So LM's daughter (LMD) got her driver's permit recently.
I took LMD out to begin teaching her the basics of driving. We found a nice empty parking lot next to a pretty-much-abandoned strip mall in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. There are lots of pretty-much-abandoned lots here lately, given the economic downturn, which (although it is finally starting to improve) has left many businesses bankrupt.
This pretty-much-abandoned strip mall had one tenant remaining: [Unnamed Midwestern State] University. Why that University has a branch here, I have no idea. Perhaps it is trying to compete with "University of Phoenix," which seems to have opened branches in pretty much every state. Anyway, there were no cars in a whole huge section of the lot, and about 8 cars in another section of it.
We started in the section with no cars. After quite a while of driving around, practicing turning, stopping, turning the other way, stopping with the tires on exactly this line or that pothole or that crack in the road, accelerating gently, accelerating gently, turning sharply, stopping quickly, trying to run over that piece of paper, turning gradually, stopping slowly and smoothly, etc... I was running out of fun ideas... I thought it would be fun to try driving around real cars and perhaps try parking
So we did.
And LMD parked next to a car on her left. Then parked next to a car on her right. She did a great job both times -- right between the lines, no problem. So I had her park between two cars. Then, as she was about to back out of the space, she got a shocked look on her face as she looked past me through the passenger side window: "Mom! Mom! Look!
There was a security guard standing next to the car. I rolled down the window.
Security Guard ("SG"): What are you doing?
[Seriously? It isn't obvious?!? Whatever...]
LM: Practicing driving.
SG: Well, you can't do that here.
LM: Why not? It's a public parking lot.
SG: Well, I can't have you driving around my students' cars. If you crash into one of them, that would not be good.
LM: First of all, she's not going to hit a car. Second of all, I'm insured, so if she does hit one, we'll fix it. I promise. It won't be a problem.
SG: No. You can drive over there (pointing to totally empty lot) if you want, but not here.
[Thinking: "Says you and what army? Who made you emperor of all you survey?"]
LM: We did that already. She's got the hang of driving around nothing. She needs to practice around things now.
SG: Well, you can set up some traffic cones over there if you like.
LM (sarcastically-enthusiastically): Oh, that would be cool! Do you have some of those?
LM: Oh... well, that makes two of us. (Rolls window up.)
LMD (in a shouted-whisper tone of voice): (MOM! STOP! YOU SOUND JUST LIKE GRANDPA!!)
... I guess I come by it honestly. At least I didn't ask if he had the authority to call someone with authority, as grandpa would have done.
Again, I felt a little bad afterwards. He was just doing what he perceived as being his job, even if he was overstepping his bounds a bit. I didn't feel as bad as I did after my unfortunately snarky encounter with the clueless lady at the church that I wrote about last week. But not as justified as I felt after being a little mean to the clueless and overeager Adobe sales rep. Sort of somewhere in-between.
Because yes, he was overstepping his bounds. It's not like there were any spaces marked "reserved for __ University students"--so presumably any drunk or otherwise piss-poor driver could come park anywhere in the lot, next to "his" student's cars, so why pick on us?!? (At least this particular novice driver was being supervised by a very-experienced driver who previously has taught others to drive buses!) Answer: because he thought he had the power to do so and he was bored sitting around doing nothing. And he had that air of "I've think I've got power and I'm going to
use it even though I really don't have the right to do so" that just
irritates the crud out of me.
So there you have it. Judge me if you must. The short story is, "I don't deal well with stupid people."