I live in a city. The trick with parking in a city is that there are a lot of us in one dense area, so there’s some competition involved. Normally, I park right in front of my house, and can leave my truck there until street-cleaning day. I roll over to somewhere else, then return my car to a spot in front of my house as soon as a space opens up.
I went to move my car, and saw this warning stuck to it.
According to the time-stamp on the lower portion of the notice, this thing appeared on my windshield three hours before I got home from work. I wandered over to my truck to (you guessed it!) move it, again, for street cleaning.
Considering that my vehicle has sat in the same spot for much longer than the allotted time with no complaint, I’m forced to conclude that my neighbors got upset that I parked in front of their house for street cleaning. If they had left a note on my windshield explaining their position, I would have apologized, made them cookies, and moved the truck. There could have been good feeling spread all ’round. This whole ‘involving the police’ thing is a bit out of hand.
Of course, I have a massive, battle-scarred black truck. Most people imagine a big burly dude as the owner of this monster. Maybe they thought I would be impossible to talk to.
I have tried to make friends with my neighbors. I make an effort to learn people’s names, and say hi to them when I pass them on the street. One of my neighbors is a metalhead. Another is a gamer. I know we have things in common. I have passed out my phone number. No dice. The closest I came to a friendship was a regular interaction with a gent who suggested I call him The Candyman, and after a few weeks of basically normal interactions, he went off on me for not loaning him beer money. I said sorry, I can’t, because I rarely carry cash — and he went on a rant that began with “why do white people always…”
Those who seem furtive and shy (like my roommate), I leave alone; but I still get stared at by these folks. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos, but I am pretty scary. I wear combat boots. I stand tall. I’m starting to feel the weight of being ‘suspicious.’ Two years, here. Haven’t made a single friend.
In other, hipper neighborhoods, people know each other. You talk to your deli guy or your pizza guy, or the artists in the park, or whoever else. Here, there’s just concrete houses in bleached pastels.
In addition to the time stamp, the warning also listed the address where I was parked. In the event that the neighbor DID report my vehicle, and that was their address, I sent them a package. I sent them a box of truffles, and an apology. Best case, we become friends. Worst case, they have no idea who I am, and throw the box away.
Just gotta do the best you can.
I think the universe is gently reminding me that I don’t belong here.