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Friday, October 14, 2011

I'll Kill You

Children soon learn the power of words, even if they do not know the full meaning. Take the ever popular "I'll Kill You." Adults often dispense with the words and just perform the act. Particularly when angry. And nothing enrages a New Yorker more than a breech of certain types of urban etiquette, particularly street parking etiquette. And yes, there is such a thing.

Many non-residents of New York City imagine this metropolis to be a lawless land with no rules. Not at all. If you doubt my words, try taking a parking spot deemed to be someone else's. There is a protocol here, but I can't tell you exactly what it is.
I street parked for years, and one of the best techniques, rather than cruising, is to stake out part of a block and WAIT. Cruising for a spot in a crowded neighborhood is very tricky. First, as you cruise, you will be encountering others who have staked out territory. And you will also have to be exactly where someone is leaving - empty spots are snagged immediately. In today's photo, I had only stepped into my car when someone pulled up and double parked ahead of me in anticipation of my leaving. Waiting for what, in this city, is like a nugget of gold to the panner: the parking spot.

Of course, the waiting and staking out territory strategy has its problems, too. It is a generally accepted practice to stake out a portion of a block, lay claim to it and wait. If someone pulls out, it's yours and yours only. However, there are many instances where someone unaware of you or of the protocol will just pull into a spot within your turf. A confrontation will typically ensue, with the offending party backing off, apologizing, and leaving.

A piggish thief may snag the spot and refuse to back off. However, if the thief has not executed his parking quickly and properly, such as pulling in front first, he is subject to the offended party pulling up quickly and blocking the thief from completing his parking, resulting in a stand off. This precise scenario was the subject of a Seinfeld episode, The Parking Space.

But there is a simpler solution for a victim in this predicament. Many years ago, I read an article in the Village Voice about exactly this scenario. Someone snatched a parking spot before a man who had been staking out the block could get to it. He pulled up to the thief, rolled down his window, pulled out a gun and shot and murdered him.* An enraged adult needs not to waste any time with "I'll Kill You."

*This is not an isolated incident. There have been numerous assaults and other fatalities involving fights over parking spaces.

Related Posts: The Agony and the Ecstasy, Shortly Before Execution, Pull Ahead, Great Minds and Fools, Get a Life, Itching and..., Who See the Red? 


Mary P. said...

Once, on your block, a long time ago, I waited for someone as he was leaving a parking spot. No one else was waiting. When he left, I pulled up to begin backing into the spot. Someone driving up just DOVE into the spot, front first. He couldn't park that way, but would not leave. I finally had to just give up and pull away.
That was a very long time ago. I didn't have my handicapped permit in those days.

Thérèse said...

Not a happy ending to your post today ;-)

Chicken Underwear said...

Waiting and staking out territory does not work in Park Slope at night. Not many people pulling out after midnight.

I once dropped the family off and got tired of driving in circles so I waited at the end of the block.

I feel asleep while double parked. Good thing I was in "P" and not just sitting there with my foot on the brake. Better thing was that my wife called my cell phone and woke me up.

Leslie said...

Actually I had read that it was a woman who shot the guy who stole her spot. She had been waiting a long time when he dove in and stole the spot. She walked up to him to curse him out, he laughed at her, she shot him. New Yorkers are tough, eh?