How well can you parallel park?
I would say that I've got some pretty mad parallel parking skills; it doesn't hurt that I have a small-ish car and am able to get in and out of spaces easily. I mean, I don't drive a Smart car or another sort of those 2-seater type cars, I drive a 4-door car, but it really isn't that big and not hard to park. I don't like parking on hills, and will avoid it when I can, but I can do it if I'm left with no other option.
Anyhow, I started a new job recently. One of the things I have to deal with in this job is street parking. I look for parking every morning. Sometimes I find it right away, sometimes I follow the street sweeper and park in its wake, sometimes I drive around for 20 minutes before I find parking. At my last job I parked in a garage in the same building as my office. The parking lot was usually pretty empty and I got to park in the same spot just about every day. I didn't have to walk outside to get from car to office; I could just take the elevator or walk up 2 flights of stairs. It was a nice luxury and just about the only thing I miss about my last company.
This morning I found parking about a block away from the office; not too shabby. I had to parallel park to get into the spot. There was a contractor's truck double parked about 1/2 a car length into the spot I would normally occupy as my starting position to back into the parking spot. I had to do some free-form fandango fancy moves to get into the spot, but I did it successfully and efficiently.
The man in the truck approached me and told me that he had been double parked for a while and was enjoying watching people try to park in my space, but then giving up because they couldn't negotiate the man's truck. He was highly amused at watching people's failed attempt at parallel parking in a tight spot.
After he gleefully told me about the person in the pick up truck who swore and shook his fist, or the person in the minivan who just couldn't get her turns right and was on the verge of tears before she tore away, he told me that he had been working in this neighborhood for the last 40 years, even with the gentrification of the neighborhood, new buildings, new businesses, new apartments, he didn't see much difference in the level of crime. He then lifted up his sleeve and attached to his wrist was a pepper spray canister, locked and loaded and ready to be deployed "Spiderman style" should anyone get in his way. I took that as my cue to get out of his way, wished him a good day and walked the block to my office.
I mentioned my strange encounter to a coworker. Her first response was thinking the man probably wasn't very happy and needed to watch someone else in despair to make himself feel better. I mentioned it to Captain Awesome. He likened this man's behavior to someone who would see a baby bird fall from a tree and enjoy watching the little fellow try to navigate its way to safety whilst predators encircled. Both observations seem like the same side of the coin for me, one being an explanation, another being an example. Both I thought were accurate.
I've been around those types before; someone who needs to break others down in order to feel better about himself. Those who can't find value in themselves so they look to devalue others. Those who always find fault first, and always at a constant threat of never finding fortune. Those who enjoy creating discord because they are too afraid of risking creating good. I've worked with those types before. I've been married to those types before. I have been friends with those types before. They have an undercurrent of unhappiness running through them, yet always looking for ways to be the hero of every story, building themselves up at the expense of others, never being happy when other people shine.
Or maybe he was just a grumpy old man. Either way, that's no way to be.