“You Are An Asshole”
Posted by Michael Vacanti
It was a warm weekday afternoon in late September.
The kind of day you probably should have put on shorts, but already made a habit of wearing pants.
Leaves turning colors, and the polarizing feeling of cool air blowing on your face and hot sun on your skin.
I was driving from the Eden Prairie Library, a staple grind spot in the Minnesota suburbs, toward a nearby mall for a drink meeting.
With 90 minutes to spare, my plan was to purchase a pack of gum, find a table in the food court, and smash the keys of my laptop until something good happened.
As I threw the truck in park and opened the driver side door, I heard a voice from behind me.
I looked back, over my left shoulder to find a woman climbing out of her Volkswagen Beetle.
This was not any woman though; no younger than 75, she was rocking a cowboy hat covering a thick head of white hair.
My initial impression was mild annoyance at the forward nature of her demand, mixed with an approving assessment of her movement on the frontal plane, as she lunged laterally from her own driver side seat onto the pavement.
“I can’t pull forward, the car is too long.”
I explained, slightly confused why I felt the need to defend myself. After all, she was parked both rear and adjacent to me, so her car was completely unaffected by my parking job.
“Well then park somewhere else!!!”
She screeched even louder.
Taken aback now, I looked at my Chevy Silverado. Well, not MY Silverado. But the car I am driving, an unbelievably gracious loan from my 2nd family, the Moen’s, to use during my time back in Minnesota.
There was just one slight problem… Or, a pretty big problem, I guess.
The Chevy Silverado is a massively long vehicle.
It takes up roughly 1.3 parking spots in length.
So, the ideal way to park this beast is to find a “pull-thru” spot as far away from your destination as possible.
Rather than explain this cordially, I went with an elementary, illogical rebuttal, not unlike something my hot-tempered 6th grade self would have done:
“YOU PARK SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!”
Cowgirl didn’t miss a beat, firing right back,
“YOU… ARE AN ASSHOLE!!!”
I almost chuckled under my breath as I took those first few steps away from the scene and towards the mall.
Then I paused.
This is silly.
And without much thought, I instinctively turned and approached our dear old protagonist.
(I am the antagonist in this story)
“I probably am being an asshole,” I said with a smile. “My name is Mike.”
We exchanged an awkward but warm hand shake between my right and her left.
“You see, this truck is just so long! It can’t fit in one parking spot.”
I told her, as she further examined the situation.
“It’s actually not my car either, so I am not very comfortable driving it just yet.”
A lie, I am a great driver, but I was trying to make myself relatable.
“Oh dear… I see, I see.”
I patiently waited for Edie as she scanned the parking lot for a solution.
“What about that spot?”
“That’s a good idea” I told her, “but the back end of the truck will stick out too far and it will cause trouble for cars trying to get by behind me.
“Wow, I see, I see.”
I smiled, and continued to wait for her.
“You should get a small car like mine!”
I smiled again and told her I’d consider it.
“I’m sorry I called you that nasty word!!!”
This time, I laughed.
“I actually liked it! You have fire, Edie.”
Then I asked if she was going into Target, and she said she was.
We walked toward the doors together, I told her I was sorry for how I acted and that it was great meeting her, and we went our separate ways.
I then found a quiet space behind the building and pulled out my phone to recap the experience for a vlog on my youtube channel, which you should definitely be subscribed to.
While recording, I realized something….
I didn’t do a “good” thing here.
I actually didn’t do anything for her benefit.
I did something for me.
By having erroneously dug my boots in the ground, but then having been just egoless enough to apologize, I made myself feel better.
If I marched off after being called an asshole, having upset this stranger, I would have felt worse about myself. About my day. And who I am.
And that’s the takeaway.
Be a good person and try to act without ego, not because you are oh-so-great and making the world a better place, but because on a selfish level, you will benefit from it every single time.
And maybe the world becomes just a little better in the process.