Dear PoPville – More Passive Aggressive Notes

A reader sends the above photo from Sherman Ave, NW. It says:

“You are taking up 2 car spaces! Don’t be an Ass****! Learn how to park in this city – or don’t park here!”

I’m gonna be honest after regularly experiencing a similar situation where a car regularly takes up 2 spots, I can now better understand this frustration. Though, I don’t know if calling someone an ass**** is going to help correct their behavior.

Do you guys think leaving a note (a more polite one) will help change someone’s parking behavior?

78 Comment

  • One can only hope it will, but people in DC are pretty rude and thoughtless. It probably will not change someone’s behavior, however, it might have made the author feel better.

  • A polite note is acceptable, a note written like this is not.

    Anyone think the handwriting looks vaguely female? That’s probably stereotyping…

  • does this qualify as passive aggressive?

    • No. Ever since, the term is often used describe people who are confrontational in writing, but most likely cowardly in person. A better example of passive aggression would be the car owner continuing to park in this manner, despite knowing that it infuriates the note-writer.

      Next, we can discuss the fact that “ironically” and “facetiously” are not synonyms.

      • while I agree that a lot of people misuse the term, the website still works since leaving a note, no matter how aggressive, is still a very passive act as far as confrontations go

      • I think I love you Irving Green – can we also discuss how “sarcastic” is not the same as “witty?”

  • haha, this looks my neighbor’s car and while she is not usually one to take up both spaces, i have seen many other cars abuse these 2 particular parking spots. if she really was taking up both the spots, it was due to the parking insanity from howard’s homecoming. i saw many cars illegally parked in front of and in back of her on saturday- depending how other people parked before you, sometimes you can’t escape taking up the 2 spots. i feel like there should be lines there for “guidance” since some people don’t realize it’s meant to be 2 spots.

  • Given that both the VA inpection sticker and DC registration sticker on the windshield, perhaps they are still learning how to park in city.

    I will say most people on my block do pull all they way up to the car in front of them when parking. It is a pain when people don’t, and people should always park with space conservation in mind. This letter probably isn’t the best of learning aides though.

    • I don’t think that’s a VA inspection sticker, but definitely not DC.

      The thing in the corner is a DC residential parking permit.

      That’s awfully considerate of you to think a newcomer is still learning how to park. More likely, he/she has never had a scratch on their car so they’re leaving a buffer.

    • nah, I doubt they’re just “learning to park in the city”.

      When you purchase a car from a dealer in VA, it must pass inspection before you can leave the lot – hence the inspection sticker. And most people do not bother to peel the sticker off after it has been registered in the District.

  • Someone left a note like this on my jeep once, falsely accusing me of wrecking his bumper, calling me inconsiderate, something stronger than an a-hole, and so on.

    I in turn left a note on his car, explaining why it couldn’t have been me, left my full name, address, and two numbers at which I could be reached should he still consider me “inconsiderate” and wished to discuss it further. Shockingly I never heard from the note-leaver.

    Passive-aggressiveness like the note in the OP just irks the hell out of me. I get frusterated with the parking situation like anyone else, but leaving an anonomous pissy note isn’t going to do anything.

  • Yeah, I’m going to go with this being straight up aggressive. I think I’m in favor of it. But nothing about this strikes me as passive aggressive.

  • yeah you are right, I think this is not really passive is more aggressive aggressive (well, if he/she had said this in PERSON it would really be aggressive aggressive. A passive aggressive note might read: ” hey, hope you are having a good day, but maybe you aren’t and that is why you parked so poorly? I really don’t know everything about parking but if you wanted to..and you were free and it wouldn’t trouble you too much, I could really show you how it could be done perfectly. I mean, that is, if you are interested in improving yourself and being a good member of society..but if you are not, that’s cool! have a super day!!!!”

    I have had some experience with passive agressive people as you can see. 🙂

  • How is the note “Passive Aggressive”? And, I’m not sure that saying that one is acting like an ass, is the same as calling one an ass. I think the write was trying to convey the sentiment that, “deep down inside I know you’re better than an ass, so don’t act like one.”

    I HATE when others are inconsiderate, taking up 2 spots is just WRONG!!!!!!!!!

  • If the car is parallel parked on a street it is darn near impossible to tell who the guilty party is. The car that looks to be taking up two spots may actually have parked appropriately but with cars moving around appears later to be a parking hog.

    With all the gripes on PoP today – people need to breathe and relax. You share the world with 6.8 billion people – we all aren’t always going to get our own way all the time.

    To the writer of the note – I sure hope you are as prolific with your thank you notes as you are with gems like this note.

      • +1. happens all the time if you don’t drive regularly. I have been known to go out and move my car forward six inches and felt a little silly about it.

    • Exactly my thoughts. I parked reasonably on Thursday and left my car for the weekend. By this morning the space on either side had ballooned such that I was taking up nearly two spaces. It’s frustrating to see so much wasted space, but it was hardly my fault through anything but inaction.

      Short of marking every parking spot, I’m not sure this ‘problem’ will ever go away.

