Recently, Neighbor R found this note on the windshield:
Dear neighbor, it has been a tradition on our block in Bernal for over 30 years, that homeowners were granted the courtesy of parking in front of their homes. Obviously, these are city streets, but it would be very thoughtful of you to abide by this. I often have large and heavy things to load and unload. Your neighbor, XXX
Neighbor R shared a photo of the note without comment (and Bernalwood blurred out the original note-writer’s name in the image above).
But what did neighbor R make of the request? When pressed by Bernalwood to register an opinion, Neighbor R had this to say:
My natural reaction was actually some level of empathy. There are indeed a lot of “unspoken” parking rules in Bernal, and some of them are sensible (and most of them are actually just the law – like the 72 hour rule), so I can totally imagine someone writing a note if they were parked in “my” spot in front of my house for over 3 days (in fact, I have! I don’t tow).
But we had been parked for 3 hours at the point of receiving this note, and that makes the person seem grossly entitled. If you’re someone with a special circumstance (older, disabled, etc) I can imagine asking the nice favor of people trying to give you “your” spot, but I’d probably first post a sign rather than just leaving passive aggressive notes on cars.
To be fair, this is the absolute nicest, most well-meaning passive-aggressive note I’ve seen. The only implication of entitlement is the need to carry “heavy things” frequently (which raises a lot of questions anyway) but moreover it’s the fact of writing the note itself that reeks of entitlement. I have small kids and I am definitely ANNOYED when I don’t get “my” spot and have to haul them back and forth a block to the car, but that’s a far cry from me actually acting out based on that feeling.
Maybe it’s just another symptom of the “gentrification” debate — people who got used to things being a certain way and feel wronged now that things are changing. I get that. I can empathize with almost any feeling that people have, but actions are a totally different story. I just wish that this person understood that receiving a note like this, no matter how much I know I wasn’t in the “wrong” to park in a 100% public street parking space, makes me feel unwelcome and on edge.
And with that, the stage is set. Let the dialectics begin!
Where does neighborliness end, and where does tradition begin? (And vice-versa.)
Is this a classic case of Baby Boomer entitlement syndrome? Or is is emblematic of heedless newcomer narcissism?
It this a quintessential statement of our times? Or is it just a Rorschach Test for your own experience of the present moment?
So many angles to discuss. So many avenues to explore.
PHOTO: Neighbor R