The Night Watchman, my Car and the Rule of the Road

I am parking the car by our band rehearsal space, directly in front of the main gate. I am a bit unnerved because it’s late and I won’t get the key to the gate at this time. This means I can’t drive the car in the yard. Instead I’ll have to carry the instruments through the side entrance, a good 30 meters extra.

When I start to unload the first cases I see a man exiting the house and approaching my car. The night watchman.

Watchman: “You gotta move your vehicle immediately, this is a no stopping zone!”

Me: “But it’s quarter to midnight, no one is gonna come now…!”

Watchman: “No stopping zone, as I said! You cannot park here, can’t you see the sign?”

Me: “I’ll only be a few minutes! And this no stopping zone is here to serve me, too, I am a tenant here…!“

Watchman: “You will immediately move your car, this is a no stopping zone, this is the law and you have to obey the law!”

I am moving my car a few meters. But I am in a rage. I am alone in the car, perfect conditions for a little jackal show….

What an idiot! And besides, I have never seen the guy here before…! Man….the obedience of a slave, putting rules before people! I pay my rent here (which is way too high anyway) and he won’t even let me park my car for five minutes! At Midnight!! In this abandoned spot!!!

Breathe. Feels good to let my anger out rather than conceal it. And now I start my NVC process:

How am I feeling at the moment?

Not so angry anymore, rather startled. I hadn’t anticipated such a confrontation at this hour. My heartbeat is quite fast. But when I am sensing inside myself even deeper I realize that I’m actually sad. My need for friendliness between people isn’t met and also my need for support.

I take a moment to let it sink that friendliness and support are in fact two really cool needs and that it feels really good when they are met. Now the rest of my anger has evaporated.

I enter the house and see the night watchman.

Me: “I moved the car. I would like to talk to you, you got a moment?”

Watchman: “Yeah, I do…”

Me: “I am not happy how our conversation turned out before. I would really love for both of us to talk in a more friendly way. How do you feel about that?”

Watchman: “I WAS friendly in the beginning! But you really have to understand that you cannot park your car there. That’s the fire rescue path!”

Me: “Alright. I see. So you just want to do your job correctly and make sure nothing happens if there’s an emergency?”

Watchman: “Yeah, it’s about safety! If something happens here, I am the one that’s responsible!”

Me: “So you are also concerned about your job and you don’t want to risk it?”

Watchman: “Yeah…”

Me: “OK, thank you. I just wanted to clear this up.“ (I am getting ready to leave)

Watchman: “If you want I can unlock the gate for you. We usually don’t do that so late, but if you can prove you’re a tenant here…?”

Alrighty!

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