    • That’s the first thing I thought of – since Sherman is an all parallel parking street, I don’t think its even particularly possible to tell who parked poorly, let alone appropriate to write a note like that.

    • Unless you are parked closest to the sign and leave like 6 feet in front of you. Those violators are easily spotted. I think a polite note is ok.

    • Also, you are about to share it with 7 BILLION people. Supposed to hit that mark at the end of the month by some estimates.

    • jburka

      Unless the car is in an end spot…and I see that _constantly_ in front of my house. Drives me nuts.

    • Thank you for a breath of intelligence on what is largely a very, very stupid thread of comments. It’s parallel parking, not a goddamned Rite Aid parking lot in Manassass.

      Jesus, the stupid. It burns.

  • write = writer

  • Its completely plausible that this individual parked just fine and that the people before and after him either did not at the time that the letter writer wrote the letter or the parker parked the car.

    With so many self-important city drivers here, I am surprised people dont realize that many times abnormally large spaces before and after cars happen naturally.

    Also, with my experience with the type of person who would write such an obnoxious note, they lack the basic critical thinking skills in order to properly assess what is 1 space and what is 2. Just because you can fit your vespa in it, does not make it a whole parking spot.

  • notlawd

    The note writer needs to find better things to do with their time. As mentioned earlier, its extremely likely that the person parked before them was the one that parked incorrectly and set of a chain reaction of double parkings. Maybe the letter writer has been watching too much Curb Your Enthusiam. Or not enough.

  • Ive been in the DMC area since 96′ and have always said these people don’t know how to drive. I LOVE this… I’m wondering if the person who wrote the note is from the North East? Parking is more serious up there. Maybe go without the name calling though. The only thing is we don’t know if the person who was parking in front/behind this car moved, thus making this person look like they are taking up 2 spots. BUT if this person was say 4-7ft from a opening or clearly could of parked closer to the signs, then they should get a ticket/note. $50 ticket for poor parking!

    In Boston you can and will get your windows smashed if you park like a jerk or God forbid you take someones parking spot after they remove 100lbs of snow. I always tell my wife to park as close to the cirb and edges to allow for another car to fit. All you need is 1ft 2 the most from the car in front/behind you to get out. Anything else is exess, learn to PARK!

    But who aim I kidding, this is DC, home of the drivers who call the rotary a “traffic circle” and don’t know what the difference between stopping and merge/yeild. Here is a note to the drivers here, you DONT STOP AT A ROTARY…. you DONT SLOW DOWN to get onto the Beltway! Thank God I got rid of my car and just do Metro now lol…

  • Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what they mean by “you’re taking 2 spaces”. If it’s parallel parking, I don’t think there’s any such thing. As other readers have noted, a perfectly fine parallel parks job can turn into a “poor” one simply by other cars coming and going.

  • Eh, this would work on me. A note like this would make me feel super bad and never park like that again. In fact, I’d then avoid that parking space out of embarrassment.

    HOWEVER, for that reason, I don’t park like that to begin with. So I doubt this type of note really makes much of a difference to someone who doesn’t care in the first place.

  • Always a touchy subject. While it’s true that, mid-block, it’s impossible to tell if the “apparently guilty” car (taking up “two spots”) was actually the original offender. BUT, closer to the ends of the parking boundary, you should pull all the way to the end (or beginning, for you nit-pickers!) of the boundary… whether it’s a sign/fire hydrant area/painted line.

    IF you park and leave 1/2 space (6-7 feet, lets say) “open” on the side of the boundary, then you deserve a note. In shorter parking areas, doing this can easily mean the difference between being able to park 4 normal (or 5 small – smarts, etc) versus 3 cars (usually + one or two blatantly illegal cars)

    I think this is true 90% of the time…. sure, you can claim there was a motorcycle at the end, or a REALLY short car, or a really-illegally parked car/van/surfboard/atv when you got there, but 90% of the time, you just weren’t doing it right.

    Unless I’m wrong. Am I wrong?

    (p.s. I left a note on a car one night for Hyundai Sonata that was parked this way.. said “So Not A good parking job”)

    • Your PS made me laugh–whenever my kid doesn’t like something I did, I get a “That was not a great job, mama.”

      Anyway, I totally agree with the rest of your post. And when we lived in Adams Morgan, it made me wish I could invent a moving walkway type of installation for the street that would automatically consolidate parking places when that one guy who parked all wrong is taking up two spaces.

      • No damn child should ever be chastising any mama. Will you parents please just start some slapping up-side the head?

        Not “please honey, that isn’t nice” but – “No. Don’t do that.” or “Did you hear me? No.”

        The answer is “No!” Use it.

  • I’m going to assume that this is one of those situations where the car is habitually parked with half a car’s worth of space on either side because the owner doesn’t want it getting damaged. It’s doubtful that a fellow driver would write a note because of a configuration that could have accidentally occured when the adjacent cars moved– we’ve all had that happen to us before.

    I like this note because it’s straightforward and not trying to be funny or clever like that one about the crackheads a few months ago.

  • I thought PoPhaus was a car-free household, wonder if he even still has parking concerns at all?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Hahaha – you guys have good memories. I did sell my car a couple years ago. However, since that time I’ve gotten married and my wife has a car.

