Bad parking jobs: A taxonomy
The Afternoon Drunk
Look, we can see messing up this easiest-of-parking-jobs if you’re driving a tank (or your grandparents’ aging, boat-sized Oldsmobile). But if you’re sober, you should be able to keep all four wheels of a subcompact car away from the curb on the first try, for the sake of pedestrians and other drivers alike.
OBNOXIOUSNESS RATING: 3
This insidious car attaches itself to the host’s road-side flank. Sometimes the infection is fairly benign, as in the case pictured. Other times, if the host is already parallel parked in a tight spot, The Parasite becomes a far more serious affliction, causing fistfights, slashed tires, and in the most severe cases, attempted drives down the sidewalk. Often spotted in large cities with street cleaning rules, The Parasite can only be cured with a heavy dose of ticketing.
OBNOXIOUSNESS RATING: 4-8 (depending on severity)
The Smartcar-Only Spot
This isn’t a bad parking job so much as a massive planning oversight. How many unsuspecting driver will see the edge of an empty parking spot from down the row, gracefully signal and turn in, only to find they’ve wrapped their front bumper around a misplaced streetlight? We’re all for parking lot safety, but what’s so bad about planting the light on the parking line? Whoever owns this lot is going to find him- or herself in liability hell very quickly.
OBNOXIOUSNESS RATING: 5
The Wannabe Pimp
So you saved up the pennies you made at your summer job, and Mommy and Daddy fronted you the rest of the cash for the down payment on a sweet muscle car with tinted windows. We understand; it’s noble, in a way, to drive a car like that. We can even understand if you drive down the street in your suburb with one hand on the wheel and the driver’s seat so far back you couldn’t fit a toothpick between it and the back seat. We’ve even done that ourselves when we thought no one was looking.
It’s the way you sprawl across those two spots diagonally that makes us throw up a little bit in our own mouths. You think the Publix parking lot has a VIP section, hm? Did you bribe a bouncer to get into Home Depot? No? Then adjust your parking job or we’ll all be lining up to key that ride.
OBNOXIOUSNESS RATING: 9
You thought you had trouble finding your car in the lot the last time you left it in that parking garage? Pity the poor fellow in the center of this shot. Even once he finds his puke-green 1978 Plymouth, it’ll take him all week to get it out.
OBNOXIOUSNESS RATING: 7
The Needy Boyfriend
Remember that boyfriend from high school who kept snagging scrunchies from your room to take home as keepsakes? And then he moved on to toenail clippings, used scraps of tissue paper and fragments of belly button lint? Get ready for some bad poetry, because he’s back again. This time he’ll never leave, and neither will you, because you’ll never get your driver’s side car door open again.
The Student Driver
Whenever you see a sedan with its rear end sticking out into the street like this, you know someone just got a driver’s permit. Wait an hour; the driver will probably come out to adjust it, and plant the front end in some hydrangeas after switching the gas for the brakes. It’s all fun and games until someone goes too fast around a corner, driving up some unfortunate parents’ premiums for good.
OBNOXIOUSNESS RATING: 6