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Another day in parking-poor Hampden, with drivers acting like jerks [Hampden]

By Benn Ray, benn@atomicbooks.com

10:04 AM EST, January 30, 2014

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A few days after the snow storm and deep freeze, I had just come back from a warehouse run for my store, and I was trying to find parking, a typically non-problematic situation exacerbated by the no-parking cones and signs for the water pipe construction project that began along Union Avenue and Falls Road back in the waning days of August.

I was rolling through Cairnes Lane behind a truck, when it stopped suddenly behind a local food processing plant and directly in front of a loading dock. To the left of us were cars parked in front of words painted on the building saying, "No Parking." There was no go-around. The only options were to wait out what looked to be a loading as a fork lift was now coming out, or to back up a block in an ice-covered alley.

I rolled down my window and asked how long they were going to be. The driver and the fork lift operator looked at me, as if they were offended that someone would dare to ask them why they were blocking up a public city side street/alley – an alley that they have, I suppose, come to think of as their own.

I said, "Look, you can't just stop here. You have a loading dock. I need to get through and you're blocking the alley. How long are you going to be?"

The driver responded by saying, "Well now you're just going to have to wait."

The end result was that I had to back down the ice-covered alley. I thought about pulling around the other side of the alley and parking directly in front of the delivery truck to force him to back down the alley, but I had to get to work. So I shrugged it off.

At the end of the night, I had to pull up on Falls in front of my store to load some boxes into my car. The parking space was tight, but not unmanageable. As I was slowly backing up, a well-dressed, middle-aged guy screamed at me, "Wait! Stop! That's my car! You're about to hit my car! Stop!"

So I stopped and stared at him. By my estimate, I still had another 4 inches to back up. He quickly hopped into his new Audi, did an illegal U-turn on Falls and drove off. I finished parking and asked my friend Maggie, who happened to be outside watching the situation, if I was that close to his car. She said, "No, that guy was a total baby. He just didn't want anyone getting close to his new Audi. You had another 8 inches to before you touched his car."

Seemed like the perfect bookend to an average weekday in Hampden, with people acting like irrational jerks when it comes to parking and traffic.

With that in mind, here are a few events you can walk to:

On Friday, Feb. 7, Daniel Krall's Collapsible Mythology show opens at Atomic Books' Eightbar, 3620 Falls Road, with a reception from 7-10 p.m. The show will run through February. And remember, it's First Fridays in Hampden, so a number of other businesses will be open late, offering refreshments, snacks, sales and special events.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, cartoonists Michael DeForge and Yumi Sakugawa will be at Atomic Books to celebrate the new release of their books, "Ant Colony" and "I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You," respectively. They will be discussing their work and signing copies of their books. 

And on Saturday, Feb. 15, The Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St., will host Love Shack, A Valentines Drag Show, starting at 10:30 p.m. It's $5 to get in and is hosted by Stormy Vain. It features live performances by divas and music by DJ Sugar, with a lot of prizes and drink specials.