23 December 2008

Blah Humbug

There's nothing worse than having to go near a CostCo right before Christmas. But, if you are like me and need need need your venti-soy-latte, you tough it out.

I'm not off the sauce yet. I figured it was futile to try right now. That's what the New Year is for, no? So, I've got a few more days of daily pit stops at Starbucks. However, the last two days have been nightmarish. Crazed last-minute holiday shoppers plague the road, reading lists, yelling on cell phones, ignoring lights and signs and double-yellow lines. Merry fricken Christmas indeed. But, every once in a while, someone slips a smile and wishes you a happy holiday, and you recall what it is supposed to/used to be like.

Yesterday, in my battle to the 'Bucks, I got lucky. In spite of (or perhaps because of) the rain, I found a space on my first lap of the little parking area that falls in the hollow of my Starbucks, a Subway, a GNC and a Verizon store, which I think all CostCo shoppers should be banned from. Really. You have the rest of the acre. Let me and my people have this meager parcel. At least it's a quick turnover there, and thus should be left to those who are desperate for caffeine, lunch, vitamins, or like to overpay for spotty cellular service and not people buying an 87-pack of toilet paper and a two-ton ham.

Today's traffic was horrific. Probably because of the lack of rain. Tempers were flaring. You could see it through the windshields of the people parked in the thruways to the exits. The whole mega-mall itself is beyond a fustercluck. The way they set up the stop signs and traffic lights took special effort to make it all the art of bottlenecking that it is. Bravo, ass-hat developers and city planners who pay no attention and sign off on anything, bravo! Yet, the best Starbucks on my side of town sits there. And so, I deal.

I did one lap, and no luck. No one even walking out of a shop, which meant CostCo shoppers had infiltrated the lot entirely. Drat. I pulled into the little side lot because I saw brake lights. No luck. It was just someone who wanted to sit in the car and toy with people jonesing for coffee like me. I turned around and started to make another lap when a man and his son coming from CostCo smiled and waved and pointed over their mega-pack of paper towels to their SUV a few spots away. I smiled back and said thank you, pulled out and signaled toward their spot.

At the same time, a man in a Passat wagon was coming around the corner from the opposite direction. By the rules of parking lots, that space should be his. And, had he not been in the middle of the two lanes, I would have waved off the CostCo dad and kept going. But I had nowhere to go with the Passat-er at an angle hogging all the room. (It's a really small lot.)

CostCo dad smiled at me with thumbs up and rushed to pack up the back of his Suburban, really please he could give me his spot. I shook my head and pointed to the Passat-er. I mouthed, "It's his." The Passat-er and I made eye contact, which I thought communicated the situation. It shall be yours, dude. I've just got no place to go until you park. Seriously. If I moved forward, then the Suburban belonging to CostCo dad wouldn't be able to back out, the Passat-er wouldn't be able to get the spot, and we'd all just sit there in another fustercluck. So, I didn't move.

Now, I must admit that CostCo dad was totally ignoring the Passat-er. In his own way, he was bequeathing the spot to me. It was sweetly gallant, but it belonged to the Passat. It's Christmas. You don't want to be quibbling over a parking spot at Christmas. Do you?

CostCo dad closed his hatch and, to my surprise, the Passat-er sped toward me, made an abrupt halt and rolled down his window. With his cell phone still to his ear (illegally, I might add -- hello, hands-free), he said rather snottily, "You know, that spot should be mine, but I'm going to give it to you, since you are obviously so determined to have it. I'll just give it to you. I just wanted you to know that it should be mine." I noted the crusty stream of bird shit running down the side of his car door. It seemed a fair part of this performance was for whoever was on the phone.

"You know," I said, "I was actually not going to take the space, but, since you are such a generous guy, I'll take it! Thanks!" In the spirit of Christmas, I stopped short of calling him an ass-hat, flipping him the bird or pointing out the massive trail of avian dung his elbow was hovering over. Not worth it.

The funny thing was, the Passat-er had been blocking another car who was trying to get out, so, when he passed, and CostCo dad pulled out, there were two spots open. Room for everyone. And, were he not blinded by the holiday spirit, he might have seen that as well. I hope he caught a glimpse in his rear view mirror. Hindsight being twenty-twenty and all.

The Starbucks was empty. My latte was perfect, and I made a quick escape out of the mega-mall only to get home and realize I have a few more things to pick up from the store. Blah humbug indeed.

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