1.20.2006

Harrassed for parking in West Newton

I just had a confrontation with someone in the parking lot of the West Newton CVS. It was before CVS even opened, but we weren't there to pick up medicines -- I was there to mail something at the Post Office across Waltham Street.

The lot was nearly empty, so we parked in one of the spaces nearest Waltham Street. As I was taking my four year old out of the lot, this guy comes up to me. He was about 40-45, short dark hair, and was wearing a navy blue, Barracuda-style jacket.

"You can't park here to use the post office."

I looked at the empty parking lot, then at CVS, then at him.

"We do a lot of business here every year ..."

He got angry. "That has no bearing! You can't park here or you're gonna get towed!"

I got angry too. This guy was harrassing me in front of my daughter for using an empty parking lot? "It absolutely has bearing. We do a lot of business ..."

"I don't care how much business you do with CVS, it has nothing to do with me. This is private property, Mark is ..."

"If it's nothing to do with you, then don't say anything. It's none of your business."

That quieted him for about two seconds, then he reverted to his original threat. "Hey, I said you're gonna get towed if you park here."

"Then go ahead, call the tow company!"

He didn't say anything. I went right up to his face. "And thanks for doing this in front of my daughter."

My daughter was quiet as we crossed the street. I could tell she was confused, and knew something I was angry -- she usually asks a million questions about any new situation or thing, but if I am mad she stays quiet. This was the first time she had seen me yelling at a stranger, or a stranger yelling at me.

After mailing my packages and buying a book of the new 39 cent stamps, I took my daughter back to the CVS parking lot. My car was still there. He was also still standing there, but didn't look at me. I didn't say anything to him, either, but now wish I had asked him his name and if he is the building superintendent, or maybe an off-duty cop (he looks like a cop, and seemed to know all of the people pulling in and out of the police station parking lot across the street). I also wish I added a couple of other things to the argument, like why he even cared if almost no one else is using the lot, or why he didn't tow the junky white car that was taking up two spaces next to mine.

And also, I should mention that technically, he is right. Regardless if whether there are 100 empty spaces, or I buy $100 worth of medicine and other stuff at CVS every month, I shouldn't be parking in the lot for five minutes to go to the Post Office. There is a sign posted that says CVS patrons only.

But you know what? I will do it again. And I will get in that guys face if he harrasses me. Not just because no one's using the lot at that time, but because there are no alternatives. The lot behind the post office is for postal employees and trucks, and the parking spaces in the municipal lot next to it are always full, used by people who work at the police station and courthouse. There are no other legal alternatives for parking, and in fact most people running into the post office park illegally on the curb next to the blue mailboxes -- an offense which can get you ticketed or towed.

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