Thanks, Neighbor: My $400 Mistake

This post has nothing to do with horses, but it has to do with the concept of staying centered in that if I don’t have an outlet for this, I might be tempted to leave a very nasty note on a windshield. And it would be worthless, other than to make me feel a bit better…for a minute.

On Saturday evening, I came home in a hurry and parked in the lot behind my apartment building where I have an assigned spot. There weren’t a lot of cars in the row, and I pulled into what I thought was my spot without much thought and sprinted off to where I was going.

Flash forward to Sunday afternoon. I’m heading out to meet up with my parents, who are visiting for the weekend. I’m looking at my phone as I walk, not paying much attention until I notice I’ve walked past my car…no, wait, I haven’t gone far enough…hang on a second. Where is my car?! I’m standing in my parking spot. My utterly, completely, 100% empty parking spot. I wander around the lot for a minute, looking for it. I try using the key fob to make the alarm beep. Nothing. Silence. A gaping hole where I left my car. Where I’ve left my car every day for the last two years.

Seriously. Where is my car?

After a little more than 12 hours, many phone calls and some reviewed security camera footage, I have an answer. My parking neighbor had me towed because I had mistakenly parked in her spot.

For reference, this is what the lot looks like right now:

The numbers on the wall assign spots. Mostly, they’re covered in snow, and you definitely can’t see the lines between spots.

So, yes – in my hurry, I mistakenly parked in the wrong spot. It could happen to anyone because it’s winter in Wisconsin and everything is covered in snow. And rather than simply parking in my spot and leaving a note on my windshield so we could sort things out like rational human beings, the person who has parked next to me for the past 2 years had my car towed away.

Getting it back cost me $382.

That means I’ll have to do one at least one fewer horse show this summer. Maybe two fewer, unless I can make up the savings loss.

I’m not going to do or say anything to my parking neighbor. But if I were to give into my meaner tendencies, I would leave something like this under a windshield wiper for her:

Dear green sedan driver who parks to my left,

Thanks so much for being such a diligent parking enforcer in the lot here at our apartment building. It’s such a relief to know that you’re on the watch for anyone who parks in the wrong spot!

After all, I know that you would never have had my car towed if you’d recognized it. I mean, I’ve only been parking this very same car in this exact spot for more than a year – how would you possible have recognized it? If I had come home to find your car parked in my spot, I would have recognized it right away by its pale, pukey green color and the hamster shavings you always have piled in your back seat. And no, I’m not paying your car an inordinate amount of attention; I simply exercise my useful skills such as being aware of my surroundings to create memories upon which I could call if ever such an unthinkable situation were to arise. 

And, if I were to find your car in my parking spot, I would have handled the situation as a rational adult. Nope, that doesn’t mean I would have towed your car away; I would have simply parked in your spot, leaving a note with a short explanation of the situation and my contact information. But silly me! You probably would have had me towed away anyway! 

Well, neighbor, I hope you’ll at least rest easy knowing that all is right in your world. You might be interested to know that it cost nearly $400 for me to get my car back. But at least you got your parking spot.

Have a fantastic day.

-Your friendly parking neighbor

I know that if I actually do this, it won’t help. It’ll make me feel vindictive and a little triumphant for a minute, but then I’ll just feel mean and small. No, I’m going to do absolutely nothing (other than rant on my blog). Even if one day she parks in my spot, I won’t have her towed away. No one has an $400 just laying around, and “getting even” wouldn’t bring back my $400 – or the class and grace I would lose if I do retaliate.

But at least I can dream about it a little.

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