Bob, The Parking Space Hog
A Day In The Life...
While it’s always great to secure a lease and keep occupancy rates high, sometimes the folks we move-in are more trouble than they’re worth! Here’s a story about a rather obnoxious resident who single-handedly rocked the peace and quiet at this small community.
Bob, The Parking Space Hog
I worked on a mid-sized property where everyone peacefully co-existed. Most of the people who called our community home were long-time residents. Complaints from them were typically solved quickly and without further incidents. I’d heard horror stories from friends in property management and counted myself lucky to have such a great, relatively stress-free job.
Those happy days ended when I met Bob.
Bob was “mid-life crisis” personified. He pulled up to the leasing office one afternoon in a fancy, two-door convertible—top down. The first thing I noticed when I greeted him were his enormous capped teeth that were frighteningly large, straight and very white. I’m sure he invested some big bucks with his dentist hoping to achieve a Burt Reynolds-like grin. Unfortunately for Bob, his smile came off as somewhat creepy and menacing.
Gold Chains, Chest Hair—Get The Picture?
Bob was sporting an ill-fitting toupee that nearly slid off his balding head when he removed his baseball cap. (I guess he didn’t want to mess up his “hair” while driving around in the convertible). He wore several gold chains around his neck that were clearly visible through his thin shirt. He’d left the top few buttons of the shirt opened to reveal a substantial amount of graying chest hair. Snug-fitting pants and snakeskin boots completed Bob’s “look”. I have to admit, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect when he sauntered into our leasing office, leaving his dark-tinted sunglasses on during his entire visit.
Sidebar: I try not to be “judge-y” about people, but since this story is being sent anonymously, I’m just going to tell it like it was. His appearance was off-putting and his manner was overly friendly. Frankly, I didn’t like Bob from the moment I met him.
Well, Bob became one of our residents, moving into an apartment located above the Goldsmiths, a kind, elderly couple who’d lived at our property for nearly twenty-five years.
The “New Guy” Makes “Friends”
A woman named Gail lived in the apartment across the hall from Bob’s. She told me he’d knocked on her door and all the surrounding doors on both levels, introducing himself as “the new guy”.
At one point during our conversation, Gail leaned in and said, “Bob told me that if I ever had a problem with noise from his apartment, I should not report it to the management, just come and tell him. He looked me up and down and told me he could tell we were going to be friends. Bob also told me that he liked to ‘party’ and then winked at me! Honestly, he gave me the creeps!”
“Well, at least the man sounds like he wants to get along with everyone,” I said, in an attempt to reassure her without disclosing I’d had the same impression of Bob.
Gail started to stand, then sat back down. “I don’t think Bob really cares about getting along with anyone,” she shared. “I think the guy is totally full of himself! I also think he’s a real jerk!”
I shot her a concerned look and asked, “What has Bob done to make you think that?”
Looking down at her hands, she said, “I don’t want to start anything, but you know Mr. Goldsmith, right?”
“Of course, I know the Goldsmiths,” I replied. “What about them?”
The Space Hog Parks
“Well, this Bob guy has been parking right in front of their apartment,” she answered. “I know we don’t have reserved parking spaces; but that sweet couple has lived here forever, and they only have one car. They always park it in the space right in front of their door. Everyone knows that and respects it. We leave that spot open for them.”
“Oh,” I said. “I see . . . well, you’re right. The spots are not reserved, but in fairness to Bob, he is new. He just moved in so he wouldn’t know about the Goldsmiths. I’ll tell you what, the next time I see him, I’ll ask if he would be willing to take that into consideration just as a neighborly courtesy. I bet he’ll understand.”
“Don’t count on it!” Gail said. “You see, he’s been parking his convertible sideways so that it’s actually taking up two parking spaces right in front of our building. I heard poor old Mr. Goldsmith confronting him about it, and Bob told him that his car cost as much as two cars—so therefore, he was entitled to two parking spaces!”
“What?” I exclaimed. “Why hasn’t anyone told me about this?”
