There is nothing worse than this scenario. You drive in, you see an open spot and your heart sings. Then, as you approach your prize, you discover that a mini-mini Cooper is parked at an impossible angle. Actually there are worse things, such as tornadoes, no health care for Americans and listening to Sarah Palin speak off the cuff (or hand). However, a discussion of such catastrophes is beyond the scope of this rant.

The village strategy for us to park in the garages worked. They jacked up the price of the meters to levels only surpassed by Chicago to force us to park there. I prefer being outside, but I have two kids in college. The meters are so pricey that if I parked there often I would be unable to afford the trips to Wal-Mart when I visit my boys.

As an ex-New Yorker there are two things that I abhor: lousy parking and mayo on a corned beef sandwich. I can imagine what some of you are thinking, “Why don’t you go back to New York?” “Why don’t you get a hobby to occupy all the free time that you obviously have?” and “What’s wrong with mayo on corned beef?”

Using two spaces is rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless, and it shows that you don’t give a wit about your neighbor. I don’t enjoy looking for a spot. If I want to chill out in my car, I’ll drive on the Eisenhower. Think of the downtrodden mother listening to her two small kids going for blood in the back seat. All she wants to do is park so she can run out of the car while the kids are still strapped to their car seats, let out a feral scream and then take them to story hour at Borders. You delayed her catharsis. Shame on you.

It’s not just one space, it’s several. All you have to do is drive around to see how many people park like delinquents. Perhaps you act the way you do in order to protect your car from being mugged by equally lousy drivers. If you’re worried, go out and buy Armor All. It says right on the bottle that it has armor in it.

You know who you are. Soon everyone else will know, too, because I have decided to create a Web site and blog,, where photos of your handiwork will be posted.

The village, in fairness, also has a role. Some of the spots have so many lines in them that they are as inaccurate and confusing as my failed attempts at graph-plotting in high school trig. The village could fix it cheaply by writing in big, black letters on the errant lines, “Don’t use this line. Use the one on the right.”

Behave yourself or I’ll ask your car to say “cheese.”

• Barry Abrams has lived in Oak Park for 26 years and says he “parks straight as an arrow.” We’re pretty sure he’s kidding about the blog.

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