Space Rage

Just when I thought things had settled down at our apartment block, I’ve found myself in a Cold War over parking with Slovenly Sonia, the lazy new tenant at Apartment 8.

There’s an unofficial parking space by the side of our apartment and while it’s always been offered up on a ‘first come, first served basis’ the husband and I have been getting first dibs on it for the last few years (bar the occasional wrangle with Belligerent Bill from Apt 2).

We parked there so often, in fact, that we had begun to think of it as our own private parking spot.

This was before Sonia and her cream Mini arrived. She descended on our apartments a couple of months ago and now hogs the space ALL of the time. This is largely because a. she doesn’t appear to ever be at work and b. she never seems to leave her apartment.

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Another resident apparently asked Sonia if she could please park in her allocated spot down the hill and leave the spare spaces for those who had two cars. Slovenly Son refused, muttering something about the car park ‘being a mess’.

After a few weeks of seeing her cream Mini parked there, I began to get rather resentful. Sometimes, when I walked past, I had an irrational urge to kick the car – or in wilder moments I imagined beating it with a tree branch (a la mad Basil Fawlty in the opening episode of Fawlty Towers).


Then one evening, on sighting the cream Mini smugly nestled in its usual spot, I decided enough was enough.

I grabbed a Post-it note, scribbled, ‘Why can’t you just park in your own space and stop hogging this one?’, hared back out and slapped it on her windscreen.

The next day there was an ‘all residents’ email from Sonia herself.

‘Hi, whoever put the post it note on my car … Could you have the decency to contact me direct …. Tenant or owner we all have the same rights ….the space is directly at the side of my apartment and it is an unallocated space and I was informed it is whoever gets there first? If I am in that spot and my space is empty I don’t have a problem with anyone parking in my spot… But I have plantar fascititus so find it easier on my foot to park at the top.

Thank you and kind regard.’

Plantar fascitius?? I hastily Googled this condition and discovered that it’s basically a sore foot usually suffered by people who wear poorly-fitting shoes or lead a sedentary lifestyle.

‘Sounds about right,’ I huffed to the husband.

Plantar fascitius is quite similar to Policeman’s Heel, which I rather like the sound of (the name, not the condition).

Later that week, I actually saw slipshod Sonia heading out on foot. I gave her a cheery wave: the kind of cheery neighbourly wave that I hoped said, ‘Hello friendly neighbour; it wasn’t me that put a passive aggressive Post-It note on your window!’.

It didn’t escape my notice that she was wearing a pair of high heels and appeared to be clopping along at ease. Surely a true plantar fascititus sufferer should be in a sensible pair of Clarks brogues? Policeman’s Heel, my ass!

The next day, I returned home to find the much-maligned space vacant and cream Mini nowhere to be seen.

I was then caught in a dilemma. Do I make the most of Slovenly Sonia’s absence and snap the space up while I can? Or, in taking the space, am I effectively advertising, ‘I’m the person who put the Post-It note on your car. I’m the friendly neighbour who’s not so friendly after all!’

I spent so long dilly-dallying that wranglesome Sonia arrived home and zoomed straight in. I’d lost out again!

A week has now passed since the Post-It note and I’m determined to reclaim the space. It’s simply a matter of lying in wait for her next trip out.

Once I’ve secured the spot, it’s going to be difficult to give it up again. I might have to leave my car in situ and take public transport for a few days.

‘You can spout all the fancy foot conditions you like at me, Sonia,’ I thought, grimly.

But one thing’s for sure, I’m going to reclaim that space. I’m in this for the long run.

Belligerent Bill… and his Crocodile Smile

An encounter with Belligerent Bill this week – my first since the angry email I sent, lambasting his hypocritical, self-imposed parking rules.

He was polishing his car in the visitor space that I often use and – astonishingly – actually waved chummily to me as I drove past.

Avoiding eye contact, I parked up and scuttled sheepishly to the door.

‘Katy!’ he called cheerily, clutching his chamois leather. ‘You can park back here if you want. I’ll move my car for you.’

‘It’s okay…’ I said. ‘I’m going back out shortly…’

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Move his car for me? Really? This seemed extraordinary behaviour coming from the meanest, most selfish man on the planet to whom my last words were, ‘Please don’t bother me with any more of your silly messages and practice what you preach…

I smell a rat.

