I, For One, Applaud the Superb Parallel-Parking Job the Internet Is Mad At

Just admit that you can't parallel park and leave it alone

I, For One, Applaud the Superb Parallel-Parking Job the Internet Is Mad At

In high school, I took immense pride in my parallel parking abilities. Mainly because I was (and still kinda am) a terrible driver, and it is the one aspect of my driving no one can fault me for.

This talent owes to growing up in a Philly neighborhood known for its notorious steep hills and lack of street parking. I learned from a young age that any spot you found, no matter how tight it looked, you squeezed into (or at least tried!). Sure, I had to learn how to parallel park to pass the driving exam, but unlike people in the suburbs with driveways and big-box parking lots, I also needed it for practical reasons, like saving myself a 30-block walk home every time I went out. Now, friends ask me to parallel park their cars for them, and when I ace a tricky parking job, I snap a photo of my impressive feat.

Which is exactly what writer P. E. Moskowitz did in early July after making one helluva parallel-parking job. Moskowitz posted the photo of their car perfectly nestled between two other vehicles to Twitter, writing “not to brag but I deserve a nobel prize for this.” Unfortunately, Twitter users did not agree.

In a recent article for Curbed, Moskowitz wrote about their harmless parallel-parking tweet that somehow ignited a firestorm of angry threats and insults.

“Within a few hours, the post had accumulated dozens of quote tweets. One person told me I was an ‘objectively bad person’ for my parking job. I thought that was funny. So I screenshotted that and posted it with another obviously hyperbolic caption: ‘i am being cancelled for being good at parallel parking.’ That tweet, insanely, now has 153,100 likes and more than 4,800 retweets. According to Twitter’s analytics, about 10 million people have seen it, and about 4,000 of them decided to reply. Some called me a shitty human being or an ableist; others told me they would key my car or pop my tires. Several threatened to fight me. Some simply said I was lying — one person created an SAT-style geometry diagram to prove, based on the dimensions and angles seen in the photograph, that my parking job was mathematically impossible,” they wrote.

Other users accused Moskowitz of blocking a lane of traffic for several minutes and “horribly” inconviencing themselves and other cars. Meanwhile, people are still going at it in the comment section of the Curbed article, debating what “common parking coutesy” is.

“Common parking courtesy is to leave enough room between you and other cars so that they can get out with only a minimal of back and forths before they can pull out freely,” one commenter insisted.

Perhaps driving in the city for years has turned me into a cold, unforgiving human, but there is a level of self-awareness you need to adopt when you choose to own and operate a car in a packed metropolis: it’s not going to be fun. You’ll have to wiggle out of some tight parking spaces, and people might hit your car (that’s why we have bumpers!). As for traffic build-up, you see, this is the very thing that separates parallel-parking gods from mere mortals. While gauging how far to reverse without hitting the car behind you takes talent, the real challenge of parallel parking is staying cool and collected while a line of cars wait for you to fuck up. You only get one or two attempts before the pressure forces you to forgo the spot and drive away in shame. But, again, when you drive in the city, you learn how to park, and quickly, under pressure.

In any event, Moskowitz got to the bottom of why internet users went batshit crazy over a parallel-parking job by actually interviewing them. Some users explained their hateful replies were just jokes, while others found Moskowitz to be selfish and a “malignant narcissist.” Ultimately, this incident is just another example of how social media sites are designed to stoke outrage, boosting incendiary posts to the tops of users’ feeds to goad them into being defensive, angry and just downright cruel to one another. If only we could direct our anger at those committing actual crimes, as one commenter on Moskowitz’s piece pointed out:

“The true evil is the person who parks in the middle of two spaces — oh so kindly leaving plenty of room for the person fore and aft, but incensing every passing would-be parker.” Now that is heedless.

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