Finding parking in a large city can be a nightmare, especially in a locale as car-dependent as Los Angeles. At least in places like Chicago and NYC, the topography and transit systems allow a good portion of the population to rely on public transportation, but in L.A., it's pretty impractical for most commuters. If your neighborhood doesn't have much parking off the street, it can be a real struggle to find a spot close to home, and that can lead to people engaging in some pretty shameful behaviors.
Mariah Flores, who calls herself "Chicken Tikka Mariah" on Twitter (A+ handle, btw) documented one such incident of car owners behaving badly this week when she spotted two drivers in an hourlong standoff over a spot across the street from her apartment. The scene begins a little after 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time with two sedans, one black and one silver, fighting for dominance.
This internet hero kept vigil and dutifully documented the entire standoff as soon as she became aware of it. And already the controversy begins. Armchair referees began to debate which car has a rightful claim on the spot, which created a debate on the etiquette of parallel parking. And I'm just going to level with you here and state that I have a clear opinion on this matter and will not be keeping it to myself.
Team Silver Car argues that the black car clearly passed the spot up and then tried to back up to correct their error. Meanwhile, Team Black Car — AKA Team Right Side of History — counters that proper parallel parking protocol requires you pull up in front of the empty space alongside the car in front of it, turn on your signal, and then back into a spot. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't up for debate.
Adherents to Team Silver's position, however, suggest we don't know what happened before this game of parking chicken. And that's fair. I have also observed people pulling what Team Silver suggests Black Car may have done — which is to say it is possible the driver did indeed miss the spot and attempt to reverse course while the silver car was already trying to seize the space.
Personally, I'm more comfortable with making the far more likely assumption that the black car was engaged in standard parallel parking etiquette and the silver car either a) doesn't know the rules of parking or, b) decided to throw all decorum out the window rather than spend another hour circling to find a suitable space.
At this point, at least 30 minutes have elapsed and neither car has shown any signs of relenting. They're not only blocking each other from taking the spot but literally blocking oncoming traffic. The disgruntled drivers affected by the standoff lean on their horns in protest. On the East Coast, that's no big thing, but having grown up in California I can tell you that use of the horn is a sign of major aggression.
Here's where things take a turn from ridiculous to insane. A spot opens up across the street, yet these two knuckleheads refuse to concede and try for the other spot. People, you've got to prioritize peace over pride.
At this point, Mariah starts polling her followers over who's in the right. Meanwhile, other drivers are getting increasingly heated. Two drivers' principled fight over this territory is having a ripple effect on the rest of Koreatown.
Our fearless documentarian has at this point been standing at the window for nearly an hour, and so I'm going to blame fatigue for this next claim.
Mariah has remained fairly neutral up to this point, but her language here suggests she thinks Black Car is in the wrong. Again, my stated position is clear, and I take heard in the knowledge that I have Chrissy Teigen on my side.
Folks rightly pointed out that the one exception here is if Black Car didn't have their blinker on. Even still, you don't go nose first into a parallel parking spot.
Nevertheless, they persisted and at this point it's been nearly an hour.
Dusk has fallen and Mariah has been at her window for a full 60 minutes. However, it's been even longer than an hour for these two drivers. And then, something quite amazing happens...
The owner of the car parked in front of the spot gets into their vehicle and drives away, leaving two sedan-sized spaces that can accommodate both cars. Will the fight continue?
Black car takes the new spot, which technically means silver car won. Nice guys truly do finish last, y'all. But there's a new source of tension now: who will get out of the car first?
Despite having sat in their cars for over an hour, it seems these drivers have nothing but time as they sit inside their cars waiting for the other to get out. Hey, maybe they're both just really engrossed in their podcasts or whatever.
Mariah lands on the more likely scenario: both drivers are either scared of physical confrontation without the safety of their cars, or they're embarrassed about how they just behaved. Perhaps a little of column A, a little of column B.
In a new poll, Mariah asks viewers to predict who will give in first.
If you predicted Team Silver, congratulations. That was a pretty safe bet, because you have to have a real brass set on you to think it's OK to go nose-first into a parking spot. It stands to reason you'd also have the cojones to get out of the car first.
Mariah decides to write each driver a note of appreciation and places them on their windshields. Here it's clear to see that, despite some blamey language earlier, she has come out on the side of black car. However, she created a Gmail account for each driver to argue their case.
Unfortunately, the responses she's gotten so far seem to be imposters.
What a journey.