The Local Voice

The View from the Balcony: “The Balcony Parking Commission” by Randy Weeks


A few issues ago I wrote a some disparaging words about the parking impaired. A friend chided me for making fun of others. I almost said, “I wasn’t laughing at them—I was laughing with them.” But, alas, there was no denying it. I was laughing at them. Ask me if I feel guilty.

One of the perks of sitting on The Balcony is that you get to see all manner of things, some good, some not so good; some funny, some sad. Balcony Dwellers observe and editorialize, with a healthy dose of play-by-play thrown in. Yes, we frequently criticize those who are parking challenged. But to be fair (to us), we only castigate those who merit castigation.

We each have our particulars, as should be expected. (Except for Burt, our wheel man. He’s just happy to be there. Hell. He’s just happy to be anywhere!) The Sheik has a soft spot in his heart for the elderly. For the record, none of us will take an oldster to task unless their parking is abysmal and they hop out of the car like Jumpin’ Jack Flash. That’s when The Sheik pulls out his pea shooter and pops ’em on the back of their head. He’s a damn good shot. Once pegged the back of the left ear of an old fart headed to McEwen’s. The guy jerked, spun around, and started singing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On.” When he turned to go The Sheik pegged the back of the other ear. The Sheik said he got his great aim from shooting spitballs at his third grade teacher. They name Target after her. 

My good friend Leon, a very inciteful man, goes ape-s**t crazy over Buffies and Skippies who drive bimmers given to them by Mummy and Poppy and refuse to park inside the lines—especially when they are fully aware of their transgression. “Privileged twits!” he’ll say. Once a Skippy heard Leon’s complaint and flipped him off. Lickety split Leon was on the street. He pinned the lad up against his car and gave him a tongue-lashing Wally Backman (YouTube him) would have been proud of. The difference was that Leon never raised his voice, never cursed, and didn’t kick dirt over home plate. He did, however, jab his left index finger in Skippy’s chest a few times. The kid never knew what hit him. Apologized to Leon, parked his car properly, and slinked away to the back entrance of the Round Table.

Z.Z. Bullfrog, a pythy man, figures that the free spirits who park outside the lines most likely colored outside the lines in kindergarten. He doesn’t blame them quite as much as he blames their parents for not using playpens or pampers when they were tots. He surprised the heck out of me when he paraphrased scripture in his commentary: “You know, when I was a kid I acted like a kid, but when I hit 30 I quit doin’ that crap—well, most of it.”

The Balcony Parking Commission (BPC) is developing an official parking grading system. It’s still in development, but here’s where things stand right now:
Magna Cum Parkie: Straight and well within the lines. Perfect execution, leaving adequate room for cars in front of and behind you. Comes with loud cheers from the BPC and a Golden Steering Wheel insignia.

Semi Cum Parkie: In the lines. Decent execution. A bit crooked, but well within the lines. Adequate room for others to move. No style points. No awards. But a healthy round of applause from the BPC.

So-So Cum Parkie: In the lines. Only a couple of do-overs. You get a map of Soso, Mississippi, compliments of the BPC.

Thank You, Lawdy Cum Parkie: On or inside the lines after numerous do-overs. Crooked. Too close to other cars. You get a Bronx cheer from the BPC.

Sue Me Cum Parkie: Dozens of do-overs, paint scratches, dented fenders, outside the lines. Gets out of the car, sees the piss-poor parking job, goes on their merry way. The BPC ignores you, but the OPD gives your car a bootie.

As I said, it’s still in progress, but you’ve got to admit, it is a piece of work.

. . . and that’s the View from The Balcony. 

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