Let’s start with a little story. Today I was running late for class. I have a C-Lot parking permit , but when I arrived on campus, in a full-on frenzy to park so that I could get to class on time, there were no open spaces in the lot. After making a few circles atop the gray, washed-out gravel, I found a tiny space, a little dent in the air between two other cars. Seeing as my car is very small, I did my best “go-go-gadget space maker!” and was able to just barely make it into the spot. I consciously realized that it would be frustrating for the people who were parked next to me, but I also realized that as I have been parked close to in the past, it is a situation that one can get out of fairly easily. You squeak your way into your car, silently curse your fellow parker’s lack of parking skills, and off you go. If you’re feeling particularly irritated, maybe you leave a note. Ultimately, you move on, because if you tend to park your car, being parked close to is bound to happen from time to time.

So there I was, finished with class and ready to go home to spend a few precious moments making dinner before I had to attend to my commitments for the rest of the night. When I arrived at the driver’s side door, I discovered that it had taken on the texture of thick, creamy melting snow. Why? Because someone, I’m guessing the owner of the car that was no longer parked next to me (meaning they had managed to get out just fine) had sloppily sprayed shaving cream all over the door handle and surrounding door vicinity. “Wow,” I thought, “that is really lame.” Then I went to unlock my car, and there lay another surprise. An exquisitely sculpted piece of teal ABC gum was wedged perfectly in the keyhole. “Wow,” my thoughts echoed. “That is so, so, sO, SO LAME!”

Using my key, I managed to dislodge the gum enough that I could unlock the door, get in, and start to drive home. Shortly into my drive, another car (thank you, whoever you are!) pulled into the lane next to me. The two people in the car started gesturing wildly, honking, and miming something that I took to mean “YOU! IN DANGER! CAR! WRONG! BAD!” Despite the fact that their animated movements made them look like monkeys on speed, they managed to convey to me that something was amiss with my car. I pulled over as soon as I could, into the entrance to the Lakeway Mobile Estates, a trailer park retirement home. There I got out of my vehicle, and proceeded to view the absolute icing on my already gummed, ready-to-be shaven car. Treat of all treats: my rear, driver-side tire was completely flat. It was not flat because it had been punctured, sliced, or otherwise impaled in a way as to cause a naturally occurring air leak. No, no, it was simply that someone, and I have a pretty well-founded hunch about whom that might be, had taken off the little black plastic cap covering my air valve, and had released all the air from my tire.

I can just see you now, laughing and patting yourself on the back for doing such thorough work. I have to admit, it was certainly a complete job. I know that parking close to your car was not the most considerate thing I could have done, but what a luridly jackass response! Well done, you actually managed to endanger me, and all the other people I who were on the road with me, BY DEFLATING MY TIRE! WHO DOES THAT! HOW ASTONISHINGLY TACTLESS AND MENACING CAN YOU GET?

I’ll have you know, I had quite an amusing adventure getting my car back up and running. I met two 75-year-old men from the Lakeway Mobile Estates, and we had a grand old time jacking up my car and removing the hubcap from my tire. I also met a young, very attractive mechanic, who proceeded to fix everything free of charge. That’s right, I met some really nice people who restored my faith in the inherent good in the world. I don’t believe people are truly devilishly inclined, and my general experience is that people tend towards kindness and compassion. Thank goodness for the three people I met as a result of the vandalism done to my car; they made it possible for me to laugh the whole thing off, realize the absurdity of the situation, and move on with my life without getting down about the unnecessary meanness people produce from time to time. But seriously, why did you do that?

I’m sorry I parked so close to your car; I know that sucks. You can’t possibly have known that I actually realized I was close to your car, and did a silent “I’m sorry” prayer for you. But I there was no ill intention behind my actions, and I would be shocked if you have not done the same exact thing, somewhere, for some reason, at some point in time. It is not the nicest way to park, but two wrongs don’t make a right! Have you never heard of forgiving the errs of your fellow people?

Granted, I don’t know where you were coming from when you decided to adorn my car with those lovely textures and substances, and rob it of its ability to safely transport me from campus to home. This is why I am now going to officially forgive you. The only reason I can see why anyone would so viciously act out like that is because of some much deeper problem or issue in life.

Forgiveness and compassion are not rash emotions, and do not provide one with the option of immediate reaction, but in the long run, they offer a much better way to handle the difficult issues (and there will be MANY) that one encounters in life. Next time, please consider the REAL PERSON who is on the receiving end of your actions, and just for a minute, weigh the possibility that maybe, just maybe, they don’t deserve the kind of punishment you dream up in a moment of hasty retort.