Generally speaking, can we agree that I am not an easily irritated person? That I am more inclined to laugh than to develop a pet peeve, that I am not prone to road rage (unless you count cheerful singing of imprecatory Psalms during rush hour), and that whilst I might jerk the chain of a spam caller, I will never chew them out? Good. Understand then that when I confess to you a long-standing pet peeve of mine that I encountered yet again yesterday to such a degree that it is spilling into my writing today, this is not a passing annoyance. If I was a social justice warrior, I would blacking out social media screens and coming up with a power hashtag.
First I would have to actually go on social media. No. Just… no.
It was a long day. Not a bad day in the least, just long, so perhaps my thread of amusement was running a bit short by the end of the day when I made myself go into a strange Costco (and I do mean strange. You know how usually some friendly soul just glances at your card as you enter and nods while they count your head like the materialistic cattle you probably are? This one had digital scanners… with a friendly soul stopping every shopper, instructing them on how to wave their card just right so that it would read, which looks a lot like trying to fling a child’s discarded snot from your fingertips when it would rather stay with you the rest of the day). I will own my part of the problem: low on calories, long on time spent in traffic, mildly oversocialized, and missing my Quail. Also, Costco at 4:00 pm.
It was raining when I exited (side note: another strange thing that made me think there are interpersonal tensions at this Costco was that as the exit long was getting a bit thick, an employee jumped out of nowhere, Sharpied my receipt and told me to cut straight down the middle. Wow did that feel wrong… I half expected to get tackled out of nowhere by a determined pre-retiree wearing carpal tunnel braces and a sneer. Am I the only one that thinks there is a brilliant crime begging to be committed by anyone with the money to invest in a sharpie? No? Then forget I mentioned it). It does that over here, so still no excuse for what I witnessed on my way to the Earl of Towcester, who, I should mention, was parked out in the dingleberries of the parking lot. More on that in a minute.
A big shiny vehicle was pulled halfway off the main entrance road into the aisle closest to the store — where it stopped. Blocking other traffic, with no external indication of a handicap (apart from the lousy driving etiquette), while she sat behind a vehicle that was actively being loaded with groceries. This unattractive parking vulture lurked rudely while this poor guy scrambled to unload a very full cart into the back of his little car and I had to laugh to myself as I trudged past, because it turns out, I am a jerk.
Peaceable? Sure. But I have a downright Don Quioxote impulse to do battle against this particular brand of selfishness. Personally, when a vulture swoops in behind my car, whining for my parking space (don’t bother telling me there is a way to sit waiting for a parking spot and not be of a whining frame of mind. Just not true), I find a sudden urgency to do things like dust my dashboard, catch up on back episodes of podcasts I have never heard before, paint my nails, check my email… it is the only time that I am prone to poetry: in the context of justice.
Because here is the thing. Either you are able-bodied, in which case it will hurt you not at all to park further out and be a more considerate human being, or you have legitimate need for a shorter walk, in which case where is your handicap parking permit? What’s that? Toddlers? Recovering from short-term injury or surgery? Totally understand. Either use Instacart or drive in circles like the rest of the world. But this whole blocking traffic, putting pressure on some shopper who had the misfortune of attracting your attention, so that you can get the parking spot you want the most and feel entitled to is just gross. If this is you, then may you be blessed by consistently sitting behind someone trying to win something by calling into a radio station.
As I trekked out to the Earl, thinking that there ought to be a vulture of some kind that picks off the parking vultures, it hit me how often we do this as Christians. How often do we lurk behind our husbands/children/pastors/church ladies, waiting and watching for them to mess up? Will I look smarter or more holy if I catch them being foolish and sinful? Does catching someone else give me an excuse to look less carefully at my own sin? If my husband stumbles, does this daughter of Eve see opportunity to swoop into the parking spot of headship and undercut his God-given authority?
Circle the block. Choose to let love cover a multitude of sins rather than parking behind the people God has given you to journey with. God is perfect, and therefore not a perfectionist — show your children who God is in your dealings with them, your expectations of them. Give up your rights, your honors, your blisteringly inaccurate high opinion of yourself and instead, put on Christ.