This story, by Lola at Women: We Shall Overcome (awesome blog), reminded me of an incident that happened to me a few years back.
My husband and I needed something or other from Home Depot. On a Saturday. Oh yeah, you know that's fun, right?
So we drove to the closest one, which happened to be in a very crowded strip mall in Mesa, Arizona, and then we drove around the parking lot for several minutes looking for a parking space.
Finally, success! A car with a person getting into it! So I stopped in the lane and waited for the person to finish getting into her car and back out of her space.
I don't know why, but after getting into her car and starting it, the woman sat there a while, not moving, before veeerrrryy sloooowly beginning to back out of the space.
Meanwhile, a car pulled into the lane and stopped right behind me. Then, a man approached from the left side and behind my car (coming from the store exit) and walked around the front of my car and approached the driver's door of his car, which was parked directly to my right.
And then the man got into the car to my right, started his car, and put it into reverse. . . . And then he started backing up.
I couldn't pull forward or back because of the other cars in the lane, so I hit the horn -- twice quickly and then a loud long blast!
My husband yelled out his open window, "STOP!!"
A man and woman were walking, and then running, up the row and they were waving frantically and yelling "STOP! STOP!"
But the man backed right into my car. Kind of hard. There was a very large dent in the passenger door. We were lucky my husband wasn't injured.
And then the man, hereafter to be known as "The Idiot," got out of his car and yelled at me, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!?"
WTF? I tried to remain calm, but it is difficult when faced with such irate stupidity.
So I yelled back at him: "What am I doing? What the hell are you doing? You just backed into MY car! And you knew I was there!! You had to walk around my car to get into yours!!"
"Well you should have moved by now!"
"WHAT?!? Didn't you look behind you before you backed out of your space? You're damn lucky you didn't just run over a person walking!!"
[Under my breath: "God what an idiot!!"]
The Idiot then started to get back in his car, saying he was leaving. I reminded him that Arizona law requires drivers to share their license and insurance information whenever they are involved in a collision. He refused to give it, insisting that the collision wasn't his fault. (Uh, yeah.... right....). Someone called the police on a cell phone, but then someone else said they wouldn't come because it was private property. I don't know if that's true, but the police did not arrive at any time before we left, so maybe it was true.
The Idiot wanted to leave and demanded, loudly, that I "Move that piece of shit car so I can get on with my life!!" . . .
. . . That was the moment when I realized I had the upper hand in this negotiation.
So I smiled, and calmly told him I'd move my car right after we exchanged license and insurance information, as required by Arizona law. I got out a piece of paper and made a big show of (very slowly) recording the make and model of his car, the license plate number, and the VIN from the dashboard.
He yelled at me the entire time -- things like, "This is all your fault, you bitch! Get away from my car!" and "I'll have you arrested for false imprisonment if you don't let me leave!" I told him he was free to go anytime he wanted; but that I wasn't planning to move my car until I had obtained the information I wanted and/or filed the police report. After that I ignored him and wrote down the information. I did not touch his car. The witnesses offered me their names and telephone numbers. I wrote those down, too.
The man yelled some more about what a moron I was and how the collision was all my fault. I smiled politely and said, "Yell all you like, I'm not moving my car until after we have exchanged insurance information, as required by law." I slowly wrote down my own license and insurance information for him. He looked like he wanted to hit me, but the witnesses were still standing there, and my husband looked like he might hit back, so finally the man broke down and got out his license and insurance information, cursing the entire time.
I wrote it down. I moved my car. He drove away. The police still hadn't arrived, so I parked my car in his spot and my husband and I did our shopping and then we drove home.
His insurance later paid to fix my car, with no questions asked. Didn't even need those witnesses. I had the feeling from his agent that this was not the first time The Idiot had done something ... idiotic.