastiness was behind me. But soon a new parking annoyance presented itself and persists to this day: The pain of trying to insert my small child into my car after someone has parked far too close.
Other parents have endured this aggravation, though few do much about it. That is why I applaud Kaitlin, a New Jersey mom who gave one close parker a piece of her mind. After some thoughtless driver essentially blocked her access to the car door closest to her daughter’s seat, she didn’t just get angry. She wrote the angry note pictured above, deploying two expletives — or, if the driver’s name is actually Richard, then just one — to scold the neighboring motorist for “forcing me to climb on the other side of the car with an infant.”
Not surprisingly, Kaitlin’s little note, which she posted to Facebook, quickly attracted dozens of comments and “likes.”
I’m sure many parents will agree that in our B.C. (Before Child) days, close parkers were a minor nuisance. You simply sighed and either squeezed the best you could into your barely open door or you just walked around to the other side of your car and wriggled into the driver’s seat from the passenger’s side. If you happened to be wearing a skirt at the time, you might have risked delighting lurking perverts or scandalizing innocent passersby, but that was about as bad as it got.
With a young child, it’s a whole different ballgame. As any driving parent will tell you, it usually helps to have the rear passenger door open as widely as possible so you have the space you need to secure your kid into a child seat. So if someone parks too close to you and prevents access to the passenger door closest to your car seat, you now have to go to the other side, finagle both yourself and your child into the empty seat next to your car seat, and then perform the uncomfortable task of inserting Junior into his car seat while you, yourself, are in a sitting position.
This is not easy with a sleeping baby. It’s that much harder with a fussy baby … or a squirming toddler … or when you happen to have stuff in the back seat like blankets and Cheerios and a dog and a week’s worth of newspapers you forgot to bring into the house. You get my point.
The next car egress circle of hell is when both of your rear passenger seats are occupied by car seats. If you have both kids with you, you’ll likely have no choice but to leave the older one hanging out by himself in the shopping cart while you contort into a pretzel trying to squeeze yourself and the younger one around one car seat just so you can reach the other. It goes without saying this is all that much worse if you’re heavily pregnant at the time — just bend around the bump, OK?
And then there’s the doomsday scenario: Your car is flanked by two inconsiderate motorists, parked inches away from either side of your vehicle. At this point, you settle in for a nice game of Candy Crush while intermittently throwing Goldfish crackers at your fidgeting children, who by now have turned your grocery cart into a jungle gym on wheels.
Get comfy, Mama, you could be there a while.
Fortunately for Kaitlin, she did manage to get both herself and her daughter into her car successfully. Unfortunately, she left before she could see how the inconsiderate driver responded to her note. I like to think that when said driver saw it, he or she dropped down to his or her knees and begged the heavens for forgiveness, promising to never, ever wrong a parent or any other motorist like that again.
There are plenty of ways to drive parents crazy today. Let’s kick this one to the curb.
Image used with permission.
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