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The narcissism of the double park

It’s an egocentrism that borders on the tyrannical. It is a plague infecting our middle classes. It’s a curse that left unchecked could leave the very fabric of interpersonal amiability tattered in shreds. It must end.

I am of course talking about double parking.

Well, as an example at least. I am referring to those moments in daily life when someone who shares this world with us believes that they have the right to own it. That the shared space which we cohabit is merely an extension of their greater narcissistic world. And the rest of us merely pawns in their game of tomfuckery.

The simple double park. Whoa, Keen, don’t be so bloody angry mate, they’ve just popped into a shop for five minutes.

This rather innocuous sounding activity is anything but that.

Allow me to retort.

Take Kloof Street in Gardens, Cape Town as an example. It is for the most part a highly congested road with a great deal of foot traffic, road maintenance, MyCiti building, and cars occupying the area. It is also home to a Woolies, a Wellness Warehouse and a great many expensive SUV type monstrosities. You know those SUVs that have never seen the great outdoors. The dirtiest the tyres have been is from little Fluffy the poodle’s excrement in the double garage.

Now the demographic at fault should be quite clear at this point.

Let’s call her Tiff. Tiff has just finished Pilates and is in dire need of an organic carrot and spirulina juice. She also doesn’t want to find parking further away from Woolies or Wellness. So she double parks.

Giving Tiff the benefit of the doubt, merely as a obligatory gesture, she thought “I’ll only be five minutes”. I say the benefit, because I care to wager that Tiff has given absolutely no regard to others that will be inconvenienced by her parking.

As she prances into Woolies and realises that she needs more than just her overpriced organic enema, she decides to do a bit of a shop. In the meanwhile her car hogs the road like a fat boy on the last cupcake at a birthday party. The rest of us must navigate the precarious detritus resulting from her self-obsession.

It may just seem like a simple double park, but what it clearly represents, if we are honest with ourselves and apply a scant layer of behavioural reasoning, is a psychological hegemony and narcissism to the core.

These people will think nothing of their five minutes while they curse the taxi driver for the same inconsideration. At least the taxi, while annoying as fuck, provides a service to others, albeit driven by his own financial motivations.

The Pilates-playing, SUV-driving, toned vessel of human tragedy believes wholeheartedly at either a conscious or subconsious level – the latter if we are to forgive them their own idiocy and blame it on a lifetime of sanctioned selfishness – that they are better.

Their time more valuable. Their convenience paramount. That they think nothing of those put out by their leisurely morning of core strengthening and organic afterglow, shows a heinousness that must stop.

For how long can they expect us to remain silent? How long can they expect me to curb my desire to keep a box of eggs in my car to soil their windows and bonnet as I drive past? It has been a recurring fantasy of mine. The only catharsis I derive in these situations is imagining that I wait for them to return to their car and engage them.

Engage them on why they behave this way. Why they think that their post Pilates liquid refreshment is so fucking important.

Or maybe. Maybe one day I will just finally snap. Wait for them to return to their BMW X5, snatch away their newly bought juice, and actually use it as an enema. Mount their car. Spread my cheeks. And just like Fluffy, use the only expression available to show our true hatred for them. And defecate onto their windscreen. Artfully spelling out the message: No Parking.

November 4, 2013 Early Tilt