Mr. Wrong By Joe MacLeod

Mr. Wrong: The bright light from my hot button is giving me a headache

City Paper

Like many U.S. Americans, I have a few “Hot Button” issues, I ain’t gonna lie, there are things that just get me cheesed off in a totally Asymmetrical and Geometrically disproportionate amount to maybe what the appropriate level of irritation should be, and I know it, and I’m working on it, but: I can’t help it. Hot Button.

My Number-One-with-a-Bullet Hot Button is if you park in my parking. At my last job, I used to have an Assigned parking space in the parking lot, and if I rolled in all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, rarin’ to go get ’em in my workaday world, singin’ along to something fun on the radio, lookin’ forward to that first cuppa office coffee, man, if I saw a car in my Designated and Numbered and Assigned space, a film of blood would descend over my eyes and I would quickly execute a blocking procedure, parking my 1996 Civic (so you know I don’t give a fuck) sideways directly behind the car in my space, like an inch away, and then, with rage-trembling hands, I would write my phone number on a piece of paper and shove it between the trim and the glass at the bottom of the driver-side window, and then I would look around, three hundred and 60 degrees, with my eyes bulging outta my skull and my chest heaving, ready to attack. WHO PARKED IN MY PARKING?!? ARRGH!!!

I know, it’s dumb, right? It’s comical, what the hell? My blood pressure! I’m working on it. Eventually somebody would phone me and I would step out for my big Confrontation, and it was always a letdown. Some poor boob who didn’t understand about the parking, or just made an honest mistake with the numbers in the lot. I was usually way calmer by then anyway, but every once in a while somebody would tell me they parked in my spot because somebody parked in their spot, and the crimson film would go back down over my eyeballs and my Systolic would give me mini-strokes while I was trying to explain my Policy with regards to Somebody Parked in My Space: “Just . . . Because . . . You . . . Parking . . . Not . . .  Space . . . My . . . Urrgh . . . Doesn’t . . . Urk!” That was me trying to say YOU TOOK MY SPACE BECAUSE SOMEBODY TOOK YOUR SPACE? YOU DON’T—ACK!

It’s bad, I know, I need to relax chillax trillax the fuck out, but at my house, the guy next door, first thing he ever told me about the neighborhood—which has a totally Ideal parking situation because there’s a school ball field across the street and no houses—was that neighborhood people park in front of their own house, and if they are a multiple-car house, they put those cars across the street, and you are not being a Good Neighbor if you park in front of somebody else’s house. So when somebody parks in front of my house, I get a stabbing pain behind my eyes, because I am trying to stop the wave of red that wants to drop down and fog my eyes and muffle my hearing with an ocean roar and that scene from the Major Motion Picture “The Shining” where there’s those tuba sounds and a wave of Evil and then I shamble outside and climb on top of whoeverthefuck’s car is parked in front of my house and emit a barbaric yawp or whatever. I know, I know, I’m workin’ on it. It’s my Hot Button, man. 

I need to Accept and stuff, right? Most of the time when somebody violates the unwritten law of parking in my neighborhood it’s somebody who does not live in the neighborhood and they are going to the park for some sports or they are coming from another neighborhood with their dog so it can run around the field and shit and piss on everything including my front sidewalk and hey maybe they’ll pick up the dog’s waste with that little blue bag they are walking around with, and maybe they won’t, you know, if nobody’s looking, what’s the big deal, a little more poop on some grass, it’s natural—ARRGGHH. OK, you get a pass on the parking, this time, but I’m watching you, with your dog. Hot Button.

Or like at the movies, that’s a Hot Button I also need to work on, after the commercials and Coming Attractions and the completely unnecessary reminders that there is soda pop and candy and popcorn available in the lobby, after all that crap, when it’s all dark and movieish in the theater and somebody is using their goddamn glowing bright light handheld device, I say in my normal Indoor Voice (which is pretty much like shouting if it is during a quiet part of the movie) HEY SIR OR MADAM IT’S A MOVIE OVER HERE EXCUSE ME YOUR DEVICE IS BURNING LIGHT I NEVER REQUESTED INTO MY BRAIN PLEASE MAKE IT STOP OR JUST HOLD THE DEVICE LOWER OUT OF MY EYE LINE COULD YOU PLEASE DO THAT THANK YOU MOVIE, and then I go back to looking at the movie, and if somebody else piles on and gets into it with whoever is doing the Candy Game or texting or whatever I ask them to C’MON MAN EVERYBODY PLEASE BE QUIET I AM TRYING TO LISTEN TO THE MOVIE and then I try and watch some more of the movie but then if there’s any more sound or light I go out into the lobby and use my complete Outside Voice with the people who work at the theater which pretty much ruins the movie for me, and then I start complaining to anybody walking by about that horrible yellow goop they put on the popcorn at most theaters, that’s another Hot Button, but I’m working on it. I am working on all of this. Thank you. ν


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