Thursday, January 14, 2010

Seinfeld Moment on a Wintry Day at Grady: The "Hairy Eyeball"

The Parking Garage (as represented by this toy version)

The Hairy Eyeball (as demonstrated by Isaiah)


I'm saying. Can I just please vent just for two minutes--okay, maybe three?

8:32 a.m. Thursday

Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Not being late was on my New Year's resolution/revolution list for 2010, and here it is just January 14 and this is already like my 3rd time being late somewhere. Despite the interventions that my beloved Harry has tried to make, (intervention meaning: "BABE!! Why, why, why do you HAVE to be 5 minutes late everywhere you go?!") I admit it. I am perpetually 5 to 10 minutes behind nearly every 8 ball. But that is not what this post is about, so before you tsk-tsk-tsk me, let's get to what happened in the Piedmont Parking Deck at Grady this morning.

Okay. . . here's how it all went down:

Like I said, 8:32 a.m. Other than being tardy for the clinic party, the morning was going well. NPR was doing a great job of giving me the up to the minute scoop on all things important in the world, and I managed to avoid talking on my phone for an entire commute (an astounding feat, if you know me.) I pulled into the deck and waved at Johnny, the Security officer in the garage that morning. Predictably, I fished around my console for my badge.

"Need me to let you in, doc?" asked Johnny in his normal friendly tone. "I know how that badge always hides from you." It's good to be down with the parking garage personnel. I'm just sayin'.

"Naaah, not today, my friend," I laughed while touching the badge to the magnetic plate, "Today I have my act together." The yellow wooden arm flew open, and I whipped my car toward the first row of ground floor spaces, fingers crossed for some good parking space karma this morning.

"This is WABE National Public Radio. Your home for the classics and NPR News. The time is 8:34 a.m."

"Girl, your daddy would be mortified if he saw you running late like this," I said out loud to myself in the rearview. Wait. . . is that someone from the overnight shift getting ready to leave. . . getting in her car. . . .putting keys in the ignition. . . . woo hooo! Yes, the heavens have opened up on the ground level--brake lights! "Yeeeaaaaahhh Baby!" I exclaimed with a Tiger Woods fist pump. (Wait, is it cool to do the Tiger Wood fist pump still?) Either way, brake lights on the ground floor when you are running late is like the "hot light" being on at Krispy Kreme Donuts -- instant happiness. I needed some good parking karma, and it looks like I was about to get my wish.

I clicked my left turn blinker and while waiting for the car to back out, I flipped down my visor for a reflection check. Made a quick glance at the car in the coveted space confirming that it was indeed my lucky day-- exhaust and condensed air blew from the tailpipe-- this was no false alarm. Yes, girl, you scored the motherlode ground level parking space in the 8' o' clock hour. As my Long Island-native mentor, Neil W., says, "Who's better than you?" I clenched my teeth and inspected them for random food remnants in the vanity mirror. Another peep at the car in "my" space--still no reverse lights.

After pushing my sunvisor and mirror up, I notice the driver in the parking spot. Her visor is down, and she is, I'm pretty sure, picking clumps of mascara off of her lashes. Are you kidding me? I start to place my hand on the horn, but then realize that I was being a hippocrite. I did a teeth check, surely I can grant her a mascara fix. Rut roh! A line of cars is mounting behind me; I try to pretend like I don't see it in my rear view. I need this parking space.

Her visor closes but driver still not moving. Wait. . . what the. . . .what is she doing? I squint my eyes to see, and, I kid you not, it looks like she is reading a newspaper on the steering wheel. Shut up! Car train behind me is growing. . . . .what the . . . .okay, I am two seconds from blowing my horn.

"Beep! Beep!"

Someone behind me offers the "nice beep." Not the obnoxious "Oh No You Di'in't" beep where you place all your weight on the horn, but that half-hearted honk you give someone who doesn't realize the light changed. I decide it's perfectly reasonable for me to offer her the same "nice beep." My "nice beep" yields nothing.

I am now backing cars up into the yellow wooden entry bar. Johnny is standing on his tippy toes trying to determine what's holding things up. Mascara lady could care less. She is reading her newspaper and probably doing sudoku at this point. "What are you DOING!?" I growl, this time doing a more manic version of that Tiger Woods fist pump. Then, tightly gripping my steering wheel, I lean forward as far as I can. . . .and that's when it dawns on me what Mascara lady is doing:

OMG. Seriously? Seriously. She is WARMING UP HER CAR. You heard right--she's warming up her car! On the ground level, no less. Oh, and according to Kai Ryssdal the time is now 8 fricking 37 a.m! Uggghh!!

