Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Helping Neighbors Remember Not to Double-Park

 I live in a relatively nice apartment complex on the southwest end of town. It is well manicured, has a variety of amenities, and generally my neighbors are conscientious of one another. Like all such environments, however, we do have a few bad apples that insist on making it worse for the rest of us.
 I am a fan of the “social contract”, the unwritten rules of our society that allow us to tactfully deal with one another with a minimum fuss or inconvenience. You see, this is an aspect of our lives that has steadily decreased over time. Back in the 1800’s, a gentleman did not leave his home without his hat, his cane, his gloves, and his pistol. Obviously, people were much more polite toward one another, if anything simply because you ran the risk of being shot if you were not.
 Sadly, these kinds of repercussions are frowned upon today. As a matter of fact, we have created an environment which breeds a total lack of respect toward one’s fellow man.
 I am trying to change that.
 There are those who, whether through lack of concern or by feeling that they deserve to do so, park their vehicles in a manner that uses two parking spaces instead of one. This greatly inconveniences the rest of us by limiting the available spaces, particularly near the entrance of our homes. As a response, I wrote the following letter:
 Dear Sir or Miss,
 As you awoke this morning, you may have noticed your vehicle is occupying two parking spaces, while it is in fact only needs one. While I am certain this is merely an oversight, it has none-the-less inconvenienced at least one patron of this apartment complex. Furthermore, it has breached the social contract.
 What is the social contract, you may ask? The social contract is all of the unwritten rules we have agreed upon, as a society, in order to help things run more smoothly, things like etiquette and "common" courtesy. While actual laws may exist for some of these courtesies, they are rarely enforced, the general public hoping that common sense and self-control will rule the day. The social contract includes such things as not touching another person or their property without permission, not surpassing the maximum limit of items at the express check-out, not going in doors marked “exit”, etc.
 We have learned that harsh looks or even words are not enough anymore to help maintain the social contract, as some people are becoming jaded to others' attempts to shame them into conforming for their own welfare and the betterment of their fellow citizen. Instead, we have chosen to alert the violator of their breach, often harshly, and to punish them with an equally inconvenient breach of the social contract.  It is our hope that by inconveniencing you, you will be more aware of the need to avoid inconveniencing others.
 It is our sincerest hope that you discover which piece of your vehicle has been removed as a means to teach you this lesson in etiquette. Until you have discovered and replaced this missing part, we suggest that you do not travel over 35 miles an hour, that you do not travel more than 20 miles, and that you definitely stay off the highway. The life you save may be your own.
 In the future, we hope that you have more consideration for your fellow man. Have a nice day!
 I have had to use this letter once.  Simply printing and placing this letter under the violator's windshield wiper was enough. Since then, there has been no double parking on my part of the lot. All it takes is a little consideration for your neighbors and a little reckless creativity. 

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