Monday, July 30, 2007

Friday afternoon I ran out of delicious and refreshing Diet Coke Plus in the place where I stash that stuff in my cubicle.
I did my best to not freak out. I checked the system clock on the computer, quickly estimated the time I had left at work against my normal cola consumption to figure out how much Diet Coke I would actually be missing during the remainder of the afternoon. I counted the change in my pocket and decided I could get by just through hitting the Coke machine in the break area.
But they too were out of Diet Coke. Rather than just give in and purchase Diet Dr. Pepper (two buttons on the machine dedicated to that and only one to Diet Coke), I immediately seemed to remember an additional spare 12 pack of Diet Coke Plus in the trunk of the car.
Was it a hallucination brought on by thirst?
Had I already removed and consumed the emergency 12 pack, or had I legitimately forgotten it sealed away in there? Was it maturing like 12 little oak casks of port?
I had no choice but to find out the truth, so I pocketed my quarters and headed for the elevator. As you may have noticed, I do a lot of things by habit. In fact, this blog could end up in a novel years from now titled "Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng : My Life With OCD, n00b".
One of the things I like about getting to work early is that I can park in the same space every day.
It isn't a particularly nice space. There are spaces closer to the elevator. But the space in the middle of a cluster of three spaces between two square columns at the corner of the elevator shaft inaccessible from the garage (ground floor only, those) on level six is my space.
It is quiet, and no one usually parks in the space next to the driver's side because of the angle required to negotiate the corner and the giant square column.
However, as I rounded the corner on my mission to find out if I still had Diet Coke Plus in the trunk, I was confronted with something that had the power to annoy me even on a Friday afternoon.
The Chrysler.
Sometimes someone parks a green Chrysler 300 in the space on my car's passenger side. The 300 has custom plates which let everyone know that it is a Chrysler 300, even though there is a silver badge on the back that serves the same purpose.
Anyway, whenever this car parks next to me, they pretty much ignore the yellow lines. The gentle 45 degree angle employed in parking for those of us who care is abbreviated by the driver of the 300 into a 40 degree one that cuts across the yellow line between our cars and boxes mine in. Whenever I see this car, I know I will have to put my car into forward and reverse no fewer than eight times to get out of my parking space without leaving some of my silver paint on their green car.
I stopped and looked for a few minutes, saddened.
Then I had to walk around the driver's side to get to my trunk because there wasn't room on the passenger's side to even squeeze between the cars.
And I had no Diet Coke Plus in there.
From my new vantage behind the car, I stared daggers at the car boxing mine in. I glanced around to see if anyone would witness my "borrowing" their lugnuts and leaving them in a brown paper bag under the car.
That is when I noticed the security guard on her normal garage patrol.
"Hey!" I waved at her and she walked over, hand inching closer to her Taser in a move that looked as practiced and professional as any I've witnessed in all the times I've been "assisted" by law enforcement.
"Is it just me," I asked, "Or is this just about the worst parking ever?"
"Yeah, that's pretty bad. Looks like they don't want door dings so they park like that." She nodded and pulled a tape measure to check tire distances from yellow lines.
I didn't know they did that. Mine was perfectly symmetrical, by the way. Took me four tries, but I get to work early.
"Well it makes me take forever backing out right into the blind corner here."
"I can write them a ticket." She pulled out a notebook I didn't know they carried and began to note the custom license plate.
"Oh, hey," for some reason I suddenly felt like a tattletale. I knew I should handle this kind of situation on my own, like an adult, with a set of keys held at the proper angle to create a glorious thick spiral of metallic green paint that falls to the floor of the garage with the light tap of justice.
A parking ticket was too far.
"I don't think you have to do that," I noticed that the form was mostly filled out already. I was too late. I had gotten someone in trouble.
"This will just let them know they can't park like this," She put her initials on the bottom of the form and leaned in to stick it to the glass. "It's why I walk down here," she added, adjusting her Taser again, this time in a non-threatening way.
I still felt bad.
"I'm sorry. I really didn't expect that to happen," I gestured at the ticket on the glass, "I feel like a fink."
"Hey, you didn't park like that," she took a tone I'd guess had been practiced on children separated from their parents in a shopping mall, "It was their own fault."
"Okay." I agreed. And my sniffle was completely related to some summer allergies. "I really only wanted to tell someone how very much I hate the driver of this car and how I'd like for them to die somehow and you were the only one down here to tell."
"I know. I noted that in the comments section," she tapped the glass near the ticket.
She hadn't, but I still felt better.

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