A Packet of Biscuits

Last night, on my way out of ICLE, I got into a bit of a tussle in the parking lot. I’d just pulled out of my space and gotten in the painfully long conga line of cars heading for the exit, two turns of the screw below. I was just about to make sure I had enough cash to ransom my way out when it happened.

Someone tried to pull around me to cut in line.

She looked friendly enough; her car was a lot less ostentatious than many of the lawyer-mobiles in the line. She didn’t seem to be particularly frantic, the way someone in a hurry would be.

It was just that she’d pulled up behind me, then swerved out to my left and scooted two places ahead. I didn’t know whether she planned to pull back in as soon as space opened up, or whether she meant to roll all the way down to the booth at the bottom and only then force her way in. I just knew that I’d be damned if I’d let some arrogant young hotshot pull rank on me without a mighty good reason.

So I pulled up on the ass of the car in front of me and determined to stay right there. No safety margin, no cautious gentle garage-style maneuvers. No, I was going to make sure there wasn’t a spare inch of space for anyone to sneak in.

We proceeded on down like that; the car in front of me didn’t seem any more inclined to let her in. With cars pulling out of spaces and whatnot, she kept roughly on station down an entire level. Then, near the middle of the ramp, the available space narrowed to accomodate the elevator bank. You could just squeeze two cars by, but the line heading for the exit was squarely in the middle.

As the ramp constricted, we pulled closer and closer. I drive an old car; I have no fear of scratches. By the time we got to the choke point, we were more or less side-by-side. I’d moved enough to the right that she could squeak through in parallel (which she did) but I had about eighteen inches on her in front. If she wanted to get in front of me, she was going to have to merge into my side. If she pulled out ahead to jump in front once things opened up, I was prepared to pull off into a parking space, run out, and physically block her from leaving until she explained exactly what kind of a rush she was in that justified cutting in line.

I braced myself for possible impact; I set my jaw with steely resolve. I prepared for close confrontation and determined not to back down. When we got to the end of the constriction, the next move would be hers. Would she fold now that I’d called her bluff? Would she be crazy enough to ram me? Or would she pull along side the line of cars and watch mournfully as we refused to let her back in? Just a few more inches …

… and then she pulled ahead, zipped past the entire line, drove up to the lane for people with parking passes, flipped her keytag at the reader, and drove off into the night while the rest of us dopes waited patiently for our turn to pay our eight dollars.

Boy, did I feel like an almost completely and utterly foolish person.