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Parking Jihad

Hogging the parking in front of the crib

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: June 21, 2004


Parking Jihad


We live in an urban housing development built in the late 60s. All of the homes are detached spilt level, with one car lane garages that can accommodate two cars indoors below the home, if you put one directly behind the other. No one does that. We do one car, one bike and an in-law.

My philosophy regarding home ownership and property rights is pretty simple; The American bill of rights does not entitle you to leave your raggedy car in front of my house and hog on all the parking all weekend without consequence.

The main problem is that there are two family?s across the street with 6 cars each and four drivers per casa. One family, I am assuming career insomniacs, is on 24-7 parking watch, and will move cars around at the weirdest times. They won?t park in front of our house because someone convinced them that I was in the witness protection program.

We have territorially joined the fray and find my self playing vehicular chess with these folks and astonishingly can almost anticipate their comings and goings. It is pathetic to admit that we have forgone short trips around town as to not to lose a prime time space.

This is no doubt territorialism in its most lurid modernistic form, but not without practical application. My wife works late hours sometimes during the week and her sister works even later hours and I don?t want them walking a long block away in the dark to park. If folks were rational in parking etiquette, everyone could slip in close next to their cribs.

Each family seems to have a parking philosophy. The other 6 car family next door to the night stalkers has an intricate communication system and a parking pecking order. The Town Car gets the driveway, the Buick gets the curb and the Honda?s have to fit behind the Town Car blocking it path out. This problem for them would be moot if the kid didn?t have old school never driven buckets in the garage.

I have discussed this issue, (in fact that is the only thing we ever talk about); with our next door neighbor Jim. He is semi retired and is locally famous for his put the garbage out on the curb, space blocking technique. He is one of those old guys who grew up in the barrio before it was the barrio, then claims he is from the hood.

Last week he tossed me another straight line about how bad the parking was. I shouted that I am buying a tow truck and handling it myself. He grumbled something, it sounded like he called me a Tricky Spic.

His wife who knows everybody?s business tells everyone the ridiculous things we say. We counted on her surreptitious involvement in the witness protection rumor, ergo none of the old timer?s park directly in front of our home, ever.

I have studied the parking problem on the block and have come to a few conclusions. There are some people who are plain stupid who take up two spaces. There are smarter people who do that on purpose. Some cars from down the street, park up the block, when there are house parties and slipper fests. Some park on the street because they have seldom loved one living in the garage, or have a disabled ride that they are still making payments on sick in the driveway. Most of the little kids who used to ride up and down the street on bicycles now have Toyotas attend community college, attempt to hide sleep over guests.

There is nothing more irksome then a car that stays all weekend parked in front of the house taking up two parking spaces. These folks do not know how fortunate they are that I don?t have a portable welding torch; my Homie will lower any car by heating the springs in 20 minutes, ten bucks a spring.

The real problem is this. There is a home up the street that had fire over a year ago. The owners are in the midst of a complete restoration of the property. Everyday there are at least five vehicles that show up to do the remodel job. They have become an occupying presence on the block. The cars that are supposed to park there are forced to move into non-traditional parking areas.

When the occupying force is gone, and neighbors have acclimated to new ways of social accommodation, things will be back and hopefully better than normal.

Sound familiar?

The home is almost fixed; it?s time for the workers to come home.


About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos wants to write a sitcom.




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