The Parking Nazi
“You left the gate open 4 times in the last 11 days” , the Parking Nazi informed me.
Such was my parking violation bi-monthly update. He had counted my infractions, and reported them back to me.
You see, I used to live in a Gated Community. Years ago, outside of Kingston, Ontario, I rented a small house on the waterfront. But my Parking-Nazi landlord also happened to be my neighbor. In order to get access to my property, I had to drive through his lane-way, which he kept off-limits to the public with his gate.
But what a Magical, Special Gate it was! A homemade hodgepodge of angle iron and PVC pipe, attached to an electric motor from a garage door opener. You had to press the remote control that he gave you, in order to get this God-awful monstrosity to precariously swing open on its wobbly axis.
For added effect, he had added a string of Christmas lights that lit up every time the gate was activated. But over the years, most of the bulbs had burnt out and were never replaced. So by now, only a few remaining lights would pathetically announce my arrival and departure.
And he had a RULE. You had to close the gate after you, every time you came or left. Furthermore, NOBODY was allowed to park next to your house, in your driveway, except you. Visitors were welcome, but they had to park on the street, a 500 foot walk down the road
The logic of this escaped me. I had a perfectly good driveway next to the house with ample parking. I was a responsible 37 year old adult. Whey couldn’t I have visitors?
But no. Those were the Parking Nazi’s RULES. And they were not to be violated.
When I had first seen the place, my friend was with me and she was not terribly impressed. (If you know my friend, she’s very sweet and never has anything bad to say about anyone.)
So imagine my surprise when she later referred to him as an “Ee-Jit”.
I’d never heard her say this before, about anyone. Ever.
But given the great waterfront location, we both agreed his little stupid rules were a small price to pay for being able to live here.
Weeks later, on moving day, my brother and his wife came by to help me unpack. I allowed them to park on my driveway. Surely, I thought, the Parking Nazi would understand. Surely, Jacques, he’d make an exception for moving day.
No such luck. Within 2 minutes, he showed up at my front door, red-raced, and said “I thought I told you no visitors”.
I explained this was my brother and sister-in-law. This is family. And they were helping me move.
He held his ground and stood there stubbornly, bewildered and angry, until we agreed to drop what we were doing and moved the offending vehicle down the road.
Next week, my folks came by with their van loaded with some of my furniture. This time I came prepared, and asked the Nazi for special permission:
“Can my folks please park next to my house?” I asked. “They need to park close because they have to unload my dresser and my desk”.
“Well, okay”, he reluctantly replied, “..but as soon as they unload the van, they have to move it right back to the visitor parking”.
My Dad was just delighted to hear this.
Jesus Christ, he muttered through gritted teeth, never in my whole life have I seen such stupidy.
He moved the van, but then realized he had forgotten his tool box. So he had to walk all the way up the road to where he had parked.
Mom suggested we first ask permission to park close again. Dad refused, furious that we were being treated this way.
“If I see that jerk, I refuse to even SPEAK to him…I’d rather walk, than to have anything to do with him again, ever, in my WHOLE LIFE!”
(There are many things my Dad claimed he would never do in his WHOLE LIFE, this recent one just added to the ever-growing list). But I digress here…
Anyway, poor Dad started his long trek to get the screwdriver and wrench, with his systolic pressure hovering at 200.
Referring to the Parking Nazi, my Mom calmly observed “The man is an Ee-jit”.
This was the first time I’d heard Mom use the word “Ee-jit”, EVER. Yet it was exactly what my friend had said earlier.
Both women had reached the same conclusion, independently, without ever having consulted each other.
Remarkable, when you think about it.
But the Parking Nazi still had another trick up his sleeve.
There was a fire hydrant in front of his house. But it was an old hydrant, circa 1950’s style. It seemed out of place, especially since we lived out in the country, and there probably wasn’t any municipal water.
One day, my buddies and I checked out the hydrant when he wasn’t looking. We were able to jiggle it back and forth by about a foot. It was loosely planted in the ground. For Chrissakes, it wasn’t even CONNECTED to any viable water supply.
Apparently the Parking Nazi had moved it there, in an attempt to discourage people from parking on the street in front of his house, either. (I don’t know where he had gotten the energy or strength to haul this 500 pound piece of scrap-metal in place, but it looked like it had been there for years. Probably still is…).
What an EE-JIT.
Though you gotta admire his tenacity!
Months later, as I got to know the guy, I figured out the mystery of his parking obsession. I asked what was the deal with the gate.
He told me: “I didn’t used to have one. But everyone sees the river, and thinks it’s public property, and people come into my back yard and park there. I got fed up, so I put up the gate”.
Then I enquired about a municipal sign on his driveway, with his last name on it.
“Oh, THAT…I used to work for the city. They boys at work made up that street sign for me as a retirement gift”.
So, let me get this straight: You post what looks like a legitimate MUNICIPAL STREET SIGN on a lane-way, making it look like a public road. And then you WONDER why people DRIVE UP TO YOUR PROPERTY?
Of course, you couldn’t tell him this.
Well…no one said Ee-jits were supposed to be smart, did they?