Pretty Petty

I’m a pretty petty person. I get my undies in a knot about a lot of stupid things. One of the things about which I get really stupid-mad is parking spaces.

About 15 years ago, maybe more like 17 actually, I lived in a condo complex with my first wife. We shared a parking lot with a lot of other people and there were simply too many cars. A lot of people had to park away from their houses. For me, I seemed to always get one near the front gate of our house, and I tried not to take the spots in front of someone else’s gate. If I had to park somewhere besides the places right in front of my house, I’d go to the middle of the parking lot and just rage in the car about it. Or seethe and stew and storm past the person in “my” spot in the lot.

One day, I lost it. I lost my temper, my cool and my composure. Oh, and my mind too.

As I walked past that person’s burgundy car, I raked my car key down the side of it good and deep. I peeled back a three or four foot long shaving of the car’s paint, and then it dropped away and a second one took its place. No one saw me – of that I’m sure because I never got a visit from the police – but God saw me. And I saw me. And the guilt in me was, despite knowing this, embarrassingly small.

Still is.

Like I said, I’m pretty petty.


One of the worst experiences I’ve had since moving into this apartment some five years (almost) ago has been the new neighbors that live upstairs. I’ve complained about them before, you may recall.

One of the positive things I had to say about them in that post was, they didn’t take my parking space. They had the decency, in their subhuman trailer-trashiness, to leave my well-established parking spot to me.

Tonight, that changed.

I’m an immature, irrational P.O.S., too, because I can’t STAND the idea that this group of simians are sitting around somewhere with their car in my f**cking parking spot because I had to go to work and make a living. This isn’t a car I’ve seen before, and I can’t even definitely state it IS their car. I’m just sure of it, in my heart. I can’t live like this though. This is… well, this is just stupid.

So I’m hoping to grow up here sometime and just let it go. It’s been more than a month since they moved in and it’s not happened before. For all I know this is a one-time only situation. We’ll see. And if it’s not their car, well, I guess I’ll have to eat my words and my hat, won’t I?

What about you? Is there a part of you that’s uglier than you like to admit, that makes you as mad at yourself as you are at the thing which triggers it, but feel powerless to stop? Do you have a little pettiness in you which mars your otherwise radiant beauty?

Let me know. It’d be nice not to be alone in this.


8 thoughts on “Pretty Petty

  1. I felt like you were walking around in my brain a little here, not gonna lie. I hate it when that little beast in me rears her ugly head. It’s like, out of nowhere, a beast that rips right through my “pretty pretending to be a princess” head and says “what’s up now, b*tches?!? Manda don’t PLAY that, fool” in a gruff sinister voice… Okay, I have a very vivid imagination. But, yes, I totally get what you’re saying. For example, I love to have friends over and have a good time. My husband and I use to regularly invite a group of pals over to barbecue a feast of food, drink anything in our liquor cabinets and just open up our home to everyone n the sake of having a good time and sharing the “wealth”. Well, our friends never really “took advantage” of us and would try and chip in where they could. They’d bring a dish to share, a cooler of drinks to share, throw money our way if they didn’t bring anything and realized we spent a pretty penny to ensure a good time was had by all…with the exception of one friend. This one friend would drink all our liquor, eat the last steak and potato, enjoy our party to the fullest, but would be the first to make sure all of HIS leftover beers made it back to his cooler. (Even if he drank all of ours “by accident”). Or he’d make sure he got exact change if someone made a cigarette run, even if he smoked all of that person’s cigarettes before getting his new pack, without offering to repay them for all the money he smoked. Oh, man, the first few times this happened, my little princess smile stayed plastered on my face and I looked the other way. After all, we did plan this little shin dig, didn’t we? But, after a few times in a row of being constantly taken advantage of for my hospitality without getting an ounce of respect or even a measly “thanks for ANYTHING” I started to see the monster grow. I didn’t key his truck, BUT I started catching myself thinking about putting restrictions on the parties. Well, we can’t buy this type of meat, because it’s too expensive and “so-and-so” will just eat it all. Or, we can’t get this type of liquor AND this other type of liquor because “so-and-so” will just drink it all and instead of having a get together to enjoy my company, it became a task or chore. Long story short, I had to stop hanging out with this friend for a while to get back to “myself”. Sucks seeing the monster inside rear it’s head, but just being cognizant to look for signs of the monster beginning to wake is key. 🙂

