By Kay Wyma.
“So, what do you think about lunch next week?” my friend asks me over the phone. We had been catching up while I drove north to the West Plano Costco.
I love Costco. Sam’s is great, too. But we had weekend visitors headed. One of which happens to be my father-in-law who has a fetish for the Kirkland brand Cashew Crunch. I might have a fetish myself and an appreciation to be able to blame my father-in-law for stocking the house.
“Oh my word.” I cut her off. “Someone just took the parking spot I have been waiting for. Seriously, I was waiting with my blinker the entire time that lady was loading her car and putting away the cart. I can’t believe someone would pull in front of me.”
“How rude!” my friend commiserated.
“I know. Can you believe?!” But, I shrugged it off. “Whatever. There’s a guy coming up to his car next to that spot. I’ll just wait for him.”
We kept talking while I waited. And waited. And waited. Slow-Man had no clue, or didn’t care, that someone was waiting to park.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see a car zooming up on my right. I looked over and tried to give a oh-no-you-don’t glare. But the car, intent on their forward swoop missed it.
“No way!” I exclaim to my friend. There’s a car on my right swooping in! I can’t believe how rude!” I cut myself short. The car next to me wasn’t grabbing my spot. “Oh never mind,” I play-by-play my friend. “They are just taking the open space that has been sitting her the whole time on my left. My word! I can’t believe I didn’t see it.”
My friend laughed.
“I’ll just keep waiting. And talking to you.” Which we did. I wasn’t in a hurry.
Finally Slow-Man closed his trunk and started to walk his cart to the cart-spot.
As soon as he opened his door to get into his car, another car quick-turned into the aisle, facing me. She turned on the blinker, announcing her arrival and claim to Slow-Man’s spot.
“Oh my word!” I exclaim to my friend. “You are not going to believe this. Someone is trying to jump ahead of me for Slow-Man’s spot. I’ve been waiting here since he left the store.” I stared in disbelieve and started to inch forward and let her know it was mine.
She didn’t care a bit. As soon as Slow-Man began to back up, she had wedge her car into the spot so I couldn’t move forward.
“NO WAY!” I gasp. “She nabbed my place! The audacity! OH MY WORD! I’m so giving that lady a piece of my mind!” I announce.
“You are?” my friend questioned. “Are you sure?”
“You bet I am,” I continue. “I’ve pulled in behind her and am waiting for her to get out of the car. Ohh… she’s getting out. Hold on.” I put the phone in my lap and roll down the passenger window.
She beat me to the punch. “I was here first!!” She yelled at me. “I was waiting before you. You weren’t even sitting there when I pulled up! This is MY spot!!”
“What are you talking about?!” I, in all my middle-school maturity spit back. “I watched the guy walk out of the store. I’ve been sitting here waiting long before you even thought about coming to Costco!”
She glared at me. “It’s MY spot. But if you must,” she motions to get back in her car as if she was going to pull out and give me the spot.
“Oh no, you don’t” I reply. You just keep it. Happy Day, Lady. Haaa-ppeee DAY!”
Mortified at my juvenile reaction, I remember the phone in my lap. I pick it up and ask, “Did you hear all that?”
“Uh … yes.”
“Oh my gosh. I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe I said all that. I’m horrified.” To top it all off, there was an open space two closer to the store’s entrance. “Even worse, I’m now parked two spaces away from her. And now I have to walk into the store.” Eek! “What if I see her? What will I say?”
My friend and I hung up and into the store I went, keeping my head low hoping to avoid contact. I zipped through my list and was heading for the door when I ran into another friend. We stood chatting in front of the fresh flower section for quite a while – my hopes of a quick dash in and out vanquished.
As my friend talked, those flowers started calling my name. I couldn’t shake the need to buy a bunch and put them on her windshield. I needed to apologize. My behavior was pitiful.
It was a parking space.
She’s a person. Who knows how her day had gone? What difference does my walking a few extra feet make? How hard would it have been for me to be gracious? Kind? Happy for her scoring a good spot?
And my graciousness just might have met her where she needed it.
Needless to say, I bought the flowers. I raced outside, now hoping her car was still there. Thankful, I placed the flowers on her windshield, got back into my car and drove away, wishing that I had written a note of apology.
I’m not sure what I would have written, but I hope I could have said, “I’m sorry for my bad attitude and harsh words. You are worth so much more than a parking spot.” Because she is.
Let’s I hope I remember when the Christmas race begins.
Kay Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone.