1. About a year ago, I came home from shopping one morning to find out that someone had parked their car in my drive.
As you can possibly tell from the picture, my drive is directly in front of my house. There’s no grey area about who this space belongs to.
I was incensed about it. How does someone do that? Why would they do that? How could anybody be so brazen as to park directly on someone’s drive? I posted about it on Twitter and asked people what I should do.
Plenty of suggestions came in. Let the tyres down. Scratch a swastika onto their bonnet. Hide a dead body in the boot. They were all admirable ideas. But once I’d calmed down, I came up with something that appealed to me far more.
2. I couldn’t get something out of my head about this car.
It was so dirty. Not splattered in mud, red shells and body parts dirty, just grubby. I’m no neat freak, but I couldn’t let this go.
I wasn’t as wound up any more. I’d probably told a friend they could park there for an exam and I’d forgotten about it. A few days earlier I’d handed in my final piece of work for uni and it was a halcyon Summer day that I should really take advantage of. I had absolutely nothing to do that morning so I thought I’d just go with my gut feeling.
3. I lathered up a soapy fist and got to work!
Yeah, I thought I’d just wash the car. Getting those stains out would satisfy me far more than plain violence. It’s also a lot less likely that I’d get put in jail for it too, nothing scares me more than getting in trouble with the police (or my Mother).
4. Shine motherfu-car!
Yeah, that’s right stranger! You got one clean car now boy-o, that’s gonna make you re-think your selfish parking practices.
Welcome to Surrey!
5. Job (sort of) done!
30 minutes later and that thing is beaming! I probably spent more time washing that car than I’ve ever spent on my own. While it was drying, I quickly fired up my printer to let them know what was down.
6. So I wrote them the most passive-aggressive note of my life.
I didn’t really intend for it to be so achingly Ned Flanders-y, but that’s how it came out. I didn’t really think too much about it at the time. Just banged it out and stuck it on their windscreen.
I know what you might be thinking, what a wet. This is the Internet, we make loud claims of heroic deeds with bold statements and Freddie Mercury memes. But whatever, I felt like doing something good. It’s not really cool to say that, yet after I’d calmed down I really didn’t feel any animosity towards whoever this person was. It was a sucky thing to do, but I figured there was probably a good reason.
7. The aftermath…
So, what happened afterwards?
Firstly, I went out to pick strawberries with my partner, child and sister (three different people). I’d stuck all of this up on Twitter as I went along, while I was out a friend stuck the picture of the note up on Reddit and it ended up front paging.
Everyone thought I was Canadian (I’m from Woking, UK… but went wild and moved to Guildford when I was 19) and a load of the comments were “OH YEAH, I WOULD’VE CUT THEIR BRAKE CABLES AND CRAPPED ON THEIR ROOF!” Calm down, no you wouldn’t. See what I meant earlier about bold Internet posturing?
Not meaning to sound overly Hipster, but the fact that everyone said I should’ve violently defaced the car is partly why I felt like doing the opposite. I also want everyone to be nicer to each other. As much of a pushover thing to do as it was, it felt great and I’d recommend it to anyone. Like giving to charity for free, albeit a charity that may not have deserved it…
Anyway, when I was out the next day my girlfriend bumped into my neighbour (who wasn’t in when I tried to find out whose car it was). Turns out the car was their friend’s who was visiting. He’d got the wrong house by mistake and was incredibly apologetic about the whole thing. My girlfriend actually felt a bit bad and removed the note, so this dude had the most famous parking job on the planet for a day and has no idea about it.
Imagine I had vandalised that dudes car though. I could’ve acted tough on the Internet for an afternoon, then had to explain to some poor bloke visiting a strange country that I’d ruined his vehicle just because he’d parked 6 feet too far to the right. BIG MAN.
An odd chain of events after this lead to me getting given a fun job offer. This wasn’t anywhere near my mind when I did this, but YAY Karma. See, be nice to other people and you’re ultimately being nice to yourself.