Had a stressful little turn in Target – the kids with their ever-present sense of entitlement and incredible lack of thankfulness being the stress-makers – that led us after to the Roseville Library to drop off “The Blind Assassin” – brilliant; and “Toward the End of Time” – mostly great but a bit much about the old guy’s lower extremities. I pulled into the parking lot and dropped into one of about 11 unused handicap parking spots in front of the door (totally not my m.o., by the way – i’m usually the guy who gives others the dirty look when they do that), left my car door open in a sort-of “hey, don’t worry, i’m just dropping these here books off and will be out of the way before the 11th handicapped driver pulls up for sure”, but ran headlong into a puffed up gentleman who shouted at me. “Those spots are not for dropping off books!” He was absolutely right, of course, as it’s illegal to park there. I noticed then also that there was no book drop off there anymore.
The Roseville Library – which was recently rebuilt and features a mostly featureless interior and like so many other libraries now seems to want you to know it as a big space with computers with the actual books relegated to elsewhere – moved my book drop. I jumped back in my car, stung and a bit embarrassed as I’m not the guy who takes spots from handicapped people (have I made that perfectly clear?), whipped a u-turn and parked, actually closer to the building, in a drop off zone. The puffed up guy was pulling out of his spot, considerably less puffed up, and our eyes met again. He rolled down his window. I walked over and he actually apologized, “I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s just that my own mother…” I stopped him. “Man, you are absolutely right. Don’t you worry about it.” “There’s a drive up drop-off right over there,” he said, helpfully. “There is?” I asked. The Roseville Library folks decided to move that from the convenient and obvious front to tucked way in the back. “Yeah, right over there.” He pointed. “Thanks!” I said. And we parted.
Despite the discomfort, I loved the exchange. Now, for some reason, he was embarrassed. And yet I was embarrassed before. It ended so well. I practically had a new buddy -the same guy who looked like he might drop dead of an anger-induced aneurysm just moments before I was now patting on the shoulder through his car window.
After I used the book drop-off, I went back past where he was parked and noticed that he was in one of the spots “saved for vans and car pools only” right next to those spots for handicapped drivers. But I was cool with that – he had a couple of kids with him – and that constitutes a car pool (among other things) by my measure.