Resisting The Overwhelming Need To Be Petty
Ok we are all human. One thing about that is, it makes us subject to our very weak, vulnerable, not-so-positive characteristics. These aspects of us can be obstacles we will find difficult to overcome and many times we may not even have the desire to fight off these same undesirables.
All that build up is to try to make my story a bit more palatable. Okay I am actually trying to justify a particular behavior, that I am not quite proud of. Belonging to the gray brigade is a badge of honor that we do not always wear proudly. Especially when many of us aren’t exactly gray (thanks to hair/ color enhancing techniques), but nonetheless it is still a badge of honor. Honor is something that is bestowed on one not necessarily because of self-proclamation or even something that was intentionally done. It is given because one is oftentimes deserving of it but did not consciously seek the adulation. Let us move into the other direction, to the land of petty.
I make attempts to separate myself from certain situations and certain beings. I do this because I do NOT want to be committed to these same things and individuals. Keeping the expectation not low but nonexistent. Don’t misunderstand this, I am able and willing to help, and I will it is the obligatory socializing that comes as a reward for good deeds that I am not fond of. A simple “thank you” will suffice, and all parties can return to their respective spots.
Residing in a complex where the individuals fit into a certain classification has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. I gave up a degree of privacy for cost-effectiveness. I sacrificed a bit of luxury for convenience. I let go of these two things of my own free will and had virtually no regret, note I said virtually… My complex has many individuals of varying health conditions, the economic status is also a challenge, then there is the demographic in general. I realized when I came to this place it was going to be a place to rest my head; I would be cordial but not overly friendly, approachable, nor accommodating. Humans…we are such curious creatures. After the initial queries things began to calm down. Residents learned the new stranger was strange and perhaps stand-offish. But she was polite, helpful, and had a sense of pride in the community. Characteristics many of them lacked.
However, all of us wants/needs to be special. If it is as simple as seniority or complex as self-proclaimed entitlement these things make themselves known. WE are discussing petty here. At my residence there are no garages, a luxury I miss but have adjusted to. The weather here is not that extreme, we have a secured building, but no security gate to access our parking lot. We also do NOT have assigned spaces. Here it comes, that “seniority/ entitlement stuff”. There are a select number of individuals who have parked in a certain space so often they feel as though that spot belongs to them exclusively. Only outsiders park in the spots when these said individuals leave and if they return to find “their” spots occupied there is a sense that a true violation has taken place. I found myself buying into this culture before I actually knew what had happened.
I selected an area that I wanted to park my vehicle in. That area soon was narrowed down to a couple of spaces that fit my need/desires/ liking best. Several things were taken into account. What individual tended to park in the same area was a factor, as well as the car they drove and its condition. I was not upset if I vacated the spot and returned to find it taken, I simply moved to another. However, someone parked in “my” prime spot and stayed there all day one day. Then the next day they were again in THE SPOT. Now as I said there are several that can serve the purpose, but this had become my favorite. I would never confront anyone about parking in a non-handicap unassigned space, but after a couple days it did feel personal. I found myself looking out my window to see if the spot was available so I could move my car into THE SPOT. I felt the need to reclaim this unassigned spot that “I” had selected for myself. I did move my car back to my space of choice a couple of times and in the past that was all that was required for someone to get the point that space was basically taken. This did not seem to be the case this time. Now I was taking it personal. I found myself seizing any and all opportunities to take that space back. If it was late at night, if I was on my way out (because I am not tied to any real schedule) I initially pulled into that space if not for the person parking in the space, but for the other residents to see and possibly take notice and or report it to that person. I was delaying and altering my life for the sake of a parking spot.
Subconsciously I knew it was being petty. I knew I could park blocks away and because I was in decent physical shape and my car was properly insured, there really was no issue. Yet I continued to allow this to be something I took notice of. Ironically a couple things had transpired in a relatively short period of time. One of the key reasons I parked where I did was because there was an obnoxious drunk guy that used to make it his business to talk to me. My upbringing would only allow me to be so rude, so condescending … basically he never got it and if he did his intoxication facilitated him forgetting and speaking the next time he saw me any way. Avoidance was my only refuge. However, he moved away. I was thrilled. This freed up another area I could feel comfortable parking my vehicle in. Yet I still paid attention to where I used to park. Finally, I came to terms with “my petty”. It was a night that the weather was rather inclement. I looked out my window and saw the space was open. For an instant I imagined myself getting dressed, grabbing my keys and moving my car to a space that was farther away from the door, a space that would remove me from the comfort I had settled into for the night. THE SPOT. I was disappointed in myself, but happy for the realization that I was in fact being “PETTY” and it did not matter. Happily, I did not make that move, it was the first step in my overcoming one phase of my “petty”. I look forward to NOT allowing that to happen to me again. Even though I realize I have that in me, and I sincerely hope it does not manifest in the form of a parking space again.