Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dear Baton Rouge Drivers,

I've ranted and railed about you before. I've even called you the worst drivers in the country. I've made my peace with that, however. I no longer expect you to stop at red lights or stop signs. I stopped looking for turn signals long ago. And I always drive now as though someone is going to cut me off or turn right in front of me when I have the right of way. I've even stopped expecting you to go the right direction in parking lots. I've embraced your horrible driving as just another endearing trait, like overt racism and valuing just about everything over your schools.

However, I have notice a terribly disturbing trend in recent weeks: rude parking.

What is rude parking? Well, it can take many forms. It might mean parking straight on in an angled parking space or vice versa, thus taking up two spaces. It might mean parking on or just over the line between spaces, thus taking up two spaces. It might mean not pulling far enough into a parking space and interfering with the driving lanes. Or parking in places that are clearly marked with yellow or red lines. Or using your grandpa's handicapped hanger thingy to park in a handicapped space, even though you are a perfectly able-bodied 18 year old. Or parking your Ford Behemoth pick up in a space that is clearly meant for normal sized cars, so that your back end blocks a driving lane completely, then leaving your monstrosity there for a week straight and counting. Or, in a new one one me, parking such that the intersection of four parking spaces is directly in the center of your car, thus taking up FOUR parking spaces (I witnessed this today at church).

But then there is my personal favorite: Parking so that your passenger side door is practically touching the driver side door of the car next to you, forcing the owner of that car to put it in neutral and push it out of the parking space because the owner of that car is not a tiny, little gymnast woman and cannot possibly climb over the center consol to get in through the passenger side because of the way her car is built. Then the owner of that car has to figure out how to let go in the front of the car and run around to the driver side to get in before the car rolls back into the space (thank you construction guys).


Folks, no one is asking you to give up your bad driving habits. Run red lights to your hearts' content (well, except at the intersections that have cameras now). Forget that you even have turn signals. That's fine. But folks, have some consideration for those of us who need to share parking lots with you. I know you worry about your baby having its paint scratched. But you know what? If you park right in between the yellow lines, and the cars on either side of you park right in between the yellow lines, no one's paint will get scratched.

Or maybe you are in a hurry. But you know what? The person who could have parked in that space next to you is in a hurry to. They also have a meeting they are running late for, and they don't want their boss to yell at them either.

Maybe you just have bad perspective. Get your eyes checked and get your astigmatism fixed.

I'm not asking for the world. I'm just asking us all to be considerate of each other, so we can take care of the very limited parking in our apartment buildings, office buildings, and shopping areas. We all know the city has grown. There are somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 more people here than there were eight years ago. There are growing pains that go along with that, and we all have to adjust.

Let's all make an effort in this one area, huh? Who know where it will lead? Maybe someone will use a turn signal every fourth or fifth turn.


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