Gail shrugged and stood to leave. “You know the Goldsmiths. They don’t like to make trouble.”
A Speedo Encounter
I grabbed my keys and headed over to Bob’s apartment. Sure enough, parked smack in front of his building was the convertible, monopolizing two premium spaces. I marched up the stairs and knocked on his door. I could hear loud music blaring behind it. I got no response on my first attempt, so I banged even harder . . . still no answer.
I was about to head back down the stairs when I saw the source of my irritation making his way upstairs. From my vantage point, I could only see the top of his hairy, naked body. In fact, at first glance it looked like the only thing he had on was a baseball cap—with his stringy toupee sticking out on the sides. As he came closer, I realized he was wearing a tiny, red Speedo swimsuit.
Smiling up at me with those huge, freaky-white, fake teeth, Bob exclaimed, “Well, hey there, darlin’! To what do I owe the honor of your visit?”
His near-nudeness and overall demeanor was appalling and I found myself becoming even angrier with him.
“I am not ‘your darlin’!” I huffed. “I am the property manager. You’ve been here less than three days, and you’re already causing trouble! We need to talk. Now!”
Cool Your Jets, Lady!
“Hey, hey, hey! Calm down,” Bob said. “I’ve just gone for a quick swim. I needed a little break after all that unpacking.” He pulled a key from a small fanny pack. “Come on in and have a beer with me. We can talk about whatever it is that’s got you in such a tizzy!”
I had taken several steps away, creating as wide a berth possible between Bob and myself. “No, I don’t want a beer and I’m not coming inside with you,” I said sternly. I thought for a moment and gritted my teeth. “Bob, if you were out swimming, why are you playing your music so loudly?”
“Oh, that’s my killer sound system. I just finished setting it up. You should come in and check it out! Don’t worry, my neighbors are cool with it. We talked about it. They said they’d let me know if it was ever a problem.”
I shook my head at his lack of consideration for others. Taking a deep breath and praying for patience, I said, “Bob, please go into your apartment. Turn that music off. Put some clothes on, and then come back out. We’ll talk out here.”
“Okay,” he said agreeably. “Be right back!” When he turned to unlock his door, I was shocked to see his awful bare butt! Trust me, it was not a pretty sight!
This middle-aged man, who was not even in good shape, had the audacity to wear a thong swimsuit! It was a sight I will never un-see! The thought of him walking back from the pool with his rear end hanging out for the world to see was disturbing. This guy’s ego knew no bounds!
A Good Reason For Hazard Pay
I quickly averted my eyes as he strutted into his apartment. I’m sure he thought I was checking out his backside! Even after all these years I still believe I should have received some sort of hazard pay for having to witness such an atrocious sight!
A couple of minutes later the racket ended; and shortly thereafter, Bob reappeared on the landing where I was not-so-patiently waiting. He had a beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other and in place of the Speedo, he’d pulled on a pair of ragged, cut-off jean shorts and a white t-shirt.
“Sure about that beer?” he asked again. “It’s pretty warm out here!”
I ignored the question. “Bob,” I said, pointing down to the ridiculous way he’d parked his car. "What the heck kind of parking job is that?”
He didn’t even bother looking where I’d indicated. “Look,” he said and started to go into how his car cost double what most of the cars in our lot did and why he felt entitled to an additional space. “Besides, I like parking right underneath my bedroom window.”
Bob waggled his bushy eyebrows at me suggestively. “It allows me to keep an eye on my baby.”
I’d had enough. “You need to listen to me.” I told him. “You go and get your car keys. I’m going to watch you re-park your convertible into one—and I mean one, parking space. That’s all you get—one space per vehicle. If you do not do this immediately, I’m going to notify our towing company. They’ll take ‘your baby’ away.”
“You’ve got to be (expletive) kidding me!” Bob growled. “I thought you were cool!” He looked at me with contempt in his eyes. “I can see that you and I are going to have problems.”
I pulled out my cell phone. “I’ll go ahead and call the towing company now,” I warned. “And, for the record, the only one with a problem is you!”