He probably wants to lure me back in with his crocodile smiles before smothering my front door in 100 ‘NEVER PARK HERE’ Post-It notes.

Well… Bill, my friend, two can play at that game.

Belligerent Bill

After locking horns with SuDick and my weary battles with Greenclaws, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I’ve entered a cold war with another of my tiresome neighbours; I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m the problem.

Bill from Apartment 2 is one of those ‘I’m-alright-Jack’ characters, who is perfectly pleasant when you bump onto him in the corridors but underneath his friendly facade, lurks a selfish and mean-spirited man.

Bill and I were muddling along quite well (with a neighbourly wave here and there) until one evening the husband accidentally parked in Bill’s parking spot rather than our own (if you knew The Husband and his acute absent-mindedness, this is a perfectly plausible mistake).

The next morning we found a note on our car saying: ‘NEVER PARK HERE AGAIN’. I was a bit taken aback. The mask of friendly Bill had slipped.

Outside our apartments, there is an unofficial parking bay which people occasionally use if they’re too lazy to park in the proper car park down the hill. Bill, in particularly, was a regular user. However, at a recent residents’ meeting we collectively agreed that we shouldn’t park there as it was causing an obstruction to others.

Initially, Bill took this new rule very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that if anyone ever parked in that spot, he would leave one of his NEVER PARK HERE notes on the offending vehicle. Like SuDick, he was another retiree with too much time on his hands (and a seemingly never-ending supply of post-it notes).

A month or two elapsed – until, to my amazement, Bill started parking back in the very spot himself. I couldn’t believe it. Talk about double standards.

It was time for some payback.

Spotting his car there one morning, I scampered rapidly back into our apartment, grabbed a post-it note of my own and wrote: DO NOT PARK HERE.

‘Ha ha! A taste of your own medicine, Bill,’ I thought, as I gleefully slapped it on his windscreen, before heading down the hill to clamber in my own legally-parked vehicle.

However, as I drove back up from the car park… Oh no! Bill was there – standing by his car and brandishing my note, a look of pure rage etched upon his ruddy face. I attempted to maintain an air of superior indifference as I beetled past. But we both knew I had been caught red-handed.

I thought nothing else of the incident until I returned home that night and found my post-it note back slapped on my front door for all to see, with a new message scrawled on the bottom.



The cheeky swine. I was furious. And in my fury, hastily bashed out the following email:

Dear Bill,

I’m assuming it was you who left a post-it note on my front door today stating: ‘Get your facts right’ regarding your obstructive parking on the driveway this morning.
I’m not sure what facts I need to ‘get right’. Did we not have a new rule not to park up against the side of the building, which we all agreed to adhere to at the last residents’ meeting? In fact, I have noted other occasions when your car has been parked there in the last fortnight.
What is even more baffling is that you regularly leave ‘Do not park here’ notes to other drivers parked in that very same spot. I’ve seen you attaching them, in fact, in little clear plastic sandwich bags tied onto the driver’s door handle.
This to me, seems to be the ultimate act of hypocrisy; clearly one rule for you and a different rule for everyone else.
Please don’t bother me with more silly messages. Perhaps you could just put into practice what you regularly preach.
Kind regards,
Apt 3

Seconds after hitting the ‘send’ button, I regretted it. It was a bit strong, I thought anxiously. Even The Husband (bcc’d in) was shocked by my venom.

I spent the next few weeks skulking down the corridor and tiptoeing to my car, hoping never to bump into angry Bill again.

Until one morning, I hopped in my car and was just plodding up the drive when the engine suddenly cut out. I just about managed to pull over. I turned the key. The engine coughed slightly and then nothing… I had broken down.

And worse still, I was now parked myself in the illegal parking space! Surely this could not be happening.

With a heavy heart, I had no choice but to abandon the car for the whole day, with a giant note pinned on the windscreen stating: CAR BROKEN DOWN. AWAITING RECOVERY.

I could just imagine Bill’s smug smile when he saw my sad, malfunctioning vehicle occupying the much-maligned spot – before being carted off to the garage.


Bill had won.

And he didn’t need a post-it note to tell me.