    RunningManda, thanks for stopping by and for sharing that little bit of yourself with me. I know exactly how you feel, and I’ve felt that way for many reasons as well. When the input to a relationship isn’t mutual, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship and see whether it’s worth what you’re giving. There IS no relationship with these people, though, and I have no recourse but to bite the bullet and grow up. I’ll do the best I can. Thanks again, and please feel free to stop by whenever you’d like. 🙂 All us ex-smokers need to stick together, after all. 🙂

  2. You are not alone my friend. My issue is with my boys. They are both over the age of 21 but still manage to get a “mama bear on the attack” response from me if ANYONE hurts them in any way….real or imagined. I lay awake nights wishing ills and pitfalls on those that would dare to make my boys’ lives less than charmed. It’s sad because everyone is just living. Everyone is learning as they go. I hate to admit, even I approach life with a “what’s best for me first” attitude. Luckily my boys don’t have the same affliction. They somehow managed to learn that very few people set out to hurt you, most people are just too self consumed to notice when they have. The price for me is high. It makes me look at the world through ugly lenses, lose sleep, over analyze others’ intent, and hover over my sons more than grown men require. My goal is to work on learning to forgive these scoundrels for being so darn human so that I can begin the work on forgiving myself.

    A well-worthwhile pursuit, Jaymie. If you manage to grasp that lofty goal, please tell us how you managed. We all need that path mapped. 😦 God bless, hon, and thank you for sharing.

  3. This is a story told to me by a regular client of mine. Imagine all this being spoken with an Italian accent.
    My wife asked me to pick her up at that new outlet mall and bring the van. She bought some furniture. I get there and it’s a Saturday afternoon. The place is packed.
    I drive around and drive around until I see somebody get into their car. There was nobody else around. No other car. Sweet! I stop my van, flick on the turn signal and give this car backing out a wide berth.
    The instant this car gets out of the spot, this lime green SUV shoots into the spot out of nowhere. What the hell???
    I stay right there, put my van in park and get out of the car. I confront these two women getting out of the SUV.
    “Excuse me, didn’t you see me waiting there patiently with my signal on. I had this spot!”
    The two women start giggling and one mumbles something in Russian or something and they start to walk away from me.

    Okay, I’m editing the following part out because this is a family blog. Suffice it to say, many references were made to deplorable sexual acts involving these two woman and how they choose to make a living.

    Eventually, I find a parking spot. But before I go find my wife, I find this lime green SUV. At which point I take out the biggest key I can find and run it long and hard across one side of the SUV. After I ripped out a huge chunk of this car’s paint, I look at the SUV again and take the key to it a second time on the other side of the car.
    Then I go pick up my wife.
    “What took you so long?” she asked me.
    “Don’t start with me, okay.”
    As we walk to my van, I purposely take her past the lime green SUV. She notices the vandalism on the car.
    “Holy moly! Look at that nasty keying job on this car.” she exclaimed.
    “That’ll teach those b*****s to take my spot and then play dumb and pretend not to understand a damned thing.”
    “You did this???”
    “F**k yes I did this! Did it to the other side too!”

    That’s me, all right. I can certainly see myself doing something like that. Except this guy’s even more bold and brazen than I am. Viva testicular fortitude! Thanks for sharing, WIGSF! GREAT story!

  4. What is it with parking spaces? In my old apartment our building was on the end unit, so had the most parking spaces. Yay us. Well, there was a lady who lived a few buildings down, had a HUGE SUV and would park it on the side of our building…but…she’d take two spaces with that behemoth of hers. Why this bothered me, I couldn’t really say. We had more spaces near our building than any others, AND she had to walk farther since she was parking several buildings away.

