Cover Your A$$


Let’s face it, part of living in the big city is having your car treated like a rag doll. Unless you can afford a dedicated parking spot, you have to park on the street like I do. You take a huge gamble every time you park because most people like to think of parallel parking as a big game of bumper cars.

I’ve seen it all. Some people try to wedge their ’88 Oldsmobile into a spot that only a Mini Cooper could fit in. “Bam, bam, bam!” Nope, won’t fit. Just last week I parked in the last legal end spot on New Hampshire and R thinking that my rear bumper would be safe. Hah! Later I went out and saw a black Lincoln Town Car belonging to the chief diplomat of some African country parked firmly on my bumper. It was parked illegally and fully touching my bumper as if to say, “I’m a diplomat and can do whatever the f*$! I want to do.” Needless to say I was pretty pissed off.

Add this to the list of laws that get broken in the city every day. Jaywalking. U-turns in the middle of the street. Bicyclists running through stop signs and red lights. People letting their dogs off leash. Hell, I break most of those laws myself. But picture this: You’re stuck in rush hour traffic, creeping along, and the person in back of you bashes into your bumper. You both pull over to assess the damage and you see a nice new dent in your car along with some paint missing. Would you say, “Ah, no harm done. See you later!” No way. You’d get their insurance information and get your car fixed. How is this any different than when someone bashes into you while trying to park their car? I just don’t get it.

One clever solution I’ve seen around the neighborhood is the “Bumper Badger”. It straps onto your rear bumper and protects it from the idiots who are bound to ram into it. Brilliant. Now if only they could come up with a gadget to prevent your side mirror from getting ripped off by someone who doesn’t know how wide their car is.

I tell you, there’s no way I’d move out to the VA or MD burbs, but one thing I’d love to have is a garage to park my shiny car in every night. That and a decent Taco Bell.

13 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

    In a lot of countries bumping bumpers while parking isn’t considered rude.

    That device is a good idea but it needs improvement. If I saw one, I might think, heck I can just bump away since he’s got one of those things. Therefore it needs giant spikes!

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

    “In a lot of countries bumping bumpers while parking isn’t considered rude”

    And therein lies the problem with Diplomatic plates. Not only do they not have to conform to our laws, they don’t have to confirm to our social contracts when it comes to driving, either. Dippy plates are a clear sign of assholatry waiting to happen.

    Just because you can drive here doesn’t mean you know how or should.

  3. Max (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 5:58 am

    “Just because you can drive here doesn’t mean you know how or should.”

    That goes for our very own citizens as well!

  4. Hy Hy (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 9:26 am

    I approach a car with dippy plates the same way I do a car that’s banged up and covered in dents: stay the hell away from it, because the driver has nothing to lose.

  5. Max (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 9:35 am

    That sounds like common sense, but how do you get them to stay the hell away from you? You can’t, and pretty soon your car is the one covered in dents.

  6. Hy Hy (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 10:03 am

    Sorry, I was speaking in the context of driving, not parking. There’s not a whole lot you can do about it with the latter, it’s true.

  7. sean (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

    thats really funny.

    whoever removed the rubber bubbers from cars didnt live in the city…..

  8. Don (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

    Actually it’s perfectly legal to bump into other cars – gently – when parking. Max’s car-on-his-ass was a violation, though it’s hard to believe there’s anyone parked on the street who is not in violation: you’re supposed to have 3 feet of space! (see q33

    I realize as a beater driver I maybe shouldn’t expect to get it, but I don’t see the point of the Bumper Badger. You avoid unsightly scratches on your bumper by… putting that even more hideous looking thing on it?

    I think it’s a lot easier to accept that it’s a BUMPer and named that way for a reason.

  9. Max (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Show me where it says it’s legal to bump into other cars, and show me the definition of “gently”. If another car gently bumps into mine and dents it or chips the paint, that is NOT legal. It’s like me taking a screwdriver to your front door and gently carving my name in it.

  10. Don (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

    Well, I can tell you that when I took the driving test back in the stone ages in Florida I was doing the parallel parking bit and bumped the pole they use to indicate the rear car. I grumbled and said something to the tester that I thought I’d failed. She said nope, the test is such that you can bump the pole but not knock it over.

    Or you could go ask a cop what their reaction would be to a complaint that someone had bumped their car and not made any visible marks in doing so.

    And seriously, dial back the hysteria, huh? Carving your name into the door as a metaphor for a bump when easing into a parking space? Exactly at what speed do you park, Max?

  11. Max (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

    Just because you passed your driving test in Florida, where old folks are allowed to drive with their blinkers on, does not make bumping into another car legal in Washington DC. True, if there is no damage done, then so be it. But if my car is damaged in anyway, that’s against the law.

    I park on an end spot every chance I get, even if that means driving around the block for a while. It’s not my parking skills I’m worried about, it’s the jackass with the beater 1984 Honda Accord who doesn’t give a crap about the condition of their car.

  12. Don (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

    If you’re done making up stuff about the laws in Florida you can feel free to point to where I said it was okay to cause any damage to a car in any circumstances.

  13. Max (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    I give up.

    In summary, parking your car in the city is a huge gamble. You never know what idiot is going to ram into your car because they have no respect for other people’s personal property.

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