02 February 2009

"Although nothing seems right in cars" --Gary Numan

[Not the situation Friday night.]

We had a strange experience Friday night. I know. Strange in DC. That never happens. *rolls eyes*

A little stage setting:

We have company for the weekend and the four of us meet up with another two friends for dinner and a comedy show Friday night. The four of us have Metro'd in and walked the two blocks to the restaurant. It is maybe 20 degrees out, but luckily none of us notices how cold the temperature is because we're too busy freaking out over the wind chill which makes it feel like -75 degrees.

We have a great meal (at Sonoma) and the six of us debate about how to get to the show. It is eight blocks away. We can walk the eight blocks in the howling wind. We can cab. We can walk the two blocks in the howling wind, get on the Metro, go one stop, get off the Metro and walk another two blocks in the howling wind. Or we can cram into the car of our friends, who drove to the restaurant.

Decision made. We will squeeze into Friend's car. We walk the block and a half to Friend's car and here's where it gets weird.

Friend has done a miraculous parallel parking job in a very tight space, despite the fact that his car is a compact but the space is more Smart Car sized. I notice that the car behind his has about three feet of room behind it.

There is a couple, standing on the sidewalk looking at Friend's car. Let's give them a random name so you can keep the players straight. How about: Mr. & Mrs. Ass.

Mr. Ass is just staring at Friend's car. Mrs. Ass is holding a newspaper, pretending to read it, in the howling wind. Yeah, not too strange. She continues this behavior through 99% of the encounter. Did I mention that it feels like -75 out?

The conversation goes something like this...

Mr. Ass: That's your car.

Friend: Yes. Is that your car? *pointing to the car behind his*

Mr. Ass: Yes, the one you hit.

At this point, we all stop and look at the two car's mingle point. Where it is true that Friend has his back bumper kissing the license plate of Mr. Ass' car, both cars appear to be perfectly intact. Not a ding, not a dimple, not a scratch.

Several of us: It doesn't look like it./Where?/No, I don't think so.

Mr. Ass, in a quiet but angry voice: He hit my car.

Me: They're very close but, actually, I can see a sliver of light between his bumper and your plate.

Mr. Ass: He's probably going to hit it again.

One of us: Are you leaving? Looks like you have a lot of room to back up.

(No response.)

Friend gets into his car to start to remove it from the very tight space.

Friend continues to maneuver a few inches up and back and gently touches Mr. Ass' bumper again.

Mr. Ass: He hit my car again!

Me, indicating Mr. Ass' car: Woudn't it be easier if this car was just backed up a few feet?

(No response.)

Me: It just seems logical...

(No response.)

Friend gets the car out of the space in under a minute and we all hop in and take off. At this point, Mrs. Ass lowers the paper and follows us a few steps into the street. I wonder briefly if she is checking for Friend's license plate number. Not sure what she'd do with it as there was no damage to either vehicle. Maybe she was hoping we'd take her with us.

So, WTF?

Friend was maneuvering at a very slow speed. He never damaged his or Mr. Ass' car. Friend did tap Mr. Ass' car at maybe 3 miles per hour. Isn't that exactly what bumpers are made for? Isn't that why they call them bumpers?!

Could this man have been any more difficult? And it wasn't like Mr. Ass was driving a mint condition Rolls Royce. It was a very average looking car. So, again, I gotta go with: WTF?


Kate said...

I think this is why I continue to hide in the midwest. I can't handle people like that.

Mike said...

When you get into the 'you touched my car' territory there's no telling what kind of reaction you will get.

Narm said...

The correct response would be to pick him up and break him over your knee.

Liebchen said...

That *is* what bumpers are for. I can't believe they just stood outside and waited for you guys to come back out. A little excessive, for sure.

*Jac* said...

Geez.. that's why I refuse to drive in DC. People here are weird.

Bilbo said...

I've met Mr and Mrs Ass before. They do get around.

Herb of DC said...

I've seen this scenario played out a few times in DC. Really people don't drive into DC and parallel park if your bumpers can't handle a little DC lovin'.

f.B said...

you were definitely right. but i would've just backed away slowly. confrontations are great, except when people seem crazy because then they're unpredictable. and these people seemed crazy. a newspaper? in 20mph wind gusts? selective silence? crazy.

LiLu said...

Um, yeah... that's WHY cars have bumpers, no?

I guess I can understand why he was so annoyed... I don't like my Cheerios pissed in either.

Fearless in Toronto said...

As a former Mrs. Ass, yes, she was looking for an escape route.

Jamie said...

Definitely, should have been settled with rock paper scissors. Rock for the windshield, scissors for the seats, and toilet paper for giftwrapping.

Barbara said...

Some people really get off on being asses. If this ass had really been concerned about his car, he would gladly have backed up.

I'm hungry for a meal at Sonoma.

jennannej said...

I've met people like this in parking situations. Ridiculous.

Kristin said...

I've seen people hit cars, leave dents and pop hoods and then drive away. What's a bumper tap?!

emma said...

Mr. Ass clearly just got laid off and Mrs. Ass just lost 40% of the portfolio that is supporting her botox habit, so they are looking for a new source of income.

Bravo to your friend for his A+ parking job.

Gilahi said...

I think Mr. Ass was a little dismayed that there were 6 of us, including an ex-Marine. If it had been just one or two people, it might have played out quite differently. I think our friend, the driver, showed amazing restraint when he said he just wasn't going to engage the guy at all. Never even acknowledged his existence. He just got the car out of the space and we drove away.

Alex said...

Mr. Ass sounds like the type who'd come up with some imaginary damages just to make everyone's life difficult.

This reminds me of another type of Mr. Ass though -- the type that drive SUVs with bumpers way higher than anybody elses car. Those cars really do leave damage with just a tap, since they hit above the bumper, and such folks never leave a note.

lacochran said...

Kate: It does seem excessive.

Mike: True. Are you thinking he was right? Or merely within an expected realm of possibility?

Narm: Guess I'm not tough enough.

Liebchen: I hope they got good and cold waiting.

*Jac*: Some certainly are.

Bilbo: They follow you, too?

Herb of DC: Indeed.

f.B: You're right. I should have just shut up. But I'm prone to foot in mouth disease.

LiLu: I would never piss in your Cheerios. But your bumper? I might tap it. (Why does everything sound dirty?)

Fearless in Toronto: :) The key word there is "former".

Jamie: Ha!

Barbara: That's what I was thinking. And I do recommend Sonoma when you can get around better.

Jennannej: Yeah!

Kristin: Nothing, that's what.

Emma: You may be more right than you know.

Gilahi: I could learn a lot from Friend.

Alex: I am glad the SUV trend is in decline. I've never driven one and always feel dwarfed in a sea of behemoths.

zandria said...

Some people are such sad excuses for individuals that they enjoy making other people's lives miserable, too.

lacochran said...

Zandria: Sad, indeed.

FoggyDew said...

I would have mocked them. Harshly, but non-confrontationally. Anyone who shows their ass like that deserves to have it verbally handed back to them.

lacochran said...

FoggyDew: Wish you'd been there! FWIW, he did look completely flummoxed and damn near apoplectic by the end.