Friday, May 1, 2009

A Run-In in the Hospital Garage

One of the things I hate about the DC area is the apparently excessive number of people who have an entitlement complex. As in, I'm better than you, so I deserve X.

I had a run-in with a couple of these people back in February in the Inova Fairfax blue garage, and I've only recently calmed down enough about it to write the story.

The Inova Fairfax blue garage is a complete disaster, with dozens of spaces reserved for visiting doctors, physical therapy patients, cancer patients, radiology patients, etc. On a busy day, there's a lot of jockeying for the few remaining unmarked spaces. One cold day in February, I was headed in to the hospital to visit Lexie in the NICU when the line of cars in the garage came to a complete stop. Far ahead, I saw a giant black SUV backing down the ramp from the roof. I sat and waited. Normally this kind of thing might have annoyed me, but I was too tired and worried to expend any energy on being annoyed at that point. I waited, and waited, and waited, more than five minutes, and the line didn't move.

The black SUV still sat at the bottom of the ramp ahead of us, blocking everyone's forward escape from our row. Cars had pulled in behind me in line, so I couldn't back up, either. Finally, I started to notice a few people coming out of the elevator bay and getting in their cars, and I figured this would unclog the bottleneck. The first two cars left, and the two cars in front of me took the spaces. Now only one car remained in front of me. And what do you know -- a space just in front of that car opened up. I waited patiently for the car in front of me to take the space, but it just sat there. After a minute or so, I figured, hey, I guess I'm next. I drove around that car and pulled into the space.

Suddenly I heard someone leaning on the horn. And I mean leaning. I decided to ignore it as I pulled together my bag and my cooler of milk for Lexie. As I was walking away from my car, Mr. Black SUV pulls up and yells, "THANKS FOR STEALING OUR SPACE." I continued to ignore him. "I JUST DROPPED OFF MY PREGNANT WIFE!" Oooooh, wrong thing to say to me.

"OH YEAH?" I yelled back. "WELL I'M GOING TO VISIT MY PREEMIE IN THE NICU." He sped off like the witless coward he was. He probably gave me the finger or something, but I didn't look back. I was a little thrown -- it had been a long while since I'd had to fight with someone like that, but I tried to calm down and headed into the elevator bay.

Standing inside the door was a young-ish pregnant woman. She looked expensive. She watched me walk by, probably saw that I looked exhausted and frazzled -- like a weak, easy target -- and she made a big mistake.

"Thanks for stealing our space," she tossed at my back, maneuvering to show off her pregnant belly as I turned my head.

I stopped.

I turned around.

I engaged.

"I had no idea it was 'your' space. I'd been waiting forever without moving and a space finally opened up. I had just as much right to that space as you did." My voice rose and she began to shrink away, muttering a few "never minds" -- ha, too late, idiot. "And this is a hospital. We've ALL got problems. I'M GOING IN RIGHT NOW TO VISIT MY PREEMIE. I HOPE *YOUR* PREGNANCY IS A SUCCESSFUL ONE."

I spun on my heel and strode into the hospital. It really pissed me off that she thought a pregnant woman at the hospital should get special treatment over all the people there who may be DYING on any given day.

I do hope she felt sorely ashamed of herself, at least for a moment, before she went back to her rich little bubble of a life with her jerk of a husband.


caramama said...

You make me proud to be your friend.

Bluebird said...

I hope - no, I *know* - I would never have acted like that girl, even remotely. But I will say that these last few years have taught me so much and really made me realize that there are so many more important things in life. That, and I've learned that you never know what someone else is going through.

It sounds like you handled the situation remarkably well. I'm proud of you.

Bean said...

Good for you! I had to delurk because I spent 7 1/2 weeks at Inova Fairfax on bedrest and then after another 10 days of bedrest at home went back to deliver my son -- just 11 days ago. I HATE that garage! Granted while I was on bedrest I didn't have to deal with it, but knowing how awful it is from many prior appointments there, I almost felt guilty when friends would come to visit because I knew what a hassle it is. Dealing with that sort of thing is never fun, but especially when visiting your child in the NICU. My 6 1/2 year old daughter spent 5 weeks in the NICU at GW and having to deal with parking in the city just added to the nightmare! Anyway -- once again kudos to you for giving that women what she deserved. And congratulations on your beautiful little girl!

nutmeg96 said...

Thanks ladies. I wish I could say I consciously took the high road. But after I left, I was so upset that I kind of wished I'd added "asshole" after what I said to the guy, and "bitch" after what I said to the woman.

I knew it was better that I hadn't, though. :)

dcpeg said...

How sad and maddening! I think stress on everyones' part made the situation worse. Have you thought about sharing this with hospital management? Hospitals around here have plenty of competition, so it might behoove them to do something about it.

electriclady said...

Good for you!!!

AM said...

I realize this wasn't the main point of the story but I've had some really rude run-ins with pregnant women. (Before I go any further, I want to state that I've been a pregnant woman myself.) Talk about entitled! I had to give one the beat-down once and people walking by were giving me dirty looks for swearing at a pregnant woman. A bun in the oven doesn't excuse stupid, ass-y behavior.

Anyway, I'm sorry this happened to you during a fragile time in your life. But it sounds like those people haven't been told off enough in their lives. Maybe next time they decide to act like jackasses they'll remember this incident.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Awesome. :)

littleangelkisses said...

I don't think I'd have handled it with that much grace, especially when Grant was in the NICU.

I'd have burst out crying or had a complete tantrum right there.

Yes, people do feel entitled. It's gotten out of hand. You handled the situation very well.

Brenna said...

Sheesh. The DC sense of entitlement...THAT I don't miss. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know how shaken I would have been. Honestly though, it sounds like you handled it really REALLY well! I'm glad you stood up for yourself and reminded them that pretty much everyone visiting a hospital is stressed for one reason or another.

areyoukiddingme said...

I'd have been all about the practical "How long did you expect me to wait for you to pull in? If your pregnant wife can't walk from the parking space to the door, then drop her off and then look for a spot. Pregnancy is not a disability, you know."

And for her, I'd have probably gone with "I didn't see a reserved notice on the spot, and I have things to do today that don't involve waiting for idiots who do not know proper garage parking etiquette."

But, I think your responses were much better, since they didn't involve personal attacks on these goofballs. Jeez, I live in the Midwest, where we don't have quite as much congestion as DC, and even I know it's every man for himself in the hospital parking lot. Be quick or be circling!

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

I completely agree that I wouldn't have been able to handle that situation as well as you did.

It strikes me that it doesn't sound as if the woman was in labor or any sort of distress. She was just entitled, in her mind. Sick.