I recently had an interesting experience with a stranger in a strip center parking lot. This strip center is probably 50 years old (no exaggeration), and the parking spaces are quite narrow. The parking stops are actually integrated into the concrete in a large zig-zag pattern, not just lengths of concrete bolted to the parking surface (and therefore movable). As a result, the parking spaces are really not reconfigurable.
I’ve visited this strip center often, as a friend works nearby and we’ve had lunch there on many occasions. As a result, I’m familiar with the narrow parking spots. I drive a small-model sedan, so the narrow spots hadn’t presented a problem before the particular day I’m going to share with you.
On this particular day, my friend and I parked next to a dark-colored small-model sporty vehicle (I’m not a car-head, so I didn’t notice much else about it). I opened my door gently so as not to smack the other car, and I exited my car. I shut the door and was walking towards the end of my car (what, 6 whole feet?), and the next thing I know a short woman is barreling out of the driver-side door of the sporty vehicle yelling something.
“Could you be a little nicer to my car? I felt that all the way inside!” I finally realized she was yelling as she ran around the back end of her car towards me.
“Ummmmmm, pardon me?” I asked as I stopped. She really was a little scary.
“My car! Did you have to hit it so HARD? You rocked my whole car!” She yelled as she pushed past me trying to get closer to her passenger-side door.
“Ummmmmmm, I wasn’t aware I’d hit it,” I said, probably sounding fairly stupid because I was confused. I really hadn’t felt anything, noticed anything, and had actually noticed how close to her car I’d had to park before I opened the door.
She stopped and stared at me as if I had Cthulhu on my head. “You can’t be serious! I felt it inside, it was so HARD! How much DAMAGE did you do to it?!” she yelled as she bent over to peer at her passenger-side door. I bent over to look at the door closely, too. I could NOT figure out what this woman was going on about.
She wiped the dust from her door with her hand. There was no mark. No dent. No nothing. I smiled and stood up, feeling satisfied. She stayed there a few seconds longer than I did, snorted, then stood up.
“Well, I DID feel it inside! You should be more careful! You hit it so HARD!” she yelled. At this point, she could not have been closer than 3 feet from me, and she was still yelling about non-existent damage to her car door.
“Well, I do apologize,” I said as sincerely as I could because all I wanted was this obviously crazy woman to leave me alone. “I tried to open it without touching your car and was unaware I had. But, no damage done, have a good day!”
She snorted again, put her hands on her hips, and yelled, “You should be more careful! You’ve VERY lucky!”
I wonder if I rolled my eyes. I tried not to. I just walked towards the restaurant with my heretofore silent friend in tow.
I have to say that the very last thing I expected to see 45 minutes later when my friend and I left the restaurant was that same sporty car parked next to mine. Seriously, how stupid does someone have to be to completely bawl out a stranger for an obviously imagined slight to a car only to leave that car in the same place so that stranger could, I don’t know, key it in revenge for being treated like crap for no reason?
Don’t think I didn’t carefully consider it, because I did. My better nature won out, though. There’s no need to make an obviously unhappy person more so. We just left.