Flustered now, Bob pleaded, “No! Stop! I’ll move it. Don’t you dare call the towers!” Releasing a stream of profanities, Bob stormed back into his apartment and got his car keys. He was still cursing as he moved past me and down the stairs.
He took his time re-parking the convertible. I watched as he backed out and pulled in, doing this multiple times for my benefit. I knew he was being a jackass, so I crossed my arms and leaned against the building at the bottom of the landing as if I had all the time in the world.
Suddenly I realized our little showdown had drawn a crowd. Several of Bob’s neighbors had come out to see what was going on. This included the Goldsmiths and Gail.
Stopping Bob In His Tracks
I waited until Bob had finished his little parking stunt. As he started to walk past me without speaking, I told him to stop.
He didn’t look too happy about it, but he did come to a halt then turned to glare at me. “I moved my car, now what do you want Ms. Property Manager?” he asked rudely.
I decided then and there to address him and the small group of other residents who’d gathered. Keeping my eyes on Bob, I said, “Living at this community is a very special thing. We are like a family. Everyone needs to get along with one another and that means being considerate of your neighbors, Bob. Since you moved in, you’ve already displayed some very un-neighborly behavior. It’s going to stop now and we’re all going to start over again.”
“In addition to following The Golden Rule, you must observe the rules we’ve set our for this property. Everyone needs to be aware that parking is open. With the exception of handicapped spaces, there are no reserved spots. Now, the Goldsmith’s over here,” I said, pointing to the elderly couple, “have become accustomed, in the many years they’ve lived here, to parking in the space that your convertible now occupies. Parking in that spot makes their lives a little easier. If you would find it in your heart to leave that space open for them, it would be nice. But again, it’s not reserved so that’s entirely up to you.”
“There are a couple of other things,” I continued. “Loud music is not tolerated here. It disturbs your neighbors. I will be closely monitoring this, and if it becomes a problem, you will be in violation of your lease and could end up being evicted. This would not be a good thing for you.”
I looked around the group and went on. “I want every complaint directed to me so that it can be documented. Does everyone understand that?” I was happy to see a collective nod of yes from the crowd.
I turned back to Bob. “Last, and certainly not least, I would be remiss if I did not say something to you about your swimwear. Our pool rules are very clear about proper attire. The sign clearly says No Thongs. I’d better not ever see you out in public here again as you were earlier. You know what I’m talking about!”
I concluded with, “Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s just all play nicely together and we’ll be just fine. Please let me know if anyone needs anything else.”
Upon finishing my lecture, I returned to my office, hoping that Bob would take what I’d said to heart and be a better neighbor.
Happily, things did go back to the way they were—nice and quiet. In fact, about a month after the encounter with Bob, I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the Goldsmiths. The card read: Thank you for being so awesome. In addition to a new neighbor, we have a new friend.
I felt as if I’d really made a difference! This accomplishment was even more rewarding when I learned from Gail that not only was Bob leaving the coveted parking space open for the Goldsmith’s, he had also started playing cards with them a couple of nights a week.
I’d see Bob occasionally at the pool. He’d be spread out in his favorite lounge chair, his hairy body glistening with tanning oil, his gold chains sparkling in the sun. It was never an attractive sight, but at least he’d invested in some modest swim trunks.
A Last Shot At Romance
One afternoon I spotted Bob on the way to the office. Noticing that he was the only person enjoying the pool area I gave a friendly wave. I was going to keep walking, but instead, feeling somewhat charitable, I stepped over to the fence to say hello and ask how he was doing.
“Hey, babe,” he said, flashing me that big toothy grin. “It’s all good. I’m cool. You want to go out some time? I can show you a good time!”
Oh, ick! I thought, suppressing a shudder. “No, thanks. I’m going to pass, but thank you.”
Bob may have managed to become a better neighbor, but in my book, he’d always be a schmuck.
“Your loss, sweetheart,” he muttered, turning back to his book.
Yeah, my loss! What a creep!
From the book "I Have a Complex, but I'm Managing It!" Stories from property managers compiled by Monica E. Simmons.