I’ve always believed that parking lots are deadly.  I don’t have actual statistics to back up this belief, but the combination of people on cell phones in a tight space, maybe (or maybe not) following arrows strewn randomly about the pavement, slow-moving pedestrians, and throw in people who are driving backwards and this all says “danger” to me.

Whenever you get a group of people, particularly women, together you eventually get a parking lot story from someone. I think this is because parking lots are a microcosm of the larger world around us, where all our individual characteristics are magnified by the confined space and higher stakes.  I’ve found that those of us who tend to be more passive in life, are the people who lack the killer instinct for the close parking spots, instead they are the slow, cautious drivers who are happy to sacrifice good parking for the greater good.  Those of us who tend to be more aggressive in life, tend to drive that way, too – barrelling our way through the throngs of pedestrians, backing into spaces to make a quick get-away, and duking it out for the best parking.  Of course, the stupid also have their home in the parking lot petri dish – they usually take the form of the fat guy eating a sandwich while parked in the Expectant Mothers Only parking stall at the grocery store.    Everyone knows only a stupid person would mess with a hormonal pregnant woman.

So, now that I’ve brought it up, you’re probably thinking of your own parking lot stories.  Before you get lost in your story let me remind you that Raw Drip is all about ME…


Dick and I had just bought a new car.  I was driving to the grocery store in our new set of wheels and carefully navigating the treacherous parking lot.  After pulling into an empty spot, I got out and started to walk into the store when I noticed an elderly woman desperately trying to steer her aircraft carrier-sized white Cadillac into the parking space adjacent to mine.  Barely tall enough to peer over the white leather-wrapped steering wheel, she would angle in and get within mere centimeters of my door only to realize she wasn’t going to make it then slam on her brakes, jam her transmission into reverse, back up about 4 feet and try again.  After several agonizing minutes spent watching her struggle and stifling my urge to scream as she came thisclose to smashing my new car, she must have sensed my frustration. She rolled down her window.

Leaning her tiny body out of the open window she yelled, “Hey, sweetie – can you help me out for a minute, please? My dear, departed husband passed away a few months ago and he left me with this car.  It’s just too big for me and I can’t see to park it anywhere.  Would you pull into this space for me?”

Not wanting to see her further frustrated, or see my new car smashed to bits, I agreed and got behind the wheel.  

As the woman thanked me, she said, “You know I hope you don’t ever find yourself in my shoes.  It’s just so lonely without my husband and I have to drive myself everywhere in his car – missing him all the time.”

My heart broke for her.  Suddenly it occurred to me that there could be something worse than enduring Dick’s frustrating and often scary la-dee-driving; someday, he might not be around to scare me to death with his driving and in a perverse twist of fate, I knew I’d miss that.  

“I hope I’m never in your place, either, m’am,” I said patting her arm, tears in my eyes.  And I meant it.


Of course not every parking lot story is so bittersweet.  When I was about 8 months pregnant with Adam, I went grocery shopping at the new health food store down the road from our apartment at the time.  Waddling from my car to the store with bloated, tree trunk legs and matching cankles I shuffled along, intent on checking out the bakery on my perpetual quest for tasty baked goods.  As I was making my way through the aisle of handicapped parking spaces, an Amish woman in a white Pontiac Grand Prix came racing into the parking lot – tires screeching.  As she made the tight right turn around the corner to come down the aisle I was on, she made an abrupt left into the very parking space occupied by my hugely pregnant body.  Looking up from her cell phone, she slammed on her brakes coming to a halt mere inches from my tree trunk legs.  A tiny bit of pee trickled down my inner thigh as my life flashed before my eyes.

Rolling down her window, the bonnet-clad woman yelled out, “Do you know where James Street is?”

Stunned, I silently shook my head no.

Seemingly annoyed with my unwillingness to die and my inability to offer her driving directions, she threw her car into reverse and pulled out of the parking lot.

As I caught my breath, a store clerk who witnessed the entire incident rushed over to me.

“Oh my God – are you okay?”

“Uh-huh,” I stammered.

“Did you get the license plate?” the clerk asked.

“No.  All I can tell you is that an Amish woman in a white Pontiac Grand Prix nearly killed me.”

“She wasn’t Amish, she was Mennonite.”

“Was she?  I can’t say I really noticed the difference.  Perhaps if she hadn’t nearly killed me we could’ve sat and had a cup of tea and debated the merits of our individual belief systems.”

“Do you want me to call your husband?” the clerk asked.

“Like, do you think he’s a better driver than she was?  The only difference between his driving and hers is that she had the decency to ask for directions.”

And with that – my most surreal parking encounter to date ended and I left – sans baked goods – happy to go home, gestate and google the word “Mennonite”.


Over the years, I’ve met people who lack the ability to filter.  It’s uncomfortable to be around someone who just lets rip whatever thoughts pop into their head.  It’s even more uncomfortable to be the victim of such a thoughtless individual.

In a rush to a school tour for Adam, I only had a few minutes to run by my local coffeehouse and grab a cuppa and a hot breakfast sammy.  As I came out  of the shop loaded with scalding coffee, a handbag, a bottle of water, and a blisteringly hot sandwich, I noted that the person who pulled into the space adjacent to the driver’s side of my minivan, was parked over the line and crowding my door.  I could see the driver of the offending vehicle in the driver’s seat, talking on his cell phone, so I gingerly opened my door and tried to shimmy into the tiny opening he’d left for me.  I’d almost made it in when my shoulder grazed the edge of the driver’s door and pushed it into the rear passenger door of the neighboring vehicle.  Horrified, I checked out the car for damage just as the angry driver came round asking if I’d “scratched his car”.

“No – it’s fine – I checked.  I’m so sorry. ”

“Well, you should be more careful,” he said gruffly as he got back into the driver’s seat.

“Well, perhaps YOU should’ve been more careful with how you parked, sir.”

He got out and came back around to face me.  He was a tiny, wrinkled man in a tennis outfit.  He was probably in his late 70’s and with each nasty word from his mouth, I could make out a faint New England accent.

“There’s plenty of room to get in without slamming into other people’s cars.  Maybe you should get your fat ass to a gym once in a while,” he said in disgust.

“You did not just say that, did you?” I said in disbelief. 

“Damn right I did!”

“Well, I’ll have you know sir that my fat ass has nothing to do with your complete inability to park.  Blindfolded and unconcious I could’ve parked better than you! Then again, perhaps I’m expecting too much from a fossil, like yourself…”

As you can imagine, the conversation further deterioriated into a round-robin of name calling and fist waving.  

When I arrived at work later that morning, I told my friend and colleague about the phenomenal a**hole I’d encountered.  When I dropped the “fat ass” line on her, she looked mortified and said, “I’m surprised that man is still alive.  I think I would’ve run over him if I’d been there.”  

I had to concede her point.  Clearly Mr. No-Filter is lucky I didn’t see an interest in writing a more dramatic ending to his parking lot story; an ending where the evil dwarf who can’t park is defeated by a dazzlingly gorgeous heroine, who took it upon her shoulders to defeat the villain, thus striking a victory for social justice.  Sadly, the price for her sacrifice is that she’s forced to go on the lamb, hiding out in a desolate colony of Mennonites.  But God, what a great story…

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