Last night, I witnessed a momentous event. The President of our Homeowners’ Association vowed at last to take action against the selfish residents who park their cars overnight on our neighborhood streets. He seemed utterly serious too, if a tad draconian in his intended measures. Though I tried to tell him he lacks the authority to impound offending vehicles, assess $10,000 fines for a first offense, and perform a citizen’s arrest of violating homeowners, in the heat of the moment I doubt he heard me.
The roads in our development are narrow. Only without any parked automobiles can they accommodate two vehicles passing in opposite directions. When some idiot occasionally places a car directly across from another, the gap between them barely allows passage of a lone smaller sedan, like mine. I find myself negotiating those narrow avenues the same way a kid plays Operation: holding my breath and praying for a steady hand that won’t tap either side with the tweezers. I couldn’t imagine trying to squeeze through with a larger vehicle, such as an oversized SUV or, God forbid, a Hummer.
Obviously, the parking problem represents a substantial danger to our community. Those of us who don’t leave our vehicles on the street have repeatedly complained to the Homeowners’ Association, and to its President, whom I’ll refer to as “Steve Robinson.” Until last night, President Robinson merely paid lip service to those complaints. Sure, he promised to “do something” about the situation; yet he dragged his feet on implementing a violation program, perhaps because his best friend has become one of the worst offenders.
Last night, Mr. President joined Jimmy, Ron and me for a poker game at Jimmy’s. Steve had just congratulated himself on winning his first pot of the evening when we heard the crash. As we learned after stepping outside to investigate, a woman driving a Hummer had attempted, and failed, to negotiate the narrow gap between a pickup truck and an SUV parked across from each other in front of Jimmy’s house. The monstrous Hummer had sheared off the driver’s side mirrors, as well as substantial swaths of paint and carriage material from both flanking vehicles.
Most everyone witnessing the aftermath agreed, the owner of the pickup truck got exactly what he deserved for parking in that same spot every night. Some, but not all, observers also felt the idiot who temporarily parked his SUV directly across from the pickup received his just desserts too – with the principal exception being the SUV’s owner … President Robinson.