It’s a Neighborly Day in This Beautywood


Tuck is a Portuguese Water Dog. He doesn’t shed because he doesn’t have fur. Because of that, his hair needs to be cut about every six weeks. Have you ever tried to cut a dog’s hair? It is MUCH harder than it appears. That’s why we use a professional dog groomer who also bathes him, after letting him play with the other dog clients for a few hours. The expense is worth every penny, in my humble opinion.

But this isn’t a post about Tuck or what a good job our groomer does.

It’s about this morning. 9:00 am. Fourteen degrees on the thermometer. Very windy.

I drive Tuck to the dog “spa,” which is actually a house set back from a relatively busy street in our town. There is a decent-sized driveway in front of the house, which can accommodate about four cars. As I’m nearing the place, I can see that the car belonging to an employee is the only car parked in the driveway. I’m pleased because sometimes I hit it at the exact same time everybody is dropping off their dogs, and the driveway is full. If there isn’t any room, I have to park down the street and walk the dog in the bitter, biting cold, so I sigh in relief.

A second one follows the first sigh: this sigh full of frustration. I notice, as I get closer, that a car is parked at the bottom of the driveway, blocking entry for any other cars to park near the spa.

It’s not that I’m lazy (which I can be) or that I’m afraid my dog will run into traffic (which I am) nor is it the fact that it is friggin’ cold outside (which it is.) It isn’t that I am self-righteous (which, admittedly, I can be.) It isn’t even the fact that the car blocking the parking area is a Porsche SUV (which it is) and the woman who saunters out of the spa and climbs into the car as I lead my dog into the spa is wearing a fur jacket (which she is.)

Okay the Porsche/fur jacket thing bugs me but that’s my own prejudices rising up and it isn’t why this bothers me enough to write about it.

Inside the spa, I slowly defrost and mention to the groomer employee, the one with the car in the driveway, that I was surprised that somebody would park her car the way this woman did. It seems so inconsiderate. I should mention that this employee and I know each other beyond the spa; we are friendly; she’s often cared for Tuck when we’ve been out of town. So she trusts me.

I say my thing and she shakes her head and lets out a tempered laugh.

“Happens all the time,” she says. “I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to wait several minutes for a person who’s blocked the driveway to come out so I can park my car and get to work. And you know how people love to stand around and chat when they come in here? Sometimes I wait ten minutes or more, just because somebody didn’t think to pull into one of the parking spots.”

This is what gets to me: It’s just as easy to pull into the parking spot. If you’re in a rush, getting out won’t take more time. If you want to be close to the door, the parking spot is even closer to the door than the bottom of the driveway. If you want the world to think you’re important, there are more visible places to park your Porsche and strut around in your fur jacket (Can’t keep my prejudices hidden. Sorry.)

How thoughtless does one have to be to block off access for other people? Who are probably her neighbors. Possibly her friends. Or maybe people she doesn’t know. Doesn’t matter. It is so self-centered that it depresses me. If we aren’t looking out for each other on the small things, what’s going to happen when something significant comes along, something that necessitates support or at least consideration from others?

Tirade over. Sara steps off her soapbox. She also admits that many people with Porsches and fur coats are kind and lovely people. And most people don’t block other people out of pure selfishness. Mr. Rogers taught her that a long time ago.

Can you all share stories of kind things you saw somebody do recently? I need some help climbing out of the hole my mind has dug for me.


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4 thoughts on “It’s a Neighborly Day in This Beautywood

  1. Whoa! I’d be tempted to toss eggs on the windshield!
    But, ok, something kind. Maybe thoughtless people like that just don’t know what they are doing. That must be it. They must be mentally challenged and we need to feel sorry for them. But, the eggs are very tempting…

    And now the kind story: In Calgary, with all its snow, there are “snow angels” who shovel your walk when they are out shoveling their own. I really appreciate that. I also appreciate the little girl who ran after me in the drugstore to give me the shopping bag I had dropped. And I appreciate the cashier at the grocery store: I was looking for my keys before taking my groceries out, said I couldn’t find them, and she went to customer service and got them for me. I had dropped them in the snow and someone had turned them in 🙂

    1. Your kind stories did the job. I feel like I need to hear these stories to keep myself from sinking into a “where did the good people go” state of mind. They’re clearly in Calgary. And I know they are where I live too. And for the other ones, I’ll continue to hold back from tossing eggs, although that is an idea worth considering.

So what do you think?