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Those Are My Parking Spaces!

This just happened tonight, and thinking back on it I am not sure if we were the rude ones in this story.

The back story is that my mom has recently moved to a townhouse in a gated community on a golf course. Across the street from her house is a green space with open parking all along that side of the street. Generally when I visit her, I park directly across from her house as that is most convenient for me.
However, today I was helping my brother move in, and as I was the first one at the house, I pulled my car forward so that we would be able to move things easily out of the moving van and my brother’s truck. I was not parked in front of anyone’s house since that side of the street is green space, but I was across the street a neighbor, since the townhouses are close together in sets of 4. Really I was between my mom’s house and the neighbor’s. One of our friends ended up parking in front of me, again so as not to get in the way of the moving.

My mom had made dinner for everyone who helped move today, which was me, my husband, my brother, and our friend, and as we were getting ready for dinner our friend stepped out front to take a phone call, and the neighbor came outside and started talking to him while he was on the phone, saying that he needed to tell my mom not to ever have her guests park in front of her house and that he needed to move the cars because she needed that exact spot for her friends to park. No please, no excuse me, while he was on the phone. There was a ton of space both in front of and behind our cars, but that was not good enough for her.

My friend finished up his phone call and came inside, and as we all sat down to dinner told us what the neighbor had said. I said that she probably should have came to talk to my mom instead of randomly expressing herself to a guest, and wondered if her friends were elderly or disabled that they couldn’t walk a few extra feet, but we agreed that we could move our cars after dinner, since we were done moving.

Then maybe 10 minutes later the doorbell rings and it is the same neighbor. As I was sitting closest to the front door, I was the one who answered it. I explained that we were in the middle of dinner and not able to move our cars at the moment, but she just wanted to complain that her friends had to park “all the way” farther up the hill and that it was really rude for my mom’s guests not to park only in front of her house. I tried to explain that we had been moving and had needed the space, but she kept insisting that she had a right to have the parking spots across the street from her house free for her guests, whether or not she had any, and that we were very rude, especially the friend she had talked to because he had not immediately jumped in his car to move it for her. I finally got her to leave by saying that we would keep her request in mind in the future, and that we had to get back to dinner.

After she left, we all generally agreed that she was being very rude, and that we wouldn’t have minded moving the cars if she had been nice about it in the first place, for example instead of berating my friend while he was on the phone, if she had come up to the door before we sat down to dinner and asked my mom, “Please excuse me, I live next door and I noticed that your guests cars are pulled up. I don’t want to bother you but I have some guests coming and it is much easier for them if they can park directly across the street, so would you mind please having your guests move back a few feet?” it would have come across a lot better.

Now that it has been a few hours, I wonder if we should have just delayed our dinner to move the cars, even though she wasn’t very nice to my friend. The HOA says than any visitor with a parking pass may park anywhere on the street as long as it is not in front of a driveway or a mailbox, and I am very conscious of parking courteously because in our old neighborhood sometimes people would park in front of our house without pulling all the way up, effectively halving the number of cars we could park there, and it was very annoying. But this wasn’t in front of anyone’s house, it was adjacent to green space and there is plenty of room. Even if there is an unwritten rule for people who live across from open spaces, you should still be nice about it, right? 0530-14

The neighbor was establishing her territorial rights to certain common parking areas before the new neighbors (your mother and brother) got too entrenched in the habit of parking where she did not want them to.   On one hand  you can almost understand her angst because a new neighbor moves in and a boatload of vehicles take over most, but not all, of the common parking spaces she is used to having available for her friends.   It’s still rude of her to assume that the common parking spaces are hers and she certainly could have worded her request a bit more courteously.

{ 104 comments… add one }
  • Caterlaw June 5, 2014, 6:02 am

    I’ve lived next to a neighbor with the same “the street is mine and needs to be available only to my guests, whether or not I’m expecting anyone” attitude for seven years. You can’t reason with that level of entitlement, but you shouldn’t give it a pass, either. You and your family did nothing wrong. Don’t give in to this woman, she will just keep pushing on other issues. Live within the HOA rules and, when she complains, politely tell her that if she thinks there’s a problem, she is welcome to take it up with the HOA.

