To the Person Who Left the Helpful Tip on a Napkin Under My Windshield Wiper

Dear Person Who Left the Helpful Tip on a Napkin Under My Windshield Wiper,

First, I am nothing if not fair and honest. I agree – I could have parked better. My parking job was not to my normal standards. My back wheel was on the line, maybe even a half an inch over. If I had known, I assure you, I would have backed up and tried again. I won’t write a public letter to you and not admit that your note wasn’t entirely unjustified. And, since you don’t know me and my nitpick-y parking jobs 99.9% of the time, I understand why you didn’t go for the more accurate “LEARN TO CHECK AND SEE IF YOU DID A GOOD PARKING JOB.” Regardless, I’m sure it made it slightly more difficult for you to back out of your space. So, on the point that I didn’t park perfectly, we are in agreement.

We are also in agreement about how delicious Chick-fil-A is. That was where the napkin on which you composed your corrective prose was written was from. I like to get the number 5 with a sweet tea. That’s two things we can agree on – Chik-fil-A is yummy and I could have parked better.

I see that on both sides, you struggled to make your pen work. I must admit, the thought of you, fuming, standing over my car, napkin on my hood, swirling your pen angrily, trying to get it to do your bidding, amuses me. I’m assuming you wouldn’t risk scratching your own car angrily swirling away at a flimsy napkin. Or, maybe you did it in your car, in the driver’s seat. Maybe you accidentally honked your own horn a little. That’s even better if that was the case.

I have a couple suggestions – if this was truly a call to action, you should have left the contact information to a local parking school (do those exist?). Or, maybe a nice drawing demonstrating the proper way to park, although I do understand that that was probably impossible considering your ink flow problems. “LEARN TO PARK” is a request, but if you really want to empower me to LEARN TO PARK, a little guidance would be appreciated. Luckily, I do know how to park, and this was just a fluke, so your helpful note could simply serve as a reminder to stay vigilant, or face the wrath of future napkin notes.

Finally, I’d like to make one more point. We were both parked in a hospital parking garage. I had just come back from a gastroenterologist appointment. So, unfortunately, if you were hoping that I would read your note and start crying from embarrassment and humiliation, dabbing my tears with the very napkin that held the stinging message, that did not happen. I already reached my daily limit in the embarrassment department at my appointment. But, that’s really not the point I’m trying to make.

The point I want to make is this: you left your note on the car of a healthy sarcastic blogger who parked bad because she was panicked because she was late (also something I rarely do), but it could have been different. You could have left your note on the car of someone who had just found out they had cancer. You could have left the note on the car of someone who rushed to the hospital because their loved one was in an accident. You could have left your note on the car of a couple who had just lost their baby from a miscarriage. You don’t know. And you know what? I don’t know, either. Maybe you were one of the three examples I just gave, and my parking job was the straw that broke the camel’s back. If that’s the case, I’m sorry.

However, I’d just like to say that I don’t leave notes like the one you did because of everything I mentioned in this letter. Do I drive past a double-parker and assume they are a jackass? Yes. And you know what? If they really are a jackass, they don’t give a shit about any notes pointing out their jackassery. And, if they’re not a jackass, they’re probably having a bad day. The chances that you would actually be enlightening someone who honestly doesn’t know they park bad and would be relieved to be told about it are probably less than the chances of winning the lottery.

All of that is to say: if you are the type to leave obnoxious notes for obnoxious parkers, just don’t do it at the hospital.


P.S. Just yesterday, I was lamenting my lack of blogging material, and Tom told me I needed to leave the house more. So I guess I also owe you a “thank you.” If we ever meet at a Chik-fil-A, waffle fries are on me.

38 thoughts on “To the Person Who Left the Helpful Tip on a Napkin Under My Windshield Wiper”

  1. Love Chick-fil-A! Who doesn’t? And the waffle fries…you are making a very generous offer to this person.

    I live within a block of the beach. LIVE there, like as in, I have to leave and go to work and come home every day as compared to all the vacationers who are down all summer. A couple years ago some moron parked in front of my house – MY SPOT – ignoring the no parking sign. When I get home during the summer, I want to park my car, go into my house, and relax. I had to park-in my neighbor and wait for the moron to come move his car 3 hours later. I did not leave him a note. I gave him a GIANT piece of my mind. And I don’t regret it, because he was an insensitive turd!

