Saturday, September 4, 2010

Parking in SoHo

After a year of living in my little shoebox apartment in SoHo, it was time to move on.  By this point I'd realized that I could get something bigger and cheaper, in an area where I could actually afford to eat and drink.  I settled on the East Village and started planning my move amidst finishing up my thesis for grad school, and starting my student teaching.  I scheduled the movers for 12:00 noon and, having turned in the thesis the day before, finished up the packing just in time for them to get there.  Unfortunately, they were not on time.  They weren't even a little late -- they didn't get there until 3:30!  They told me some sob story about getting a couch stuck in the stairwell of a fifth floor walk-up, and how it took forever to figure out how to get it out.  At this point, on the Friday before Labor Day of 2006, almost four years ago to the day, there was absolutely no parking for the van anywhere near my apartment.  They parked around the corner and started to bring stuff down the stairs (luckily only the third floor with a very wide staircase) as I waited on the street guarding my stuff/scouting for a parking spot.

Just a few buildings down there is a fire-hydrant spot, which I thought would be perfect, except that someone else was already using it to idle in.  When the movers got toward the end of bringing my stuff down the stairs, they told me it would probably add an extra hour to the move to have to bring it all down the street.  At this point, since I was paying by the hour, I went to talk to the man in the car.  He was very nice, but explained to me that he was waiting for some friends from Europe who were shopping and they'd planned to meet back at the car.  He thought they would be back soon, but, being from Europe, they didn't have working cell phones so he had no way of contacting them.  He said that, when they came back, he would let me know and wait in the car until the truck got there.  I went back to stalking for parking spots.

I should mention that my movers were not professional movers.  I found them on craigslist and had hired a guy just to carry my stuff up the stairs when I first moved to the city.  He was great, so I went back to them this time, but went with two men and a van.  They were a white guy with a huge afro, who sounded stoned but carried boxes like a sober person, and his wiry hipster friend who appeared to be in charge.

The wiry hipster had instructed me to jump on any parking spot I saw and stand in it until they could go get the truck, which I did.  Right as they made the last trip up to my apartment, a spot opened up right across the street.  I ran and stood in it, much to the chagrin of other people circling for spots.  Some people just glowered, one woman rolled down her window and asked what I was doing.  She was angry, but moved on.  The next guy who stopped started to pull into the spot.  The movers, who were at this point back down on the sidewalk took notice and started to cross the street.  The driver yelled at me to move out the window; I tried to explain why I was there -- that I was moving and that my stuff was piled on the sidewalk and that my movers were going to get the truck, how all of this would cost me a lot more money if I couldn't park there.  Afro guy tried to reason with the driver, who instead of answering slammed on the gas and tried to run me over.

Yes, indeed, this jackass man thought that the best way to get his way would be to simply kill me.  As the car started to come at me I screamed and the wiry hipster JUMPED ON THE HOOD OF THE CAR.  He slid across shouting something to the effect of "What the fuck is wrong with you?  You thought you could fucking run over a fucking girl to fucking get your way?"  Afro guy is shaking his head in disbelief saying profound things like, "Man, this is really heavy," and I'm shaking with rage.  I'm more angry that he won the parking spot (by now I've moved out of the line of fire) than incensed that he tried to run me over.  I yell, "What the fuck were you thinking?  You fucking asshole!  I'm moving today and all of my worldly possessions are on the sidewalk over there and you think YOU are more deserving of this parking spot?"  To which he replied by pointing to a nearby building and saying, "This is my house and I have luggage to take inside."  His luggage consisted of one rolling suitcase.  

Luckily, while all of this was going on, another neighbor with a car had come outside and said that he was leaving and we could have his spot.  Wiry hipster started barking orders.  To Afro guy:  "Stay here with her and don't let anyone, for any reason take this spot."  To me:  "Go back across the street and watch your stuff."  He then sprinted down the street in the direction of the truck.  He came back a few minutes later, and without further incident we loaded up my stuff and trekked over the East Village, and I said "Good Riddance" to SoHo snobbery.

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