there’s this parking spot near my place that can fit two cars if you do it right
sometimes we have to put a note on someones car because they park in the middle taking up both spots but after a while everyone figures it out.
at the beginning of the pandemic parking was scarce because no one was going to work and everyone was stuck at home
and no one had to move their cars because the mayor had ixnayed street cleaning.
so every now and then youd have to circle the block a few times and eventually youd get a spot
one day we noticed that this family was parking both of their mini vans in the double spot,
but when one of them left, they’d inch the other car up to the middle to save the other spot all day.
well, let me tell you, there were some sharply worded letters left on their windshields, mister.
of which were roundly ignored.
to rub it in, at some point, their daughter bridgette graduated high school.
i know this because they wrote on the back windows of both minivans
congratulations bridgette class of 2020!
one of the neighbors asked a cop what can be done.
it’s not against the law to be an asshole.
because im an idiot, i always think you can reason with people
what you’re doing is not cool, i told the mom, who ignored me.
amber said later, leave them alone, theyre poor.
i said, we have one car, they have two.
amber said, they have three, bridgette got a car for graduation.
they wrote on the back of that car too.
amber said, this is not worth it, youre going to get shot over a parking spot.
today i saw the dad.
walk up the street, amber, i said. she reluctantly did.
why are you doing this? i asked him.
he finished putting the sun shield on the underside of the windshield.
there’s parking all over. there’s a spot right there, i said, pointing at actually the best spot on the street because you secretly dont even need a permit on that spot because it used to be a meter.
not only did he not answer me but he didnt look at where i was pointing and he walked away.
where are you going? i asked like i was his mother.
i go home.
and this is where i feel ashamed of myself because when i was in junior college, working long hours and going to school and trying to adjust to LA, and not having a bunch of friends for the first time in a long time,
i made a very good amount of money selling tvs.
but i quit because idealistically i had a hard time getting negotiated down by smart white guys,
whereas many of the minorities would save up their cash
and be the most delightful customers of all sorts of audio and video
typically at full hit.
so i started pumping gas at the last full service gas station in beverly hills.
i wanted to help the people, not rip them off.
and at first i thought id do it for a little while but i loved it.
and i advanced a little, and got tipped, and dated a few of the patrons
which is tougher than you think when you have 5 minutes to pump the gas, check the fluids, and get a phone number
when you don’t exactly look like brad pitt.
and youre in a gas station guy uniform.
and one of the things that i learned there was… well let’s say there were about three of us black guys, two white guys, and everyone else was Latino.
like bridgette’s parents.
and working those pumps, outside in the sun, for eight hours a day
dudes of all backgrounds
and some of what you learn are truisms that stick with you forever.
well i used one of them on bridgette’s dad as he walked down the street
ignoring my conversation
which even he would probably admit is insulting.
and i said, what you are doing is selfish.
do you know that word?
and i coulda said ask bridgette, but that’s unnecessary
instead i said
black and brown people need to stop living in a world of scarcity.
which im pretty sure he didnt hear because i was wearing a mask.
and thats the biggest problem i have right now.