Reader: How Do I Deal With Tandem Parking Rage?
The Neighbor Lady offers a Plan A and a Plan B for dealing with tandem parking hogging.
Dear Neighbor Lady,
My tandem parking is driving me crazy. I live on a street where it's really hard to park. I also have a job that involves lugging heavy supplies to and from my car. So I want and need to use my driveway: the driveway I pay to use as part of my rent. The problem is that my downstairs neighbor parks me in a lot. He pulls in behind me and then goes out on foot. He lets friends park me in too. I've tried to ask nicely that we trade keys so we can move each other's cars if we need to. He won't do it. He says it's too risky, and then says he'll stop parking me in. I'm developing a case of driveway rage. This has to stop. What would you do?
Too Mad to Come Up with a Funny Name in Somerville
Dear Mad One,
Humor is good but we don't always need to sign off with it or employ it as a negotiating tool. Sometimes, just the facts are enough. Inconsiderate parking can tap directly into our latent, ancestral, adrenaline-fueled circuitry. Someone is treading on your territory, weakening your power (rendering your payments futile) and essentially trapping you by impeding your mobility. Ain't no way your central nervous system is going to stand idly by. Brain centers are going to get juice and this energy is going to give you fire power. But we don't want the situation to go up in flames.
Let us channel those chemicals to the brain's higher functioning: thinking, planning, patience. Someone wise said something like:
"He who rushes to battle arrives exhausted; he who prepares arrives refreshed and ready to engage."
What do we need to prepare you? A goal, Plan A, possibly Plan B. We also need to keep the threat of conflagration in check—a mantra ought to take care of that. Keep repeating in your mind: peaceful cooperation in everyone's interest, peaceful cooperation in everyone's interest …
Our goal is to have the impetuous parker feel your pain, and so become willing to solve the problem because it is in his own interest to do so. First we turn the tables and have you park him in. This is not a retaliatory move; this is to get his attention. Can you somehow impede his mobility? Park improperly and take off on foot? Put him in the position of needing to come to you for a solution. Tick him off and then apologize. Wait! I know! Stay with me! All will be revealed. And for now, just repeat: peaceful cooperation in everyone's interest, peaceful cooperation in everyone's interest …
It could be that this taste is all he needs to see the wisdom of trading keys under the Gentle Neighbor's honor system. Ah!, he would see, this could happen to me, too, and, why, it just has! He may come to you with his own version of the key swap (via a locked box in the hallway, maybe?). Whatever his brainstorm is, be sure to praise its ingenuity. Instead of rolling your eyes, run the inner tape: peaceful cooperation in everyone's interest, peaceful cooperation in everyone's interest…
Plan B is to go to your landlord. Present the problem and your attempts to resolve it without him or her. Introduce a new solution in a light that will go directly to his or her own interest: financial. You are not getting the parking privilege you are paying for. If the problem isn't resolved, perhaps you deserve a rent deduction. But, of course, you'd rather he or she use a little landlord sway to help you get through to you know who.