The Aloha Spirit, Respect And Parking Your Car

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The image I had of Hawaii and what caused me to move here was not one necessarily of a tropical paradise, but one where the spirit of aloha and ohana was practiced unconditionally.

Recently, that image was tarnished by an incident I experienced but has become all too prevalent  — people who believe their rights are more important than other peoples’ rights.

Example: It has become a practice for people to back their cars or trucks into parking spaces. I guess this is to facilitate a quick getaway.

But so many of these people do not know how to back into a space, necessitating numerous attempts at getting their vehicle centered within the lines. The process of doing this may take several minutes which causes others to have to wait and sometimes backs up traffic.

On a recent evening, I had to run an errand to the store. The store was busy with lots of cars and trucks trying to find parking spaces. One large pickup truck driver was maneuvering his vehicle into a parking space, tail-end first, having to make several attempts.

Show a little aloha, please! Parked cars at Ala Moana Center, December 2015.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

I lowered my head and shook it from side to side soliciting the driver of the vehicle to roll down his window. Since I do not read lips too well and my radio was playing, I didn’t get what he said entirely but I did get the message which went something on the order of, “You gotta problem?”

My response was simple. I replied, “Yes.”

I don’t like people waiting for me. I don’t like to wait for other people when they are being unnecessarily selfish.

Time is the most precious commodity we have. When someone has to jockey their vehicle around because they are unfamiliar, unpracticed or otherwise incapable of backing their vehicle into a parking spot in a timely fashion, that violates respecting others. You are wasting my time, and that is disrespectful.

Bad Attitude

Having been an aircraft mechanic, it was necessary for me to learn how to back aircraft into revetments and hangars. This with a tow vehicle and a tow bar attached to the aircraft. Consider that we had to compensate for multiple movements as opposed to just turning our steering wheel in the direction we wanted to go.

Having that tow bar made things tricky. But we practiced so that we got proficient.

How come these parking lot hogs don’t practice before they make others wait for them to become proficient? If you can’t get it on the first pass, you are doing something wrong.

What bothered me most was the attitude of the driver of the pickup truck that kept me waiting, along with the string of cars behind me. Obviously, he believed his right to inconvenience me was more important than my right carry on with my business.

We are forgetting aloha and ohana.

One could argue that it is only a few moments. What does that hurt? Wasted gas, additional CO2 in the atmosphere, and I am a few minutes closer to my death.

The question becomes, do some people have more rights than others? Are some people more privileged?

One might question my spirit of aloha by making this complaint. I have made it a habit throughout my life to respect everyone that I come in contact with. I don’t abandon that concept once I get behind the wheel and surround myself with a couple thousand pounds of steel.

Perhaps it is the current environment of on again, off again COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Perhaps it is an indecisive government.

We are all frustrated. Is that an excuse to forget good manners?

We are forgetting aloha and ohana. Respect is not just a one-way street. My rights end where yours begin.

Perhaps we need to remind ourselves occasionally that we are all in this together and that respect will get us through it.


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