My husband, son and I are sitting in the car in the parking lot at Dierbergs, the local grocery store. We have just finished packing our groceries into the back of the car and strapping our son into his car seat. My husband backs out, slowly. There is a car idling in the aisle behind us, waiting for our space even though the parking lot is only half full, because the space we have parked in is so close to the entrance of the store.
As my husband continues to back out carefully toward the waiting car, straightening our car to pull out of the aisle, another vehicle, a white van, parked two spaces down from us, very suddenly backs out of its space. My husband taps his horn at the van, irritated. We are already three-quarters of the way out of our space. We started backing out first. The driver of the van should have waited for us to pass. Had the driver even seen us?
The van continues to back up. And back up. And back up some more, straight toward us.
My husband honks again, this time leaning on the horn in earnest. The van still does not stop. It does not slow. It continues backing toward us, inexorably. There is no sign the driver has heard us at all. My three-year-old son, who can see everything clearly from his car seat, starts crying, sobbing “Stop! Stop! Why don’t they stop?”
“They are not going to stop,” I say to my husband. “You’ll have to back up. Back up!” The van is now inches from our bumper. My husband backs up, still honking on the horn. The car waiting for our space is still behind us. My husband can only back up a couple of feet. Whether transfixed by the drama unfolding ahead, stupidly determined to have our parking space, or somehow completely oblivious, the driver behind us will not back out of the aisle to get out of our way. The van continues backing toward us. People walking in the parking lot have heard the constant blare of our car horn and stopped to stare.
I know this won't be a very bad accident. It's the inevitability of it, the trapped feeling I have, my son's terrorized sobbing, that scare me. In frustration, knowing this is totally dangerous, I open the passenger door and lean out of our car, frantically waving my arms, screaming, “STOP NOW! YOU’RE GOING TO HIT US! WE CAN’T BACK UP! STOP!”
Perhaps the driver of the van sees the red flash of the opening door, or my waving arms. Perhaps the driver somehow finally hears and pays attention to the horn that has been honking continuously for the past several seconds. In any event , the van stops, inches from our bumper, pulls forward, and stops again, halfway in the street, halfway in the parking lot aisle.
In my agitation, I have not even thought to read the license plate. All I have managed to register is that it is a disabled plate, legally parked in a disabled parking space. As my husband angrily pulls around the stopped van to turn out of the lot, I catch a glimpse of a gray-haired, elderly driver,* fixing us with a look something between puzzlement and annoyance; then the van is gone.
And the young driver of the car that had been waiting behind us, refusing to move, pulls into our empty parking space.
* My husband and I still can't agree on whether this person was male or female.
P.S. I know that some of my readers are patiently waiting for the political rant I mentioned in my last post. I promise will get to it. It will be very long, and I have been ill the past few days, so I haven't felt up to making my MIND ill. Heh.