    But…this irked me. I think it was the two spaces. So one day, I left a note on her windshield. It read, “Quit parking like a douche. Thank you.”

    Yes…I did write thank you.

    She never parked there again.

    Wow, what a great story! Not as gratifying as running a church key down her car’s flank, I’m sure, but a fine example of being human nonetheless, and it GOT RESULTS! What more can you ask? I wish I could say why this bothers me, but it does.

  5. Once when my marriage to my first husband was breaking down, I threw his Walkman tape player down the stairs. He wasn’t even at home. I was stewing mad about something he’d done or said. I still feel guilty about that.

    The guilt makes you a better person than I am. I have no remorse about keying that car, whatsoever.

  6. “One day, I lost it. I lost my temper, my cool and my composure. Oh, and my mind too.”
    That right there is funny as $hit.

    Thanks. 🙂

    I get irritated over little things, things that people do which are obviously wrong, selfish, or just an example of bad manners, but I seldom act out on them. I did institute a policy at the Harribalsac where if a person was too stupid to ask for a type of dressing on their salad they got ranch. I can see it happening at the Spaghetti Western too.

    Seems reasonable. 🙂

  7. It takes a lot to really piss me off, but I don’t act out about it when it happens. I’m a firm believer in karma and our actions balancing out what we get in return. If something really has me worked up, I feel compelled to do something good, pay for the coffee/pop behind me, bake cookies for a surprise for our co-workers… something like that. I offered to pay for a mans pop one day at the grocery store, and he didn’t want me to, but I insisted, I was having a bad day, and I needed to do something good, he smiled, and let me pay, and my day became increasingly better. Positive energy is a powerful thing.

    I don’t believe in being controlled by energies, stars, forces and gravitational influences or the time of year we’re born, and I know for a fact Karma isn’t real (long, long story there, lots of sound evidence), but I do know we can change how we feel and perceive the world with simple controlled actions and gestures. You seem to have a firm handle on that. Giving and doing something nice releases endorphins in our brains. Some say (erroneously, IMO) this is what happens when we pray too. In the end, I believe we can’t change our fortunes by this, but I do believe we change out outlook by this, and when our outlook has changed, it’s no surprise the world seems different. It’s not — only the angle of approach we take is. So good on you for being someone who can do that and be better for it, and in the process make the world less dark by her light. 🙂

    • Karma and prayer, or whatever are what you make of it, and the power you give it. I believe in the power of good deeds, you believe in the power of God and prayer.

      These things, all, can change your outlook, if you let it, if you’re open to it.

      The other weekend, Matt and I went home to visit my family, and we stopped to get Chinese near where we used to live, and when we walked in, there was an elderly man sitting a the counter. We said hello, and he greeted us back, and he just kept looking at me. I asked if he remembered me, and he said “of course, I see your mother down at the store all the time – you’re living in NG now aren’t you?” So we caught up, I introduced him to Matt and the little man, and he told me all about his grand kids, whom I went to school with, and his new great grand children, and before he left, I asked him to wait. I told him about how I have been telling people about him for the last eight years.

      Since one day, he came into the store, and asked me how I was doing, and I told him I was “very well, thank you, and yourself?”, and he told he me he was “outstanding to exceptional, thanks” with a great big smile, and I laughed. He told me that he always answers that way, because it breeds positive energy, helps boost his day, and it typically makes others smile and feel good, too. So the next time he came in, my friend I worked with jumped at the counter to ask him how he was, so he would ask us back, to which she responded “totally wicked, thanks”, and I responded “awesomely outrageous, thanks”.

      It was nice to finally thank him for that moment. Whenever I think of him, I smile, and telling people I’m “awesomely outrageous, thanks” has meant more to me than I could ever explain to him.

      So yes, I believe in positive energy, because I see how it affects my life, and when negative energy makes it’s way in, I know from the past how long that spiral can be, but I have friends and family who believe in the power of prayer, and I’ve seen the results in their lives from that, and faith in anything is a beautiful, powerful, life changing thing.

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