My neighbor across the street never, ever parks in his driveway. Neither does his wife. Instead, they park on the street. By the way, my neighbor drives a huge work van. His wife drives a some sort of American sedan.
In the month that I’ve been living at the new place I have never seen my neighbors even pull into the driveway to turn around. Every morning I leave before he leaves. I have yet to see him leave before me.
Why am I telling you this…? don’t worry… I’ll fill you in.
It was raining last night, and I arrived home before Liz. I usually park on the street, but there was no nearby place to park on the street so I pulled into my driveway. Liz pulled in behind me when she got home. Our driveway barely fits both cars… with one car blocking the sidewalk. Oh well… no big deal.
This morning Liz and I went to workout. We took her car because it was the one at the end of the driveway. We got back home around 7:45. Since I usually leave before Liz we pulled my car out and parked in front of the neighbors house across the street. Unfortunately, his van takes up most of the space there and the tail end of my car partially blocked his driveway.
At any rate, I start my usually pre-work routine of cereal eating, e-mail checking, and showering. While in the shower, Liz informs me that the neighbor called the landlords to tell them that he was going to have my car towed. The neighbor was very angered that I would park in front of his driveway.
Well I got dressed and set out for work and the inevitable confrontation with the neighbor…
A craggy faced, salt and pepper bearded gentlemen in shorts and a t-shirt carrying gardening equipment says to me… “Never do that again!”. I explain that the parking arrangement was temporary… it certainly wasn’t something I planned to do regularly. At which point he decided to raise the stakes, “This is my house. I live here. You just rent. You can’t park in front of people’s driveways!”
He continued with… “You’re costing me money! I have to move my trailer out to go to work.” Mind you, I have never seen the trailer nor have I ever seen the man leave before me. I soldiered on with, “You’ve never used your driveway before. Let’s calm down.”
I tried to diffuse the situation, but he continued ranting at me, “If you ever do it again, I won’t even call… I’ll just have you towed.” I was really tempted to go at it with the guy. I have to admit that I very nearly lost it at this point, but no… I continued with my line of thinking that it was only temporary and that I had never once seen him leave before me. That one, unfortunately, seemed to really get his goat. He responded with, “I’ve been living here for 18 years. Have you? You just rent! How the hell would you know what I do?”
That’s when he turned around and started walking away. I waved, smiled, and said “Have a wonderful day.” I had to think calming thoughts on the way to work or I would have road raged myself into a fire hydrant.
As you can see the old guy most likely didn’t need to use his driveway this morning. He was just upset over a couple of things…
1. He’s very protective of his property and by extension the airspace in front of his driveway.
2. He doesn’t like the fact that new people… renters, in fact… have moved in across the street.
…while I’m sure there are other reasons for him being angry, I don’t necessarily wish to delve into the mind of someone that is teetering on the brink of sanity.
OK… now that you’ve heard the story… what’s your response. Did I act completely inappropriately by blocking his driveway for about 45 minutes this morning? Now that there is this animosity with my neighbor, how should I deal with future encounters with him? What would you do in my situation? If you are the type of person that retaliates, how would you do so?