  • I once had someone leave a note on my car accusing me of taking up two spots and then went into a tirade about how she went to the same school as me (window sticker gave it away) and she was embarrassed that someone like me could graduate from her alma mater. Seriously?! Because you didn’t like the way I parallel parked in Adams Morgan!?!? That embarrasses you and you school?

    I hate bad park jobs as much as anyone else, but I don’t see a need for notes. Drive around the block, find another spot, then go in and bitch to your husband/wife/bf/gf/roommate about the stupid people in DC like the rest of us do!

  • I find the starring out of “ass****” questionable. Granted, it’s absolutely PoP’s prerogative to decide whether and which words should be exed out on his blog. That being said, it’s not “hole” that makes asshole a swear word. While “ass” on it’s own is still a curse, “hole” is not. So, by starring out “ass****,” we’re left with an equally (potentially) offensive word.

  • The PoP crowd seems particularly cranky today. Wat up?

  • Hate to be the voice of reason here, but sometimes it is not the person who you left the note for’s fault. Parking in the District has a dominoe affect and everyone is trying to squeeze SUVs into space made for smart cars. So the person you are leaving the note for may have taken the only available spot between two already parked cars, but when those cars leave and others park around them, they look like they are taking up too many spaces.

    I wish people would just have civility all around – in parking and on blogs. Assume innocence. Don’t assume that people are out to get you or use you. You will have a less stressful life if you are not full of anger and resentment all the time.

  • Just want to add that even cars that appear 3-6 feet behind or ahead of the “boundary” may be there because 2-3 motorcycles were parked perpendicular to the curb and have since left, or perhaps a Smart was there. It is never ok to assume the driver is inconsiderate or a jerk unless you see him/her park deliberately incorrectly.

    • Exactly. And the one time I actually saw somebody parking in the middle of two spaces, I asked them (politely) to pull forward and leave space for another car, and they happily complied. Please stop assuming the worst, sometimes people are just busy with their day and forget the little considerations.

  • DCers are whiners. I can appreciate the taking space issue, but perhaps, the space wasn’t so piggish when they parked. The note writer is a dumbshit and deserves to spend 45 minutes cruising around for parking (which I experienced more than once when I still had a car).

  • What good does leaving an note do? It’s not going to magically make the parkign situation better; the writer needs to learn other ways to relieve the stress of modern urban life. And anyhow, the parker has ‘learned to park in the city’ – by getting there first!

  • I think it would have been far more effective if the notewriter had referred to the alleged spacehogger as a “cracker a–hole.”

  • As I read this, I imagine a voice that could only sound like someone pinching their nose and talking.

    Try saying “Hate to be the voice of reason here” any other way – doesn’t sound right 😉

  • oops.. The 3:54 was intended as a reply to DC Mom

  • Someone once wrote on my window in lipstick: “Nice parking, asshole!”

    Anyway, who cares! There are angry people everywhere looking for an outlet.

  • Maybe all you people with parking problems should just crack open your wallets and pay for a parking space. Just saying.

  • I have a new neighbor who parallel parks his motorcycle. He needs a note!

    • saf

      That’s the law in DC. Unless you are in a marked motorcycle space, you are supposed to park parallel.

      (I won’t. It’s unsafe. I’ve gotten tickets for it though.)

  • Only time I left a note was when I was blocked in by a guy who was illegally parked, while I was at a meter and he was blocking traffic. We waited patiently for 15 minutes. Called 311 and was told we would have to call 911 to get him ticketed, and we thought the cops had better things to do. After spending 10 minutes having someone else try to help me back out of the effing spot that involved me going fully up on the curb and almost taking out the parking meter, the guy was lucky I only left a note and not a present in his open window.

  • I have a feeling this is one of the many issues that makes you want to move out of DC. I don’t have this problems since I only own a bike.

    • You would move out of DC because you saw someone taking up two parking spaces? I guess it’s a good thing you don’t drive, becuase this is an extremely minor problem.

    • So you don’t have this problem, but you have other problems related to not having a car. I’d rather have to park a block away from my house, on occasion, than not be able to get to my graduate classes or take weekend trips to visit my family.

  • I think writing a note is a waste of time since we truly don’t know the circumstances of why the person is parked that way. I mean this is DC and for the most part people get in where they fit in, it is what it is. Granted their are some people that can’t drive or park and are not conscious of others kind of like wide walkers (lol). The big issue I have is when I am trying to leave (for a meeting or whatever) and a UPS truck has blocked me in so that I can’t move and they are somewhere in one of many possible buildings for well over 20 minutes (which of course makes me late) and then they come outside acting like nothing has happened and don’t say excuse me. It takes everything I have in me not to go off.

    But what really gets me is people blocking the box. As a matter of fact, I think that is going to be my first submission to PoP himself (it makes me that mad ; )

  • The time when I leave notes– and feel free to call me passive aggressive, aggressive, whatever– is when people park in the bus zone. That is hands down, no question wrong and you are inconveniencing and endangering MANY people when you do that. You deserve to be called an asshole in that case.

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