There are certain things I have been lucky enough to have instilled in me: Holding doors for people, thanking people, helping strangers if at all possible and just being kind in general rather than poisoning the world with negativity. Manners, I think they call them.

We all have our days, sure, but for the most part, I try to keep a level head and contribute positively to the world and keep myself in check. It was how I was raised; it's the way I view the world. If we had a little more polite and a little less mean and vindictiveness, it surely couldn't hurt.

Now, all that said, I truly believe, when it comes to residential parking after multiple snowstorms, people become ruthless savages blatantly swallowing spots they know darn well someone else shoveled out.

In a world where not everything is rainbows and politeness, I wish things upon them like, oh I don't know, stepping on a snow shovel and having the handle kindly crash into their faces a'la old Tom and Jerry cartoons when Tom would step on a rake. I want to flatten their tires. Put sand in their gas tank. Soap their cars. Egg their cars. Toilet paper their cars. So many bad thoughts run through my mind, but, like any law-abiding citizen, I just count to 10 and leave it up to karma.

I have reached my snow peak. I'm done. I'm over it. I know this is winter in Pennsylvania. I know this is what happens when we live in a seasonal climate; I wrote a whole column about those who whine about the winter weather, but let me just tell you, I have had it up to here (points to 8-foot snow pile).

Let the games begin!

Parking has turned into some kind of sick snow hunger games. It's every person for themselves in this cutthroat, snow-covered landscape of giant mountains and thick, frozen tundra.

It's not pretty, people. It's not pretty.

Listen, I'll admit it, I couldn't pencil in the time to shovel myself out after the first significantly heavy snow fell. I paid someone $15 to do it for me. That's right. I called out to anyone who was willing to help a damsel in distress on Facebook and a few nice gentleman offered their help, and it got done. No, I'm not ashamed. Yes, I'm independent, but sometimes a gal just needs to be that helpless female who needs a male to do the heavy lifting. Sorry, feminism, I like to cash in on being a lady once in a while.

Anyway, it was sweet relief knowing I wouldn't have to walk to work the next day, then, wouldn't you know it, as soon as I pulled out of the spot the very next morning, someone pulled right in behind me and left their vehicle there for two days straight.

Oh, hi, rage. There you are


Mad doesn't even touch it. I wanted to circle the block and berate them until my eyes bled. I wanted to leave a passive-aggressive note on their car requesting a check in the amount of $7.50, so we could split the cost of shoveling the spot. I wanted to do all the aforementioned things that are completely against the law to their vehicle - soap, eggs, the works. However, like the lady I am, I just put a lid on it, went to work, took deep breaths and told myself it's just a parking space.

Then came another storm, and another one, and another one, and another. I took it upon myself to shovel myself out following the subsequent storms because I was feeling more liberated in life I guess, and something special started to happen. I started to develop a bond with this parking spot. After all, it was four or five times I shoveled it out. I also assisted my neighbor/best friend in shoveling her spot out as well while she heals from a broken wrist.

These were our spots. We tended to them while cursing the snow and the reward should have been a life free from the chains of parking woes.

Yet again, we would both go to our respective work places and come home to find the spots we toiled over invaded by random foreign cars - foreign as in, I hadn't seen them in the neighborhood before, not foreign like a Fiat or a Mistubishi. How maddening.

It's insane to think of yourself wasting anger on something as insignificant as a parking spot, but little by little, our blood started to boil while car after minivan after Jeep just pulled right in and parked right in these spots - our spots, the ones we carved from the icy earth with our own grit like it was nobody's business. How dare they?

Well, I'd have to ask this:

Do we own the streets?


Do they have the right to park there?

Sure they do.

Does it make them a bunch of jerks for doing so?

I believe it does.

It's a matter of common courtesy and being a decent human being. No, parking spaces aren't the end of the world, nor can you reserve a public space without paying for a permit, but knowing someone else broke their back in the bitter cold in order to clear a spot that would be there when they returned from a hard day's work and parking there in total disregard is about as bad as kicking a puppy on the scumbag scale.

Who am I?

So, what have these parking wars reduce me to? What have they turned me into? Who am I today after my spot has been violated over and over again? I'll tell you who I am. I'm the lady who puts the chair out in her spot in order to save it. Never in my life did I think I would become this person, but this is what I have been reduced to. I always scoffed at the idea and said there should be an ordinance outlawing it, but here I am: a snow chair lady.

However, don't even begin to think the old chair trick is a solution. No. As I found out when I came home Monday night, a chair serves as a target rather than a placeholder. After working second shift, while most were on the sofa catching up on their favorite shows, I came home to find, not only was someone in "my spot," but they also used their little Aveo, complete with hippie stickers all over the rear end of it, to trample my entire chair, smashing it to smithereens, later discarding it on the sidewalk, making it an obstacle for pedestrians.

Well, aren't you something?

How lovely. I hope it was worth it. I hope you didn't have to walk too far or carry anything too heavy. Heaven forbid you shovel your own spot out.

Thank goodness I know kind enough people who came to help me out the next day while I was stuck on a sheet of ice first thing in the morning when I attempted to go to the gym.

I should also note, I recognize my pettiness in this. I recognize my touting myself as a lady with manners who doesn't write passive-aggressive notes and put them on vehicles is completely nullified by the writing of this article, but this is who I have become in this struggle.

To those who take those precious spots we all work so hard to clear every winter: Have at them. Honestly, I believe what comes around goes around and you attract the type of energy you put out there, so enjoy your days acting as a giant jerk magnet and I'll continue to do my thing where I'm not a total jackass in life.

Parking has everyone up in arms, that's for certain. The firestorm that erupted in Kulpmont Tuesday is prime example of that. My take? If you live on a snow emergency route and they are forecasting plowable snow, even if there is a chance it isn't going to happen, move your car. Where? I obviously have no idea or I wouldn't be writing an article crying about having nowhere to park myself.

However, as someone who has paid more parking-related tickets than I care to admit, I have grown to learn to just suck it up and play musical parking spaces when need be. The tickets given in Kulpmont were pretty steep, and it's not fun to have to pay such a thing, but to say you were completely blindsided is kind of ridiculous given the winter we've had. Be rational, this was surely not your first rodeo.

This winter has been brutal. Some of us are only a shell of the human beings we were in the fall, but, we have to get through it. We have to hang in there. Warmer days are coming. Flowers are going to bloom again. Birds are going to sing again. The sun is going to shine again and I'm going to park wherever I damn well please and revel in the freedom of it all.

Winter, the vast majority just doesn't like you anymore. We had our fun. We had our fights. It's just not working out. I think it's time we went our separate ways.

(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item.)