  • Kahomono June 5, 2014, 6:29 am

    The HOA rules say nothing to contradict the First and Only Rule of Parking Spaces on Public Streets:

    First Come First Served.

    Too bad for anyone who cannot get that through their noggin.

  • FunkyMunky June 5, 2014, 8:12 am

    My not particularly etiquette-conscious friend was (legally) parking on the street while visiting a sick relative. After receiving 3 increasingly abusive notes telling her not to park on the street as the spot she was using was across the road from the note-writer’s driveway, my friend sent back a note basically saying “if you can’t exit a driveway safely when someone is parked on the other side of the street, perhaps you should consider remedial driving lessons”.

    • NostalgicGal June 6, 2014, 3:17 pm

      [LIKE] <made my own like button

      A rental we lived in for 6 years was 7 houses in on a large cul-de-sac with one enterance and exit at the bottom of a valley between two fairly steep hills. Then the road looped around in a big squarish ring and had some regular blocks inside this ring. We weren't quite at the bottom of the valley, but. Taking the turn (right from rightmost lane) could be a bit scary especially if there was snow/ice/rain happening (I had walked many a time from rain on that street UP the hill (gaining about 400' altitude) and walking into SNOW at the top.) And there was the 'model house' facing the (3 lanes each way with a mostly dividing median) big road and the sign for the development as you turned… Behind this on that side the loop went to the right and past a house facing the other direction and somewhat on a 'hill' (huge lot but it sloped so bad it should have been terraced) and it cost too much to water that into green so the fescue was tan most of the time. Across from the house and about 150' from the turn someone started parking a butterscotch/tan caddy. It was the same shade as that hill. It WAS a public street, it WAS allowed parking; and making the turn and not seeing that car parked there until you had almost hit it was scary to put it mildly. I wasn't the only one to put polite notes (talked to several neighbors, they stressed 'polite') about that it's a lovely car and someone's going to hit it there, it's just invisible. It was something that we just all tried to live with, I got used to driving through there as if it was there even if it wasn't, but. It happened. Someone took the corner with an SUV full of kids and didn't see it and creamed it badly. They all made it as treat and release… and this was right after at the top of the nearby hill where at the turn lane some teens were screwing around and one girl pulled on the wheel of a VW with top down and killed almost all of them (4, and the total that year was 7 and climbing) and the city decided enough high profile traffic stuff in the area, so they painted the first 200 feet of the turn in curb on both sides as red 'fire zone'. Corner house wasn't too happy but after five months of dodge the camoflagued caddy, we all cheered.

  • Julia Houston June 5, 2014, 9:34 am

    I’m very sorry, but you’ve not heard the last from this person. Soon, your music will be too loud. She will leave a nasty note in your mailbox because she feels you left your garage door open too long. She will tell you whenever you don’t set out your trash or recycling just right. She will tell everyone in the neighborhood your business and how much it disrupts her life, like that time Amazon left big package in front of your door when you weren’t home and that’s just “inviting” burglars into the neighborhood. Be sure to keep your front and back yards super tidy, or there will be notes and complaints about that as well. If you put up a satellite dish, she will complain. If you have an outdoor light that does (or doesn’t) shine through one of her windows at night, she will complain.

    In short, she will complain.

    The only thing you can do is to ignore it as much as possible. Be civil to her at all times, and never, ever lose any sleep over it.

    • Stephanie Ward June 5, 2014, 5:52 pm

      (OP) Yep. She told my mom that you can’t put your trash out until 6pm on the night before collection. My mom happened to mention it when she was at the HOA office and they told my mom that the rule is no more than 24 hours before collection so if she wanted to put them out at 8am the day before, she could. My mom is the sort of person who isn’t really bothered by that kind of stuff though, so she’ll be fine. It would annoy the crap out of me, which might be why I live out in the boonies where we only have one neighbor.

      • Joanna June 6, 2014, 9:40 am

        I live in a condo complex, and we too have our very own Constant Complainer.

        One time, he was kvetching endlessly about a “boat” that was outside under someone’s deck and a total eyesore, etc etc. Well, not having seen the boat in question, naturally I was imagining some kind of freakin’ YACHT or something…not, say, the tiny rowboat, covered neatly with forest green tarp to blend in as well as possible with the surrounding bushes, that was actually being debated.

