It wasn’t a very busy day in the parking lot, so three nutballs in four hours was actually a lot.
The first guy was driving a motorcycle; a woman was riding with him. He wanted to go the wrong way on the one-way loop. I was signaling (head shaking, hand gestures) no, No, NO! I walked up to talk to him, to tell him we don’t charge people on motorcycles, but to please not take up a parking space a car could use, to park somewhere small. He told me he wanted to park right over there, gesturing to the area he had been trying to drive the wrong way to. I said he could, but he’d have to go around the one-way loop. He did not want to go around. I warned he might have a head-on collision if he went the wrong way and met a car coming from the other direction. He was adamant that he was going to go the wrong way, which made me adamant that he was not going to go the wrong way. The woman on the back of the bike was trying to convince him to go the right way, and finally he zoomed off in the direction of traffic.
I don’t know where he parked, but it wasn’t right over there, which I would have been able to see from my post in the front. I don’t know if they even walked the trail. I didn’t notice them walk past me to get to the trail, just saw them zoom off on the bike some time later. Maybe they just used the restroom and had a picnic (or an argument).
I’m not big on rules just for the sake of rules, and I don’t see myself as some kind of enforcer. However, it seems like a good idea to follow traffic conventions in a parking lot. If 99% of drivers are going one way, it seems stupid to me to try to go in the opposite direction just to save a few minutes.
However, the second whackadoodle of the day also decided to ignore the “one-way” sign.
I was collecting money from folks in another car when I saw him pull in. Instead of pulling in behind the stopped car, he sped his shiny grey car in the wrong direction, right past the “one-way” sign, and pulled into one of the front parking spaces. I turned around and watched the whole thing, all the while muttering no, No, NO!
After I finished with the people I was helping, I walked over to the shiny grey car and stood right outside the driver’s door with a smile on my face and my pile of parking passes in my hand. The driver futzed around in the car for several long minutes. When he finally turned his head, he was visibly startled (he actually jumped) when he saw me. I just kept smiling.
The driver got out of the car, saying I had scared him. I kept smiling.
The man’s short grey hair was stylishly tousled. His white shirt was unbuttoned too far down. He was handsome, but I could tell he knew he was handsome and used it to get his way, which made him significantly less handsome in my eyes.
He had a couple of big-eyed, sad looking children in the backseat.
I gently told him he had just gone the wrong way on a one-way loop. I continued to smile at him. I also told him there was a $5 parking fee.
He pulled out a wad of cash and started fumbling for a $5 bill. He said he’d been driving a long time and was very tired. He said he hadn’t understood the sign. He said–repeatedly–that he was sorry.
I was tempted to tell him he shouldn’t be driving if he was so tired. I was tempted to tell him he certainly shouldn’t be driving if he couldn’t understand a sign reading “one way” with an arrow pointing in the direction he needed to go!
I did tell him he needed to be careful in the parking lot because there were many children and dogs darting about. That’s usually enough to make a normal person drive carefully, but this guy actually looked around and said, Where? Where are they? I realized he thought he was some kind of big shot, and he was accustomed to doing whatever he wanted.
At that point, he’d extracted a five from his wad of cash, and I took it from him. He was (insincerely) apologizing, and I said breezily, All is forgiven, as I walked away.
I think he knew exactly what he was doing when he pulled into that spot. He thought he was going to bypass the parking fee and get a space near the front of the lot. I thwarted at least half of his spoiled-brat-man plan.
The last whackadoodle of the day was in the passenger’s seat.
The car pulled in, and I walked over to speak to the driver. When I asked him if they were here for the trail, he was like, Huh? What? Is that where we are? I couldn’t tell if he was kidding or if he really didn’t know where he was.
The man in the passenger seat started yelling at me. Are you really going to charge me to take a picture of a tree?!?
I stayed very calm. I said, Oh, no, there’s no charge to take pictures.
I turned my attention to the driver, and told him, You can drop him off here, circle around the loop, and pick him up after he takes his photo.
This idea did not go over well. The passenger started yelling at me again. He couldn’t believe he had to pay to take a picture of a tree!
I calmly explained that it was free to walk the trail and see the trees, that the charge was for parking. I also said again that he was welcome to get out of the car and take a photo while the driver made the loop.
Then I realized the asshole thought he was going to bully me into letting them park in the lot without paying.
I told them if they wanted to park for free, they could exit the parking lot and look for one of the dirt turnouts on the side of the road. I told them it was free and legal to park in those areas. Those guys suddenly got very nice and friendly and thankful–total attitude change.
I don’t understand why they didn’t simply ask me if there were any free parking in the area. It would have saved us all some time and grief, but I think the jerk was hoping for a fight.
To read more stories of the parking lot, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/07/07/bill-clinton-rude-lesbians-and-a-hypocrite/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/09/parking/.