Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Double Parked

Last night I came out of a friend's apartment building to discover my car trapped behind a double-parked sedan. To make matters worse, there were empty parking spots on both sides of me! Back home in the US, I might have been excused for whatever crime of passion this discovery drove me to.

But in Korea, where space comes at a premium (population density is 15 times higher than in the US), it's really not such a big deal. Double parking is such a common practice that people post their cell phone number on their windshield so that trapped drivers can call them when they want to leave.

So I was only mildly annoyed when I found myself blocked in, in anticipation of the struggle to communicate my dilemma in Korean over the phone and then wait for the owner to come down and move his car three feet in either direction.

But then I actually took a glance around the offending car. He hadn't posted his cell phone number anywhere, the jerk! I stole a quick look to see if anyone was in earshot of a shattering windshield. The security guard in his nearby quarters put a swift end to that idea. I decided instead to knock on the guard's door. This seemed a situation that warranted some official police-like action.

He seemed quite surprised to see me, even after I explained the circumstances. He shook his head, and put his hands out in front of him and moved them forward in a motion that suggested pushing. Alright! I almost shouted. Let's go kick his ass!

But then I realized he wasn't talking about pushing the owner around. He was talking about the vehicle.

The car was, in fact, unlocked. The parking brake was off. And the car was in neutral. I could have done a lot more than shatter the guy's windshield. I could have pushed his car off a goddamn cliff. (For the record, I didn't.)

His car slid out of the way with such a gentle nudge that it should have been a crime.


  1. Anonymous8:56 PM

    This is great! I always see Koreans pushing other people's cars out of the way. The first time I thought they were trying to steal it, and then I remembered I am in Korea... The pushers even stopped when they had freed their own vehicle and pushed the blocking car back into it's original position.

  2. hehehe just awesome!

  3. In our apartment complex we see that all the time. Every bay just about is double parked and you'll see these dainty women pushing cars around to get to their own vehicle.

  4. Anonymous5:17 PM

    he probably put it on neutral so it could be pushed. i think that's nice :) i'm a korean woman and i have no problem moving the cars.


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