My late-ness has my judgement clouded and my impulse control dangerously teetering on nonexeistent. I am hoping she turns around so she can see me giving her the hairy eyeball. (See picture of Isaiah, above) For those who are unfamiliar, the "hairy eyeball" can be given for many reasons. It can be given to someone who has made you mad, someone who you are suspicious of, or someone who is getting on your nerves. It is admittedly quite passive-aggressive--and is particularly useful when the recipient does not realize they are getting it. I have my pal Tracey H. from residency to thank for my use of the hairy eyeball, and now most of the time, we discuss the hairy eyeball only in the context of our husbands. But today, Mascara lady deserved it.

"Loo loo looooo. . . ." I'm sure that's what she was singing in her car while ruining my morning. I really want to scream. Warming up your car? Are you serious? Who does that? Clearly this falls under that unspoken understanding that you only do one set on the machine in the gym when someone is waiting. This is my parking space, not that blue Prius that is probably also late and behind me. (See "Honorable Mentions" Post September 25, 2009.) Okay, that's it. I'm getting out. I'm going to simply walk over to her driver's side window, and kindly ask her, with my warmest smile, to move yo' damn car before I key it. Hard. Okay, no, I'm not the violent type, but I am from L.A. and I really, really need that space. It is mine. I feel I have destiny with this space.

From the corner of my eye, I see Johnny beginning to walk toward the inside of the garage to deal with whatever the "problem" is. I feel my anxiety growing. Surely I can walk over and just politely tap her frigid window and say, maybe even with a fake British accent, "Pardon me, love. . . .perhaps you could slide out of that space and warm your car up on interstate 85, my lady? Bril-liant!" I am now feeling whatever the equivalent is to road rage in the parking garage. Any exchange I have with her at this point will be downright indignant.

Johnny the security man is getting closer. Mascara lady is probably flipping me off under that sudoku in her newspaper. I want to cry when I finally cave and pull off in defeat--just two seconds before Johnny gets to my tail light.

"Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!" I holler as I roll up through the garage. . . .third floor. . . .fifth floor. . . . 7th floor. . . .I'm getting high altitude sickness. Now come the expletives which I will spare you from reading.

"This is WABE National Public Radio. Your home for the classics and NPR news. The time is now 8:41."

I'm going to cry. I mean it. According to Kai Ryssdal from NPR, I officially just went from late to late-late. Damn.

When I finally did slide into the clinic (which was well after my 8:30 hit time) I was incredibly thankful to my colleagues, Iris C. and Laura M., for not giving me the hairiest of eyeballs (which I so richly deserved.)

The Hairiest of Eyeballs

The Bright Side of Mascara Lady:

Yes, I missed out on the motherlode parking lot. And yep, in the end I parked on the ninth floor and was not just late, but late-late. Aaaahhhh, but the bright side in all of this? I scored me some exceptional blog material. . . . . and that made it all worth while. :)


  1. That made me laugh out loud. Everyone knows that lady who arms up her car while reading the newspaper inthe parking lot! Do you think she would recognize hereof if she read the blog?!

  2. What!? It's a pattern!?! Listen, it is no violation of HIPAA to discuss this hairy eyeball recipient, therefore if, by some small chance she recognized herself (it was my first encounter with her) then GOOD! (Maybe it will get me into clinic 7 minutes earlier next time!) She must be stopped! :)

  3. Okay, first off I feel for you. I've been there many times, late myself. Having said that (see Curb Your Enthusiasm last season), no one to blame but ourselves, tring to cut everything so close such that the slightest deviation from the perfect commute makes us late (I haven't made any New Year's resolutions, just accepting my fate). If it means anything to you, this Mascara Lady is an idiot. As a shadetree mechanic I can tell you that warming up a car does nothing but waste gas and asphyxiate the rest of us. Take some advice from your mentor, who has been parking in the deck a few more years that you. Don't stop and put your turn blinker on unless you see "the whites of their backup lights" Otherwise all you will do (as you proved) is just piss a whole bunch of late people (like yourself) off behind you. I'm convinced that if you watch someone walk into their car in the Grady parking deck you will be in clinic (your ultimate goal) faster if you just keep driving.


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