        Another time, he complained about idling cars as people stopped by the communal mailboxes at the entrance of our complex to get their mail…and then when the association put up a nice professionally made sign saying “NO IDLING” or whatever, he then complained THE SIGN ITSELF was an eyesore.

        Yeah, just…you can’t win.

        • admin June 6, 2014, 11:31 am

          The tyranny of the perpetually offended.

          • NostalgicGal June 6, 2014, 3:28 pm

            Yep. Always one.

            Friend in club, her retired hubby was in poor health; and was like this, but he liked to (try to) garden. So I gave him a special tomato plant, taught him how, goaded him along, and got him into entering the tomato the plant produced in a weighoff. He won first prize and still holds the county record. … I also gave him heck about his weeds; I was their vacation housesitter, so I knew what grew there and all. His wife loved it; she said I had given him a lease on life and a purpose; when I caught him sitting on a chair in his yard doing his weeding… He’d take his life frustrations out on weeds, bugs, the grasshopper that ate a hole in his prized tomato 2 days before the weighoff (the damage was allowed, it ‘dried out’ before the weighoff) and the squirrels…. oh he waged an epic battle with the squirrels. Sometimes people like that need that; some where more useful to channel their energy. too bad Mr. Kvetch didn’t have something like that.

  • Pants June 5, 2014, 7:16 pm

    I’m not going to lie. I get cranky about parking in the winter. Especially last winter-that-would-never-end. I have a driveway off the alley, but the alley is not plowed, so after a certain point, I just give up and park in the street. Street parking is just that – anyone can park there, which I completely understand. It makes me crazy, though, that my neighbors with their van and large SUV (and who live on the corner) opt to park in such a way that one of their vehicles is usually in front of my house, so that I have to park in front of the neighbor on the other side. Mutter-under-my-breath crazy if I’ve had a bad day at work. You know what I do about it? Nothing. That’s right. NOTHING. For I am an adult and realize that this crazy is my crazy; no one is doing anything wrong, and the only time I’m actually mildly inconvenienced is when I have groceries or stuff.

    Not only that, I know how lucky I am that this is the only neighbor problem I have.

    • NostalgicGal June 6, 2014, 3:38 pm

      Friend lived in a neighborhood and a street T ended half on her property and half on the next. On the T and across was a crabby neighbor. Whom they had had a LOT of arguments with in the past about parking and snow clearing and ‘we have to have the space in front of OUR house clear at all times in case we need an ambulance’ so they thought they could park all over with their five vehicles and didn’t understand the concept of ‘don’t block a driveway’…

      We would get Albuqurque Lows that would sit and spin and in 24 hours gift us with about 2’ of snow. And my friend got buried majorly.

      Her better half went to dig a place to park vehicle so he could go to work, IN FRONT OF THEIR PLACE and away from the part where the T road ended. Like three hours worth. He then took the Explorer around the block, about 2 minutes, to put it in the spot. Neighbor up and across parked in it. REFUSED to move it because it’s a public street and any parking is fair game. Fine. He came in house and called a bunch of us and said bring a six and a shovel. We buried that jeep. Put all the snow back he’d dug, and cleaned out his driveway cut next to it and added to it. Patted it all in. Of course the guy blew a gasket-tough bounce. He had had the jeep in his driveway until the spot was finished then he moved it. In the case of public parking, if someone was obviously clearing a space (the fellow had been home and seen friend’s DH digging) don’t poach. In that case, they get what they deserve.

      • VM June 7, 2014, 2:58 pm

        When my husband lived in Jersey he had to dig a pathway to a major street, since the city didn’t plow the little street he was on. One day he does that, gets his car and drives out…to find in the meantime somebody has parked on the main street at the very mouth of the tunnel, like a cork in a wine bottle.

        He poured buckets of water over the car, and it was a ice cube by the time he had dug his way out the opposite way to the other major street…

        • NostalgicGal June 8, 2014, 12:12 am


          I would have also called the police as the person blocked a road.

        • NostalgicGal June 8, 2014, 12:13 am


          He blocked the street too (the one that parked like a cork?) Call police for person blocking road.

