Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why Here?

"I'm finished," I said pushing dead branches into the green bin.
"It looks great," Mr. Wonderful said nodding his approval.
"Everything is trimmed, pruned and blooming."
"Very nice."
"Now when we look out the front door all we'll see are our beautiful plants--" 
Just then a stranger parked his car in front of our house.

It's not a crime. There's no way to control it but I'm putting out an APB: Hey Parkers, I didn't spend months killing my grass to replant it with native plants and succulents so random strangers could park their car--for days!--in from of my house thereby obstructing my gorgeous front garden view with your cars.

It was official. It had happened. I had become a grump... about cars. 

Don't get me wrong. I loved cars and living in Southern California where our roads are free of snow, ice, and salt & pepper the cars you can see are gorgeous specimens of the automobile species. Some are 25, 30, even 60 years old and outright classics.


There are Camaros in tip-top condition that make your head spin, pico bello Thunderbirds that make your heart soar and Mercedes SL 500s that make you weep with joy, appreciation and a pinch of envy. I love these cars and their thoughtful owners because they take care of their vehicles and everything around them.

But these are not the cars that park in front of my house. Oh, no! Instead I get a lot of modern BMWs whose owners smoke a pack of cigarettes and dump their butts on the street. I get Honda Accords operated by people who shouldn't operate a steering wheel because they're parked crooked and on my property. And I get the beaten up Toyotas with peeling paint and hanging mufflers that are parked in front of The House for days and days and daaaaays. 

I was a real grump... about cars.

Being passable at math I tallied the numbers and calculated that if every person in my neighborhood had one car they could park it in their driveways not the street. But oh no! This is America! Every person needs two or three cars. That's a 1:3 ratio! No wonder there were so many cars parked in front of my house!

I was a total grump... about cars!

After careful study worthy of a bi-partisan government commission's report, I noticed that the parking situation was especially bad on the weekends. Clearly the people in my neighborhood must go out an get lucky--a lot--because early on Saturday and Sundays mornings, the cars have multiplied and they are parked bumper to bumper in front of The House!

I was an absolute grump about cars!

"I don't see what the big deal is," my 86 year old neighbor said squinting in the sunshine. 
"Because Harold, I want to look at my garden, not their cars," I said brushing the windswept hair away from my face.
"I'd like people to park in front of my house but they rarely do."
"Because they're all parked in front my house!"
"You're lucky."

Lucky?! That isn't the word I'd use. But after reflection I guessed Harold wouldn't mind an extra car or two parked in front of his house because it would give him something to look at and contemplate in his retirement. After all, he was a member of the Neighborhood Watch, which meant he needed something in the neighborhood to watch. With nothing in front of his house, he was forced to watch the cars parked in front of The House that Mr. Wonderful and I shared. 

"Maybe Harold's right," Mr Wonderful said. "Maybe we should take it as a compliment that people want to park in front of our house."

Just then another stranger parked a car in front of our house. I rolled my eyes. 
"Here's we go again," I said. 

The woman locked her car, checked her parking job then turned to look at Harold, Mr. Wonderful and me in our driveway.
"What a pretty garden you have. I love it," she said smiling. "You don't mind if I park here?"
"Go ahead," I smiled back.

I was a total softie... about my garden.