Is It Wrong to Get Even for Parking Poaching?
Editor's note: Our friend, writer James Nestor, emailed us with an ethics question and wondered if any Bold Italic readers would chime in with their thoughts. If you've ever experienced parking poaching (on either side of the coin), you'll surely have an opinion. Read on and leave your thoughts in the comments section below:
It was about 8 p.m. Friday, a cool night in April, and I was in the Inner Sunset driving the hilly side streets with my gal Katie looking for a parking spot. We had dinner plans at Manna, my favorite Korean restaurant. With no open parking spots around 9th Avenue and Irving, I turned up 11th Avenue.
As we approached the intersection at Kirkham, I noticed a parking spot on the opposite side of the street. I pulled into the open driveway directly behind the vacant parking space, backed up and prepared to pull to the curb. While I was doing this, another car – a new, gold Lexus, that had been tailing behind me up 11th Avenue – suddenly T-boned into the open parking spot, blocking me from pulling in. The driver was a woman in her mid-50s with tight blonde, curly, bouffantish hair. She clearly saw that I was turning into the open parking spot, but she purposely careened across the street to cut me off. Then she proceeded to pull into the empty spot. I approached closer, so that the rear bumper of her car was no more than two feet from my front bumper.
“What the. . .?” I said to Katie, astonished. I hit the horn and blasted Lexus Lady for no less than 30 seconds, hoping she'd realize the fault of her ways and move on. Lexus Lady pulled in deeper into the parking spot. I drove up beside her and rolled down the passenger side window.
"Are you serious?" I said, laughing.
Lexus Lady ignored me. She continued to stare straight ahead.
"HEY! Are you seriously doing this?" I asked.
Lexus Lady straightened her steering wheel. I calmed myself, took a deep breath.
"What you are doing is wrong. You know that. You know this is wrong," I said in a steady, calm voice.
Silence. Ten seconds passed. Lexus Lady winced. She blinked. She pursed her lips. Ten more seconds passed. Then she turned her head and looked directly at me.
"What you just did is wrong,” I repeated. “Pull out.”
Lexus Lady was now glaring at me. She said something but from behind her closed window I couldn't hear her. The only sound was the rumble of our two idling engines. Lexus Lady said something else, then stared back. She put her car in park.
"You will regret this," I said to her. "And you will pay for this, I promise you."
I drove off and found a better spot down the street. Katie and I ate a delightful dinner (bibimbap, kimchi pancake, and OB beer, if you must know.) While we were walking back to the car, I turned into a grocery store.
"I have to grab something," I said to Katie. I walked silently into the store to the refrigerated aisle, dairy section, grabbed a quart of Berkeley Farms Regular Sour Cream, and walked back to the front of the store.
"You're not," said Katie, half-laughing, half-horrified.
"I am," I replied. I paid the cashier and we walked up 11th Avenue to my car.
Once back in the driver's seat, I started the motor, turned on KOIT (Love Songs After Dark), released the parking brake, and drove slowly up towards Kirkham. Katie and I didn't talk. As we approached the intersection of 11th Avenue and Kirkham, I veered to the other side of the street, rolled down the driver's side window, opened the container of sour cream, and put my left arm holding it out the window. The golden gleam of the Lexus reflected under the streetlights 300 feet away.
"Oh god," said Katie.
I slowed to about 10 miles per hour, arched my arm back. When I got within a few feet of the Lexus, I tossed the container. Globs of sour cream exploded across the windshield. Pterodactyl shit. Without saying a word, I rolled up the window, turned up KOIT, made a left on Kirkham, and we headed home for the evening.
Katie and I talked. We debated. We questioned my actions.
Was sour-creaming the car of a lady who had T-boned me out of a parking spot ethical?
In my opinion, of course, my actions were fully justified. I had reminded Lexus Lady that there are consequences for evil actions. I helped vindicate those who have been wrong. I set the karmic wheel right. Now, hopefully Lexus Lady will think twice before screwing over others.
But some of my friends disagree. We are still debating, talking. I thought I'd seek outside counsel.
So what do you guys think? Was I wrong?
Image via Thinkstock