  • justmesometimes June 5, 2014, 10:02 pm

    Senior year in college, I lived in a small apartment, only 16 units. About 20-25 parking spaces? Unassigned, and never had a problem, till…
    one night I had some friends over. I had no TV. We were sitting and talking (no alcohol) when the phone rang. I did not have to tell anyone to shush nor did I turn down the music.

    It was my landlord, from across town– “Alexa, are you having a par-tay? I have a complaint that there is no parking left!”

    I went out to the front patio and counted seven open spots. The entire complex was less than half a football field in size, including the parking lot. So, someone had called to complain that their favorite spot was taken.

    Never found out who called, but I wonder of the taker if the spot was even at my gathering!

    (man, the memories- no tv, no microwave, no dishwasher, no washer/dryer, but really cheap rent!!)

    Communication and courtesy is what we all need.

  • Joanna June 6, 2014, 9:33 am

    Unfortunately, this is a common problem among people in condo complexes – I live in one myself and have several friends who also live in other complexes. That said, it’s true that even if a spot is right next to your home, it IS theoretically open to anyone who gets there first.

    In my complex, we get one assigned spot per unit, and then if you have a partner or roommate, that person has to park in the visitor’s area. Well, we have a woman who lives with someone else; that person takes their assigned unit spot and, as she has a handicapped tag, she takes a handicapped parking spot.

    That’s fine and good, but when I say she takes the handicapped spot, she TAKES THE HANDICAPPED SPOT…as in, ALWAYS. She is an older lady, retired, so she is home a lot, and able to monopolize it. Again, I get it, but there are other people who might need our (limited) handicapped spots, such as my own mother, who needs a hip replacement. My mother has never one single time been able to park in that handicapped spot, because it’s always, always taken by “Susan” (who, despite having medical issues, is often seen running around the complex, to the mailbox, etc, so despite being older and whatever her medical problems are, they are plainly not SO severe that she MUST be parking in a special lot 24/7, you know?)

    The one time the spot WAS empty when Mom came to visit, she still parked far, far away and came, painfully, to my door. I was upset on her behalf, asking why on earth she hadn’t just used the handicapped spot right near me. Mom said, “I don’t want to start problems with Susan…you know she’ll get mad.” True, but as I pointed out, THAT IS NOT SUSAN’S SPACE. She just acts like it is. But alas, my mom was afraid of starting “issues” when she is a frequent visitor; and I’m sure there are people in similar situations in complexes all over, which is just plain sad.

  • ciotog June 6, 2014, 2:05 pm

    I find it hard to believe that the OP’s mother’s neighbor has any friends who come visit her.

    I used to live in the Boston area where there are fewer available parking spots than there are cars. I lived in a two-family house where the narrow driveway was used by the owners for their two cars, so I parked on the street in front of the house when I could. I got two (unsigned) notes from a neighbor accusing me of being selfish by not making room for another car in front of my house. But I had a big ’80s-style American car, and doing so would have required me to put my front or back bumper right at the boundary of a narrow driveway, thus ensuring that my front or back bumper would have been scraped every time a car backed out of the driveway–and that the smaller car that was squeezed into the remaining space would have been scraped up as well.

    I now live in a small town and have a driveway, but only one car fits into it. My husband usually parks in front of our house, as that space is generally free, but once he had to park partially in front of our neighbor’s house. She called to complain! The kicker is that not only does she have a spacious driveway and garage (we have neither), she is blind!

  • crebj June 8, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Yes, the neighbor should have been nicer. But her rudeness is her problem. It doesn’t excuse any lack of manners on your part.

  • Barbarian June 8, 2014, 7:14 pm

    We helped a family member move from their condo. The big moving truck did block access for some of the neighbors, but they were very patient and helpful. They explained they could not get thru the driveway because of the big truck. I told them the driver would move right away, which he did. Two people even volunteered their parking spaces so we could park our vehicles to help with the move. The driver cheerfully moved the truck whenever it was needed and nobody got unhappy.

    I was thankful for this and wish more people would behave like this.

  • Enna June 13, 2014, 9:36 am

    I don’t understand this rude neighbour – according to the OP there was plenty of space so what’s the problem?

    • Lady Anne June 26, 2014, 8:56 pm

      Some people don’t NEED problems. They just like to make them.

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