Thursday, September 23, 2010

How I Got Ambushed in a Heinous Class War

When it comes to class war, the death of civility, and hot severed heads, last Sunday took the proverbial cake.

I was carrying said head in a brown paper bag (okay, it was a chicken from the Roli Roti truck, but its heat and heft made it feel like a head) when I was nearly run down by a black Panzer tank.The tank was honking directly at me and when I turned from my mailbox to see who it was, I was scorched by the eyes of the world’s maddest blonde. But I mean really, this woman was Mad Hatter mad, Mad Hatter Tea Party mad, nearly frothing.

“You are such the B word!” she hollered at me, and I do not think she meant Ballerina.

“You are the most inconsiderate person I’ve ever met!” she continued, her rage just unfurling.  A statement which struck me as odd since I’d never met her. I’d seen her and run, but that’s different. I pretty much do that with all of my neighbors.

“You always park in front of my house and when my grown-up children want to come over they can’t because you have taken their space!”

Not to be too insanely defensive, but let me just say that in the seven years that I have lived in this upscale neighborhood, I have learned never to park in the same spot twice for fear that someone will decide that my car has been rudely abandoned and have it towed to the netherworld.  Let me also say that there is always but always plenty of parking available here.  Oodles. Acres. Vast empty plains.

“That’s the difference between being a Homeowner and being a Renter,” she went on, like Dr. Laura spewing the R word.

“I should call the police on you right now!” she said next. But, since I know for a fact that parking one’s not-that-attractive fourteen year old car on a public street whose garages and driveways otherwise glow with shiny new Panzers might be unaesthetic but not—so far anyway—strictly illegal, I spoke.

“Go ahead,” I told her, pointing my bag toward my in-law apartment. “I live right down there.”

“Oh, I know where you live all right,” she intoned, and she intoned it so bitterly it made me think she might very well be happy to kill me.  Or, being a homeowner, to hire some, you know, renter to do it. And with this I thought she must surely have finished with me. But she hadn’t.

“The problem with you is, you have no life!” was her crazed coup de grace, and my immediate thought was: Oh My God, how can she tell?

I was dressed in active wear, for crissake! I had just actively hunted down my own dinner, its lovely provencal fragrance filling my lifeless nose as she spoke!

And then I was outraged myself: Wait a minute, I thought.  I have no life? Excuse me, lady, but I have four husbands! 

And I have a date with one of them now!

Which, thank god, I did. My plan, before driving my horrible car to my local Farmer’s Market to pick up the lovely provencal head, had been to stick said head into my fridge before driving up to the city to enjoy a chatty lunch with Mister Ed (just a coincidence) Head. A man who, despite owning a home of his own, has never once tried to mow down a renter.

And it was while I was recounting this all to Ed Head, over Ativan (mine) and green curry pot stickers (ours), that I came to see every obvious thing: 

That the rich really do hate the poor (and/or those whom they just perceive to be poor), especially if their cars or mere bodies dare to blight their own gilded landscapes. Moreover, that the way that blonde made me feel for an hour (okay, a week) is the way every immigrant and/or person who dares to harbor an iota of pigment is made to feel every hideous day. And that this situation just gets worse by the minute.

And also, of course, that the Panzer lady might very well have just gone off her meds.

But hey, so have I.  And boy do I miss them.


  1. My late Momma was like your embittered neighbor when it came to her tiny parking space--and we lived in the far reaches of the Outer Sunset!

    She's been gone for almost a decade. After reading your latest experience, I can only wonder if she didn't press the delete button by mistake...

  2. I think you're on to something, Ms. Gonick. And I'm hoping you go in the dark of night (or get one of your husbands to go) and slash her tires. But you've have to break into her garage to do it.
    P.s. I proudly drive a 24 year-old Honda CRX, a car so old it doesn't have cup holders.

  3. I had a crazy, gin-soaked across-the-street neighbor who called the police if anyone visiting me parked in front of her house. She had a driveway and garage and her daughter avoided her like the plague, and Boulder street parking isn't illegal, but it sent her to the phone every time it happened. I had to warn everyone not to park anywhere near her house. And if I had a party, no matter how tame, she'd call repeatedly to warn me that she was going to call the police. Damn! They're out there, Ms. Gonick ... but your owner neighbor doesn't have four husbands and she's not only blindingly blonde, she's probably pea green with envy.

  4.'s a bit of a stretch to ......stretch this example to epitomize how the poor and racial minorities, but if it makes you feel better (and I know it does, it really does) go for it. You are one of the few people on whom foolishness accessorizes well. That is a compliment, not a slight. Love to read you.

  5. Every one of your lovely responses inspired me to make a subsequent post, so thank you, as always, for your kindness and help. And, yes, Paul, it is indeed a bit of a stretch, and I felt the stretch even as I was making it, but it was also a genuine stretch if you know what I mean, and I think that you must or you could not read what I write without barfing.