February 12, 2019

in the presence of greatness

Game on.
Yesterday, the perky blonde forty-something in the other car won the planet, and the Universe, and everything.  She won Life.  If there's a Trophy instead of just a trophy, she was awarded it yesterday.

I once again found myself in that parking lot situation.  You know the one ... the one where you've left the store and loaded your bags into your car and put the cart away like a proper civilized person, and you've climbed into the front seat and then you notice --

-- that across from you is another woman who also just got into her car (does this happen between men?) and is settling in to aggressively check messages on her cell phone.  Her car is running but she has no intention of going anywhere.

It's the great stand-off.  Each of you wants the other to back out of her space first so that she can have the pull-through space, and so you each engage in passive-aggressive behaviors designed to wait it out.  The intensity of battle is grossly out of proportion to the pettiness of the prize.

I start my car and grab my phone.  I immediately escalate by employing the tactic of pulling a PowerCrunch bar out of my purse and very conspicuously opening it and taking a bite, holding it up a bit as I do so.

She glances up ever-so-slightly and then looks back down at her phone, engaging in a fresh frenzy of texting.  She mouths the words as she texts.  It would be, to the undiscerning eye, pretty convincing.

I eat my bar slowly and text on my own phone.  I don't have anything legitimate to text, so I text P.J.:

"In car at HT.  Woman across from me doing that Thing, not backing out first.  I am doing it, too.  I will win.  She's pretty good at this.  I have to keep texting words so she will see that I am texting so that is what I am doing.  This is pretty meta.  Also, they were out of the cream cheese you wanted.  Damn it she is good.  Holy shit six minutes and she is still doing it!"

I need to cook dinner.  I need to win this.  I am torn.

Then my lucky break comes.  She turns off her car and climbs out of it, purse on shoulder, and begins walking toward the store.  Ah, that was it all along.  She was getting a grocery list together, perhaps, soliciting input from a family member.  It all makes sense now.

In the warm glow of victory, I text one last message to P.J.:  "She broke!  I win.  Be home soon.  xox"  Then I put my car into reverse gear.

And as I have scarcely lifted my foot from the brake pedal to begin oozing out of the parking lot, looking over my right shoulder, then left, then right, I see her return to her car.  I pause.  She climbs in and starts the car.  She looks at me.  She waits.

Instead of moving into the territory of a word that I don't know but it means ten-thousand times stronger than "utterly ridiculous" by pulling back into the space, I back out and drive away.  I know when I've been defeated.

I had been in the presence of greatness.  A master of the craft of pull-through camping.  An artist, I dare say.  She didn't just win. She Won.

I called P.J. via the car's Bluetooth.  "You aren't going to believe this .... "

Also: This.  I love reading the headline and then the ensuing article that spends its entire length explaining why the headline isn't true.


  1. If you reversed out in such a way that the car waiting for your parking space got into the space before Texting Lady managed to do the drive through - you won and won big. No, it's not just women, but the stand off lasts much longer if the other driver is male - trust me on this ;) Plus the win is way more satisfying - mostly 'cause the male doesn't even know he's been bested.

    1. Sadly, no, because her car was already moving forward as I was completing my back-out. I do hope she at least got startled by the other driving starting to pull in, though!

  2. Worthy opponent, indeed, but damn her dirty tricks! You'll get her next time -- and if not her, then someone like her -- only, now you have a new trick under your belt to pull out when necessary! What I hate is when someone's in a car and acting like they're about to back out and so I'm waiting to pull into their parking spot (once they leave), with my blinker on so there is no misunderstanding that when the car pulls out, it is mine -- but then they decide, naw, they're going into the store now that I've been waiting for 3 freaking minutes! Happened to me yesterday! Was so pissed off that I left the the grocery store parking lot altogehter and went to Wal-Green's instead to get what I came for (Gatorade and Apple Juice for David.) I'm sure I paid more for them, but then I didn't have the hassle and the chaos in the parking lot! So I guess I showed them! Ha! Mona

  3. Bahahaha!!! I had no idea people did this! I lose patience after five seconds of anything gas-burning-related, and park really far away.
    The only thing that stresses me out related to this is when I walk to the parking garage to my car to take a nap, and a car starts stalking me because they want whatever spot I will be giving up. I have to play all kinds of head games to get them to move on.

    1. Also, "Sinkhole monster eats cars! ...Actually that was an attention-getting lie, an only kind of deep sinkhole shifted some cars, kind of dangerous but not really." Ha.