  2. This is my favorite post. So vividly I am imagining the struggle to get the damn pen to work already on the napkin that is probably slightly greasy from waffle fries. I also like that it is in all shouty capitals. I need material too. *And I’m going to a dr. appt in one hour.*

  3. I’m kind of torn. On one hand, I do find it annoying when people park poorly, but on the other hand there’s waffle-fries. But you were in a hospital parking lot and admitted that you normally adhere to much higher parking standards but on the other hand waffle-fries.

    I’m going to side with waffle-fries.

  4. Dear Person Who Left the Helpful Tip on the Napkin Under Carrie’s Windshield Wiper,

    I’m willing to bet that you’re not perfect and make mistakes, and Karma can be a real bitch. Hope someone is there to give YOU helpful tips when she comes your way.

  5. Wow. That WAS helpful. You really should correct those degenerate parking ways! I hope you learned something from this Carrie.

    And since you’re offering . . . nuggets. Thanks.

  6. I just laughed so hard I almost choked on…well…I’m not sure what. Clearly, I should not be allowed to laugh without supervision.

    I love Chik-Fil-A!!

  7. Fan-freaking-tastic! Do you think writing that note made him (or her) feel better?

    An inch over the line doesn’t merit a note. I see people blatantly take up two spaces at the Trader Joe’s near me all the time, as in, park smack dab in the middle of them. I mean, if you’re gonna go to the trouble of finding a napkin, scratching your pen around to get it to work, and then writing and leaving the note…shouldn’t it be for someone that double parked in a handicap space or something? Geez.

  8. I’ve never been to a Chick-Fil-A. It is the truth. The other thing is, I’ve never left a passive-aggressive note on someone’s car, although I’ve wanted to many times. Actually, I haven’t even thought of the note, my mind jumps straight to wanting to key or egg another person’s car. Aaah, dreams.

  9. We need a town where we can all live together, those that get scribbled napkin notes.

    I once had a torn pamphlet left on my windshield that said, “stick to the sidewalk.”


  10. When I was my oldest daughter’s age, so 16, I was walking to my car when I saw this middle-aged man standing next to my car. He was writing on a piece of paper and sticking it under my windshield. In those days, 1986, you thought anyone over the age of 30 was ancient, you said yes sir and no sir, and you didn’t even think about carrying on a conversation with a grown-up. I waited til he left then looked at the note.

    It said something along the lines of “watch it young man. you drive too fast. you cut me off in the parking lot. God hates bad drivers. Turn down that music and get off my lawn.”

    I don’t know why, but that moment made me very wary of my driving around older people. I told my daughter this story a few months ago when she got her license and she said “well at least he didn’t have twitter and a blog like you do”.

    Great points.

  11. That’s dumb. How does that person know that you didn’t have to park on the line because someone else parked on the line? And that other person caused everyone to park on a line…only they already left so it looks like you’re the only one?

    The note leaver was probably just mad because they were out of ChickFila food and only had a napkin left.

  12. Wow…talk about putting in the effort. Sounds to me like someone has a crush on you!

    (Then again, I could be wrong. My radar sucks when it comes to that stuff…).

  13. I found this blog via the reedster speaks, and I couldn’t help but comment here. I am a note leaver. Not for little mistakes, like what you described, but for obnoxious, I-obviously-know-what-I’m-doing bad parking, such as not parking in an actual spot. I wrote a blog entry about it myself just a couple of weeks ago.

    For the record, I would never leave one at a hospital! But the mall is fair game. haha

  14. Number 1: You have a restaurant called Chick-Fil-A?
    Chick-Fil-A??????? Whys is this not in Australia???

    Number 2: This is a note that I had left for me at Coles carpark when I went food shopping a few weeks ago..


    I like your note better…

    Number 3: I am stalking your blog…hence the reply to a post from quite awhile ago. I’m not weird or anything.

  15. First of all, I love this post.
    Secondly, I am pretty sure I love you. Don’t worry, though, I am pretty much totally lazy so this won’t lead to stalking or anything.
    Finally, I remember many years ago my sister and I came out of the hospital from the ICU visiting hours to find a less than friendly note on the windshield of our mother’s car (much less kind than your matter-of-fact napkin note) and while we got a great chuckle out of the whole thing I remember both of us saying how glad we were that our mother had not found it, what with just having sat at the bedside of her critically ill husband and all (good news—he lived!). Anyway, I had the same thought you had at the time…you just never know what could be going on in someone’s life.

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