Pig parking is a pet peeve of mine. I really suck at parking. I mean, really suck. My most embarrassing parking moment was in 2013 at my son’s Bar Mitzvah party. As he cringed in his car seat thanking the good Lord that it was pitch dark outside, I attempted to parallel park my Corolla into a spot befitting an 18-wheeler. I pulled the car in and out until after about 7 minutes of anguish, I succeeded. If I could park in a respectful manner, I figure anyone can. I do understand that there may be exceptional circumstances justifying pig parking such as the impending birth of a baby or the risk of death or extreme bodily harm of an ill passenger. However, by and large, it’s not a big deal to take a moment and properly settle one’s vehicle into a spot that guarantees sufficient space for other vehicles in the adjoining spots.
While, pig parking is indeed a global phenomenon, in my corner of the world – Beersheva, Israel – it is endemic. Working freelance, I spend a lot of my hours in strip mall coffee shops and day in and day out, multiple times each day, I witness pig parking in various forms: luxury cars ostentatiously parked on multiple spots, parking clearly over the lines, parking half an inch from another car and even “bleeding” into disabled parking spots.
Chol HaMo’ed Succot. The local strip mall parking lot was, to my surprise, pretty empty with plenty of available parking spaces. Nonetheless, to our left was an expensive luxury car parked diagonally and taking up two spots. My blood boiled.
Armed with my weapons, a.k.a. mobile phone and social media platforms, I snapped a photo, blurred the license plate, and uploaded the picture to my Facebook wall. The accompanying text expressed my annoyance about the act itself and how, in my perspective, this sort of pig parking reflects a sense of entitlement that I find abhorrent and difficult to get used to even after more than a quarter of a century of living here.
My social media outlets and “friends lists” are diverse reflecting my belief that exposure to a broad range of world views and values is crucial to understanding the complexities of the society we live in and enables me to continually develop personally, politically and professionally. Thus, perhaps not surprisingly, the responses were quick to come but nonetheless, still caught me off guard. Some people did indeed express their disgust but many focused entirely on “educating” me about pig parking’s universality and its lack of unique connection to Israel. I agreed that while by no means is pig parking exclusive to Israeli society, my personal experience (not based on empirical data) was that it occurred more frequently in my vicinity than in other places I had lived in or visited. My first thought was to delete the entire post. I felt attacked and uncomfortable, especially considering the fact that the topic wasn’t intended as political. However, I resisted the urge to hit the delete button.
Since 1994 Israel is my home, I raise my family here, work here, pay taxes here, and send my children to the military here. However, the responses to what I first considered a rather benign, even boring post indicated that many people believe that I need to keep my mouth shut. In other words, kvetching about even minor annoyances on my personal Facebook wall reeked of an act of treason.
In recent years, it seems that certain Israeli ultra-nationalists have appropriated the McCarthy Era’s “America, Love it or Leave it” slogan but I urge all those who truly love Israel to stick around.
I personally love Israel and it is precisely because of my love for this country that I will not leave and I will not shut up – not about the little things and not about the big things.
So, my weekend message is that pig parking in Israel is common and obnoxious. Pig parkers possess an abhorrent sense of entitlement and the fine citizens of Pennsylvania, Canada and Kalamazoo are free to complain about their own pig parkers while I focus on those in my beloved home, Israel.