Well, it would be unfair to say that the Christmas spirit has fully made its way to Ancaster.
While shopping yesterday, my wife and I pulled in to the parking lot of our local Futureshop. It was a bright and sunny morning; the air was crisp and the sky was clear. We took a moment to look lovingly into each other’s eyes and started to get out of the car.
At that second, however, a blue Chevy van (the kind of vast, over-compensatory behemoth that insecure little men buy to shore up their non-existent sense of self-worth) rolled up into the spot next to us and blockaded my wife into the car. It was parked so closely that she couldn’t even get the door open wide enough to slide out, and my wife is slender lady (although now there is 4 months of baby growth that makes the manoeuvre a touch trickier).
We both laughed a little at the absurdity of it, and my wife even cracked open the door to say (still laughing) that she didn’t think she could get out of the car with him parked so closely.
A grizzled old man with Brylcreemed hair and the kind of large onyx ring that made you look dead sexy in the 1960s snapped back at her, “Well I can get out. No problem.” And he started to open the door.
My wife quickly shut her door, and the grizzled man proceeded to open his door into our car, wiggle his way awkwardly to the ground, and triumphantly sneer at us through the window. “You can move your car somewhere else!” he yelled in at us.
Yes, I could have just left it there. I could have simply moved the car, gone somewhere else, been the bigger man, laughed it off. A better man would have done that. There was no real harm done by this old coot. He was rude and obnoxious, but most people are these days.
But there is a part of me that thinks that sometimes people need a swift cuff to the side of the head.
I popped out of the car (my side had not been barricaded by any crotchety old dirtbags) and said, “Hey, you just hit my car with your door.”
Okay, so it wasn’t the punchiest line I have ever delivered, but I wasn’t really looking to pick a fight.
“I never touched your car,” the old man snapped back at me (since he thought, I suppose, that my wife and I were easily suggestible and would immediately forget the noise of his door hitting our car). “You parked too close to the line.”
I looked down to see that we were, in fact, completely centered in the space. “We parked here first,” I told him. “You blocked my wife into my car when you pulled in.” I shut my door and started to walk around the car to look for damage.
I think that Creepy Earl (which is what I named him in my head, since I associate the name with the kind of narrow-minded, entitled, probably racist attitudes that I’m sure that man carried about (sorry to any Earls out there)) thought I was looking for a fight, since he scrambled out from the 3-inch space between our cars in a damn hurry, clothes-lining himself on his own side mirror in an attempt to put my car between us. He hustled away, yelling, “You should learn how to park!”
I yelled back that I would be checking for damage on my car.
And then a strange thing happened:
Creepy Earl stepped toward me with his fist raised in the air.
I’m over 6 feet tall, and when I have a jacket on you can’t really tell that I only weigh 155 pounds (carnies usually guess that I am about 180). My back seat is filled with martial arts equipment. I don’t look any older than my 28 years.
Creepy Earl was at least 70, maybe 5 foot 5, and looked like he was made out of no more than 5 wire clothes hangers strung together.
If the gesture was meant to intimidate me, it didn’t exactly work. And then he made it worse by making this noise as he shook his fist:
It sounded kind of like the noise you get when you rev the engine on a Hyundai Accent.
So I laughed at him.
Creepy Earl told me to “$%^& off” and “go $%^& myself” and something else involving “$%^&ing,” then quickly turned and hurried off toward the Futureshop.
“Yeah, keep walking, tough guy,” I hollered at him. (I couldn’t help it.)
He turned and raised his fist again (“Hnnnngngngnggggnggguhhhnhgg!”), but the fact that he was walking backwards at a faster and faster rate made it even funnier, so I laughed and yelled it again:
“Okay, tough guy. I’m scared now. You just keep walking away.”
“Oh,” he said angrily, gnarled fist waving in the air, “I fully intend to!”
On later discussion with my wife, we could not figure out if that was meant to be a threat or not. He certainly said it with a menacing tone of voice. As in, “I will walk away from you so fast you’ll wish you were dead!” or “I’ll show you to park legally and respectfully in a clearly marked public space. Hnnnngngngnggggnggguhhhnhgg! Watch me leave in a hurry!”
We actually did just end up leaving and going to another store, once Creepy Early was safely inside so he couldn’t threaten me by fast-walking in the opposite direction anymore. We figured it wasn’t worth the bother of having him hit our car door again, or having him make that noise.
Hnnnngngngngnunnnungnggggnggguhhhnhgg, Creepy Earl. Hnnnngngngngnunnnungnggggnggguhhhnhgg and a Happy New Year.