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After seeing everyone’s Facebook statuses, I know I”m about 10 days late with this post, but it’s been percolating in my brain without the opportunity to get out, so here it is. 

Before the last storm, I very purposefully parked at the end of our block, since I knew I’d have an easier time shoveling out.  Mr. Apron and I worked our tails off so I could go to work when at last the school district finally crawled out from its snail shells and let the busses go pick up the school children.  And it was good.  We though we lived in a nice neighborhood, a neighborhood where people are largely respectful of person space and keep their lawns and homes reasonably well.  During the December storm the entire back alley (which is decidedly not plowed by the township) was carefully shovelled out by all who use the alley.  It was a regular community event.  Other than that, we rarely speak to our neighbors, but on those days we worked together, lifting snow for the snow blower, allowing excess snow to be piled on each of our yards, so we could all park and escape with relative ease. 

On the street, there was, I hoped, a tacit agreement that the parking space you shovelled out was your own.  I leave the house on the early side in the morning, and am therefore rewarded with being able to come home around 4:30 and have my pick of the street spots not taken by the retirees.  On Monday, I got my spot.  On Tuesday I again came home to my spot.  And Wednesday as well.  Thursdays I work late, so I arrived home around 6pm to find that some jerk had parked his SUV in my spot.  A spot which was so unmistakably mine I could have had Mr. Apron piss on it.  I had thought we could have avoided the trashy jockeying with lawn chairs, but apparently not.  With pride and defiance, I greeted the spot on Friday afternoon only to find someone else’s porch furniture in my space.  Oh, this meant war.  I grabbed the wire framed piece of shit and heaved it into the snow bank.  Then, I parked my car, and dared the chair owner to come bang on my door and tell me whose spot he thought he was saving.  It’s not so daring, but I had to hope we didn’t live in a neighborhood where they slash tires. 

It’s all peace and civility till you mess with my Fit. 

Finally, thanks to above-freezing temps and glorious sun hitting the curbside where we park, the snow is melting in our neighborhood.  I wish I could have said the same for downtown Philly, and the neighborhoods where I work.  Each daycare, home, or preschool I approached was surrounded by a plethora of lawn chairs, milk crates, stolen traffic cones, and kiddie chairs.  I knew I was only going to be there an hour or two.   I knew it was most likely no one would come to claim their spot during that time.  But I didn’t dare risk it.  Instead, I circled for 10 minutes, praying I didn’t get stuck in the slick spots, till I found an unclaimed spot.  A meeting that was to have happened at a daycare was moved to a Dunkin’ Donuts because there was no parking by the daycare itself. 

Now, even the new snow we got last weekend has melted, and when I go back into the battlezone of Philly on Wednesday, I pray those chairs are gone.  I can just imagine the file note I’d have to write if I couldn’t park and missed an appointment:

“Johnny was not seen at his school today because there was a toilet and a coffee table preventing me from parking near his school.  Will try to make-up next week, assuming the toilet is gone.”

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March 2010
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