Pay it Forward

Someone left a note on my car windshield this morning that read:

Our neighborhood is stressed for parking already. It's unnecessary to take up two parking spaces.

I was confused. When I got home from work yesterday there was no one parked in front of my house. I simply pulled over to the curb, lined myself up with the sidewalk, and turned off the ignition. It's hard to gauge your parking when there are no other cars along the more than 200 meters of uninterrupted curb to measure against. There were no driveways or red spots to take into account. But, of course, I thought most people understood how parallel parking worked. People come and go throughout the day and it's tough to know if the guy who's taking up too much space was indeed being a total hog, or if maybe there was a mini cooper parked behind him previously. How can you know for sure? 

But that uncertainty didn't stop someone from putting me in my place. This person was not only angered by my perceived parking violation, he (I'm guessing male here) went home, got a sheet of paper, and made sure to give me a piece of his mind. 

Hah! That'll show him; that space-hogging jerk. 

I'm a pretty busy guy. I move fast. I think fast. I act fast. But I've learned over the years in these situations to slow down and let the little things go, especially when you're unsure of the facts. I've definitely unloaded on people in the past, thinking I was giving someone their just deserts, only to discover that I was completely wrong in my accusation. I was the one who ended up looking like the asshole in the end. Rarely, if ever, does venting your frustration in this manner ever solve or prove anything. We're living in an era where anger and dismay are given out not only too easily, but often incorrectly. Anonymity only encourages people to be more vocal. Online review sites today are practically useless because they're little more than soapboxes for the high and mighty. Comment boards are like war zones for the utterly insecure. 

There's no need to add on to the pile. Instead of pointing out the mistakes of others, do something nice for someone instead. Buy them a bottle of whisky or something. Pay it forward. I'm going to buy my neighbor some beer. 

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll