8.18 A Parking Spot of Bother

Last month, I drove out to London. Let’s not get into the reasons for this right now, you’ll be able to read about it in my next book, which is hopefully coming soon. But this wasn’t about London, this was about when I arrived home.

I should point out this is London, Ontario. Perhaps an obvious point, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s to be clear and concise.


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When I returned from London, I went down down down through the parking garage to where my spot is located. Turned the corner and found an ugly black van parked in my spot. It had been raining and drops dripped from the vehicle. Driving back and forth through a torrential rain storm had not been fun and now I sat wondering what the hell does someone do in this situation?

Going back up up up through the garage, I took a spot in the visitor’s parking area. The security at the front door was no help. He said that essentially it was my problem, that I had to call the city and get the van towed. This was not what I wanted to hear.

Grabbed my stuff and went up to my apartment. Things started to get weird. My key didn’t work, no matter how hard I tried to shove it in the keyhole. After a few minutes, the door opened. A man about my age, confused, asked what the hell was I doing? I looked past him and saw that all my stuff was gone, replaced with much nicer stuff. I looked at the number on the front of the door, which was correct. A woman appeared behind him, asking about this strange little man at their door who insisted this was his apartment.

They slammed the door in my face. I stood in the hallway for a long time.

I tried to get back into the parking garage, but my fob no longer worked to open the door. Outside, it was getting dark. I walked to the park up the street from me and sat on a bench until the stars came out. The next morning, after sleeping on the park bench, my wallet and phone were gone. Someone must have swiped them during the night.

I had some change in my pocket and walked down the street to a convenience store to get a bottle of water. The automatic doors didn’t recognize me and I walked right into them, banging my forehead on the glass. A young woman walked up to the doors, which opened automatically and I snuck into the store behind her. With my bottle of water in hand, I waited for another customer to leave and slipped back outside.

Let’s try this again.

I forged a stake-out in front of my building, waiting for the guy who was in my apartment. After an hour, he exited the building, walked north to Queen Street West and headed east. I was very discreet. I should follow people for a living. Not like that, like in a private investigator kind of way. Confusion set in because unless I was wrong, he was heading to my office.

Stunned, I watched him enter my office building from across the street. My stare was broken when a friend of mine walked right past me without saying a word. Sure, I usually try to avoid talking to almost anyone, mostly because I’m 100% sure that they don’t want to talk to me, but still. For the rest of the day, I walked through the city thinking about how I’ve disappeared, been erased.

I thought of all the people in my life - would they notice? See, these are the kind of thoughts that I have on a regular basis. But, that is completely unfair and disrespectful to these people. I am very good at pushing people away. If there was an Olympic sport of pushing people away, I’d be the reigning champ. As I walked through the city, I thought about all these people and how much I missed them. Already. Goddamn it, you really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s all gone. Have you ever thought about that? Thought about if you never existed? No matter how small, you’ve - I’ve - had impact on people?

After walking all day, I had thoughtlessly returned to my apartment building. Sighing, I pulled out my fob and hopelessly tried it. The front door opened! Upstairs, the key went into the keyhole with no problem. Inside, all of my stuff was back. My wallet and phone on the kitchen counter. Down in the parking garage, I drove down down down to my spot, which was empty. No ugly black van in sight.

Paul Dore